Teacher strikes in the Canadian province of Ontario are growing, with Sudbury school district coming out this week, Durham continuing with its strike and five others due to follow in the coming days. Now it looks as though primary schools teachers will be joining their secondary school colleagues on May 10th, by which date they are legally entitled to strike.

The strikes are not primarily about salary increases, although teachers' leaders emphasise that like everyone else, teachers are struggling to keep up with cost of living rises. The state government is attempting to shore up its $10.9 billion budget deficit by attacking conditions in schools. Teachers point out that the government has lowered corporation tax from 14% to 11.5%, so like so many other governments faced with an economic crisis, the Ontario government is attacking public services while giving handouts to business.

The cuts would lift the cap on class sizes, meaning teachers would often be teaching larger classes and students would be unable to get the individual attention which they all need. And employers want to double the amount of time teachers spend doing duties outside of their core work of teaching, like covering for absent colleagues and supervising playground duty. Teachers in the province already work on average for 56 hours a week and cutting further into their self-directed time would make their workload unsustainable. Teachers also object to the introduction of standardised testing which they say is damaging children's education.

Ontario teachers have taken to social media using the hashtag #mypreptime to point out all the ways in which they use their limited preparation time to organise activities, plan lessons, mark books and make time to help children in trouble.