The Canadian Union of Public Employees says its approximately 55,000 education workers will stage a provincewide protest Friday, meaning they will be off the job despite the Ontario government tabling legislation to impose contracts and ban a strike.

Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said whether workers continue to protest after Friday “will be left up to what happens.

”The Ontario government introduced legislation Monday to impose a contract on education workers and avert a strike that was set to start Friday.CUPE has said they will explore every avenue to fight the bill, but the government said it intends to use the notwithstanding clause to keep the eventual law in force despite any constitutional challenges.

“CUPE has now made the decision to strike, putting their own self interest ahead of Ontario’s nearly two million children, who deserve to stay in class learning,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement.

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