MEDIA RELEASE: New poll shows strong support for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s position on talks with government

April 28, 2015


From the Provincial Office of OSSTF


(Toronto)— A new poll of almost 1000 residents in Sudbury and Durham conducted by The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) shows overwhelming support for the union representing Ontario’s high school teachers.

The poll, conducted April 22-23 by Environics, asked residents a range of questions after Durham teachers were forced to the picket lines and just prior to talks breaking down at the local level between the Rainbow District School Board and OSSTF/FEESO.

On the question of removing the cap on classroom sizes, a key stumbling block in talks between OSSTF/FEESO and the provincial government and its school boards, 57% of the 903 Sudbury and Durham residents polled were opposed to the government plan to lift the cap.

Even more significantly, of those polled who identified themselves as supporters of the Wynne government, 63% were opposed to a lifting of the cap.

With the strike in Durham now in its second week, and with OSSTF/FEESO District 3 Rainbow teachers having started their strike yesterday, the question of responsibility for the breakdown in negotiations was also revealing. The question put to people was the following: “Based on everything you know or have heard about the current negotiations between the teachers’ union and the Government of Ontario, if there was a teachers’ strike in your area, who would you blame, the Government of Ontario or the teachers’ union?” 64% of respondents in Sudbury and 52% in Durham pointed the finger at the government. Of those who identified themselves as supporters of the Wynne government, the number was 61% who blamed the government.

Results of the survey are considered accurate to within plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Paul Elliott, President of the OSSTF/FEESO, called the poll results revealing.

“We have said all along that we get the province’s fiscal situation,” Elliott said. “But by the same token, we are also saying that expanding classroom sizes and lifting the cap is not in anyone’s best interest, especially the students’. It’s encouraging to see that people out there get it, and that ultimately this is all about doing what is in the best interest of our students.”

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

  • Contact: Paul Elliott, President
  • Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
  • 416.751.8300 or 1.800.267.7867