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Ontario schools avoid strike at 11th hour

Ontario Schools

Ontario's provincial government has eked out a deal with the union that represents education workers, avoiding a strike deadline by just hours.

The province negotiated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees through the weekend in order to reach a collective agreement, bargaining until just hours before the midnight strike deadline.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the deal represented "incremental success" as contract talks with the major teachers unions continue. The union said it was able to secure modest wage increases and maintain its existing sick leave plan - a sticking point for the school trustees.

A strike would have seen 55,000 education workers take to the picket lines while hundreds of schools shut their doors. At least two dozen school boards across the province - including the three largest - said they could not function without the workers, including custodians, early childhood educators and clerical staff.

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