Ontario’s more than 500,000 college students can breathe a little easier following the announcement of a tentative agreement between the province’s 24 public colleges and over 7,000 support staff represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Today’s announcement follows a marathon weekend session of bargaining to avoid a strike which was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
The strike would have resulted in longer than usual line-ups for students attempting to pick-up financial aid forms, register for classes, or purchase textbooks.
Colleges planned to remain open and classes were scheduled to continue during a strike.
“We are pleased that both sides were able to reach a new agreement prior to the starting of classes on Tuesday,” says Jenn Howarth, president of the College Student Alliance. “Students will now be able to access essential services and move about campuses with ease, knowing that all staff – administration, faculty and support staff – are there to assist them.”
Both sides are honouring a media blackout agreed to as part of their negotiations and no details of the agreement have been revealed.
The agreement still requires ratification by both parties.