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McGuinty rejects Ontario teachers' request to discuss wage freeze

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty takes questions from the media on various issues after a tour of the Krembil Discovery Centre under construction at Toronto Western Hospital in Toronto on Wednesday March 7, 2012.

Michelle Siu/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Premier Dalton McGuinty is rejecting a request from Ontario teachers for a meeting to talk about his demand for a two-year wage freeze.

Mr. McGuinty has written Ontario's four largest teachers' unions and the Canadian Union of Public Employees acknowledging that he's asking "a lot" of their members.

In declining the meeting, he writes the government must make choices to eliminate the $16-billion deficit if it wants to properly fund public schools in the future.

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Mr. McGuinty says the wage freeze would allow the government to keep its cap on class sizes and finish rolling out full-day kindergarten, both of which require extra teachers.

Economist Don Drummond, who reviewed all government services, recommended the cap on class sizes be lifted and that full-day kindergarten, which will cost $1.5-billion a year, be eliminated.

Mr. McGuinty asked the teachers to keep talking, but at least one union, the Elementary Teachers' Federation, walked out of negotiations and is refusing to talk about the wage freeze.

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