BREAKING: Public elementary teachers vote in favour of strike action

Public elementary teachers in Ontario have voted 98 per cent of in favour of a strike should it become necessary.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is calling the result of the vote an ``overwhelming'' mandate from its 83,000 members.

The union filed for conciliation last month, saying bargaining with Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government had reached a virtual standstill.

The premier was in our-studio as Hammond announced the results and couldn't say he was shocked. "I don't think anyone was surprised on their percentage of the vote. It sends a pretty clear message to the parents and everyone in Ontario that they want to escalate this and we're trying to turn down the heat."

Doug Ford has the utmost confidence in Education Minister Stephen Lecce, describing him as one of the best communicators he's ever met. "Our minister has been working around the clock. He's available to sit down, as he has said publicly, 24/7 and he continues to work with a negotiating team. We just want to make sure that kids are in the class."

High school teachers and teachers in the English Catholic system are also holding strike votes, with results expected in the next couple of weeks.

This round of bargaining has been tense, as it comes amid government attempts to impose caps on wage increases for public sector workers and increase class sizes, which will mean thousands of fewer teachers in the system.

A strike by 55,000 education workers, such as custodians, administrative staff and early childhood educators, was averted at the last minute when the government reached a tentative deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.