Ontario’s four major teachers’ unions are planning a mass walkout.

The public elementary, public high school, catholic, and french language teachers’ unions will all walk off the job on Friday, Feb. 21.

The mass strike means some 200,000 teachers and education workers spanning nearly 5,000 schools and 72 school boards will be on the picket lines.

“Educators in every school board will not stay silent as the Ford government proceeds to decimate our publicly funded education system,” says ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Our unions and members helped build Ontario’s world-class education system. By not seriously addressing the issues critical to students and student learning, the Ford government has made a sham of contract talks over the last seven months.”

The news comes as hundreds of elementary teachers protested outside a downtown Toronto hotel where education minister Stephen Lecce was speaking to the Canadian Club about preparing students for the jobs of the future.

Lecce says the government is hopeful for a ”voluntary settlement,” adding ”the system has been designed for and by the unions.”

The mass strike will be the first time since 1997 all four major teachers’ unions have come together in political protest.