Teachers from across southwestern Saskatchewan converged on the region’s largest city for a one-day strike today.

Two sets of protests were set up in Swift Current, one in front of MLA Everett Hindley’s office and the other at the Wheatland Mall.

One of the countless protesters situated downtown Swift Current and the site's captain, was Callen Boutin. 


The teacher at Holy Trinity said the rally is to show the provincial government the repercussions of not bargaining in good faith.

"We're out here for class size mainly," he said "That’s what we want to bargain for. We’ve been told lately we can bargain for it, but the government said we couldn’t before. We’re just out here hoping we can make a difference today."

Hundreds of teachers began the picket lines at 9 a.m. locally in the -22 C temperatures with windchill values at -35 C. They’ll be protesting until 2 p.m.

"We picked a better day than yesterday," Boutin said joking about the weather being cold. "You walk up and down the streets of Swift Current here and you’re going to see lots of teachers and you’ll to see it all throughout today, we’re going to be here in shifts. It means a lot for people to be showing up. You have people having signs and making noise for us. I think there’s a lot of support from the community and definitely a lot of support within our teaching community."

Putting a figure on the number of protesters in Swift Current today would be tough given there are two separate sites and shifts being run but Boutin believes there are several hundred faculty at each location and on each shift.

The decision to walk out of classrooms for the teachers was not taken lightly they said but something to be used as a bargaining chip. 

"We’ve given the government, as the STF, every avenue to a fair deal," he said. "The government just hasn’t shown up to bargain for us. This is indeed our last resort and hopefully, we only have to do it for today and hopefully, they can come back to the table and have some sort of an offer for us that makes sense."

Currently, there are no scheduled bargaining meetings between the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation and the provincial government.

"As the minister [of education Jeremy Cockrill] were looking forward to and hoping to have both sides to the bargaining table to resolve the issues that are underway," Hindley said.


The recent stall in negotiations and the one-day strike have created localized meetings for Hindley with teachers. He’s also been receiving phone calls and emails regarding the situation from constituents. 

"What’s important here is that we recognize the concerns of teachers across the province, but also recognize that this has an impact on families right across Saskatchewan including here in the community," Hindley said. "We understand that this is something that can happen. We’ve seen it before and it’s an option that the union does have, but again ultimately, we’d like to see this get resolved and have stability return."