ETFO and the government were close to a deal before talks broke off: Hammond

ETFO President Sam Hammond

The head of the union representing Ontario's elementary teachers says they were close to a deal with the government before talks broke off last week.

Sam Hammond of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario says government negotiators changed positions at the last minute and tabled proposals the union couldn't accept.

He says the two sides had been close to an agreement on three or four key issues.

Hammond says salary was not addressed during the three days of talks.

ETFO is escalating its strikes this week, targeting each board twice a week, including a province wide walkout on Thursday.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has previously said the union is prioritizing salary over protecting the education system.