Canada's Ontario colleges strike ends due to back-to-work bill

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Ryerson students part of the collaborative nursing program are expected to be back in class on Tuesday, after the provincial government passed a back-to-work bill Sunday, putting an end to the five-week-long college faculty strike.

The vote passed Sunday afternoon ending the five-week strike.

The legislation was initially introduced Thursday evening after 86 per cent of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) faculty voted to reject the College Employer Council's (CEC) Nov. 6 offer.

The colleges welcomed the back-to-work legislation, saying all efforts at the bargaining table had been exhausted.

The Ontario Colleges strike involved more than 80 campuses across the province and affected more than 80,000 students.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her party's insistence the six-page "anti-worker" legislation be properly debated postponed a return to class by just one day, given that the government had hoped to have school resume Monday. At the Confederation College Kenora campus there was one professor affected and 88 post-secondary students.

The Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (DCSN) updated the strike information webpage today writing they are "hoping" to have students back in class by November 21.

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"[Students have] paid the price for the strike that Kathleen Wynne caused, and we're extremely concerned about the hardships they're facing - financially, and with the career and life plans that have been disrupted", said Campbell.

The college would not say how much money was banked since faculty took to the picket line.

"Our contract was broken with all the colleges, so the education we're supposed to be getting hasn't been delivered", said Jade Flay, a first-year paramedic student.

Despite objections from the NDP, the government's strong support from the Progressive Conservative MPPs to pass the bill has determined the fate of striking college teachers and their students, who will soon head back to class.

Flay said extending the semester with a shortened Christmas break will be problematic for students who aren't local.

Students are expected to return to many college classes on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and classes extended to December 22 to make up for the lost time.

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