As contract talks with the province languish, elementary teachers across Ontario will be marking their ballots over the next month.

Over 83,000 members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario are taking part in a central strike vote now through October 17.

Union officials say that even if their members vote in favour of strike action, that doesn’t necessarily mean teachers are heading to the picket line.

ETFO President Karen Brown says a strike mandate will help the union communicate the need for serious bargaining to the Ford Government.

“While we are now working with a conciliator to help us explore all possible options in reaching agreements that are fair for ETFO members, central strike votes are another tool we can use to help us achieve the best working conditions and learning conditions possible,” Brown said in a news release.

Since filing for conciliation, ETFO has seen some movement on key issues at both its Education Worker Central Table and Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Table, but the union says more progress needs to be made.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel.