TORONTO - Ontario's provincial government has eked out a deal with the union that represents education workers, avoiding a strike deadline by just hours.

The 55,000 school workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees began a work-to-rule campaign last week that failed to pressure the province into making concessions in a collective agreement.

They then announced that they'd strike if they didn't reach a deal by 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

Contract talks resumed on Friday afternoon and the two sides announced late Sunday that they had come to an agreement.

A strike would have seen thousands take to the picket lines while hundreds of schools shut their doors.

At least two dozen school boards across the province - including the three largest - said they couldn't function without the CUPE workers, including custodians, early childhood educators and clerical staff.

More coming.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2019.