Neoliberalism and Ontario Teachers’ Unions: A “Not-So” Common Sense Revolution

  • Duncan MacLellan Ryerson University
Keywords: Ontario, teachers' unions, education, labour unrest, neoliberalism


This paper will critically analyze the degree to which the Ontario government, led by then Premier Mike Harris, embarked on a neoliberal agenda that led to a crisis in Ontario’s educational system. The period from 1995-2000 was one of the most contentious in Ontario’s educational history, and two pieces of legislation, The College of Teachers Act (Bill 31) and the Education Quality Improvement Act (Bill 160), pitted teacher unions, in particular, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), against the Harris government. Bill 160 led to a ten-day protest by teachers across Ontario, which signaled a dramatic shift in teacher and state relations that marked a crisis period in Ontario’s educational sector.

Author Biography

Duncan MacLellan, Ryerson University
Politics & Public Administration