With files from Scott Boulton, Steven Wilson, and Cooper Douglas

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 7:00 AM

There will be no school today around the province, as the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation engages in a one-day provincewide strike withdrawing from all classroom activity.

Wednesday also marks a big day for high school athletics, and extra-curriculars in general. Teachers are withdrawing from extra-curriculars Thursday and Friday this week, but specifically to sports, there is currently a deadline for this afternoon as the province wide senior basketball tournament HOOPLA is in jeopardy. 

Find more from Monday's announcement, and reaction below.

UPDATE: Monday, March 18, 2024, 11:30 AM

Following the announcement Monday morning, the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation held a news conference. President Samantha Becotte says the failure to agree to binding arbitration could be detrimental for students extracurriculars.

“If the government agreed to binding arbitration for classroom complexity, or provided their bargaining team with the mandate that included classroom complexity, we could return to the table to negotiate an agreement and, like I said, all sanctions would be cancelled or suspended,”

Former Education Minister, Dustin Duncan recently accused the STF of "moving the goalposts", something Becotte said was not factual. 

“We opened with a set of proposals, and if we’re moving the goalposts, we’re moving them closer to find that solution,” Becotte commented. “Their characterization that teachers are moving the goalposts, and moving things further and further, couldn’t be less true.” 

Becotte did point out the government has not moved their position, as they continue to say no to including classroom complexity in any manner in a new collective agreement.  

The provincial government, on March 7th, announced they had signed a multi-year funding agreement with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association that would provide a minimum of $356 million a year for classroom supports for the next four years. This announcement did not specify how much of the funding was new funding, or if there would be any increases during the four years.  

That agreement has been criticized for being subject to budgetary appropriation each year, and that it could be cancelled by either party at any time.

ORIGINAL: Monday, March 18, 2024, 8:30 AM

The Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation has provided a 48-hour notice for a province-wide strike this Wednesday, March 20.

As well, teachers will take part in a two-day withdrawal of extracurricular activities on Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22.

“Government’s unwillingness to work with teachers in finding any path forward has forced this decision, which will impact students and communities both big and small across the province,” says STF President Samantha Becotte, “Teachers have done their part to avoid more job action. We have bargained in good faith, and we have been clear that our opening proposals are only a starting point for discussion."

"We invited government to take part in binding arbitration on the single issue of class size and complexity, but the education minister rejected the offer within hours. The refusal of Minister Cockrill and Premier Moe to compromise are to blame for the strike and students’ loss of extracurricular activities in the days to come.”

The one-day strike will coincide with the announcement of the provincial budget.

Over 4000 teachers from across the province will be at the legislative building in Regina as part of a demonstration, with others demonstrating in areas across the province.

 “Thousands of teachers will bring the message right to government’s doorstep,” Becotte says, “The Premier and Education Minister are not listening to teachers, and they are not listening to the thousands of parents, caregivers and students who are calling on government to respond to the needs of education.”

The two-day, provincewide withdrawal of extracurricular activities will not provide voluntary services involved in the organization, supervision, and facilitation of activities including athletics, non-curricular arts, field trips, student travel, graduation preparations, school clubs, and other activities.

This includes Hoopla, the provincial high school basketball championships in Moose Jaw, and the Optimist Band Festival in Regina, which are both taking place this week.