All Peel elementary schools are open this morning after the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled early today that a proposed protest by teachers would be an illegal strike.

The Peel District School Board made the decision to open the schools at around 5 a.m. after Sam Hammond, president of the Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation, confirmed that teachers would abide by the labour board ruling.

Buses are running in Mississauga and Brampton, but not in Caledon. Bad weather forced cancellation of buses in the northernmost portion of Peel.

Before and after school programs are also running as normal.

The Peel school board had announced on Wednesday it would close its schools after the teachers' union announced its one-day "protest" against the passage Bill 115, which handed teachers a two-year contract with no wage increases.

“We will be complying with all of the orders,” Hammond said at a press conference after the ruling was handed down at around 4 a.m. “We will be directing our members to report to work tomorrow ... it has been a very difficult day but this is the process where we feel these types of decisions should be made.”

Hammond said he would be speaking to legal counsel in the following days before deciding whether to appeal.

He announced on Wednesday that 76,000 teachers would walk off the job on Friday in response to controversial Bill 115 and the collective agreements the government imposed on teachers. Hammond has said 92 per cent of teachers who voted in December approved the walkout.

The province called the move an illegal strike and asked the labour board for a cease-and-desist order, which was granted by chair Bernard Fishbein early this morning. Among his other orders was the demand that his decision be posted to every union bulletin board in public elementary schools.

Before the decision, Premier Dalton McGuinty pointedly didn’t want to discuss punitive measures for teachers who choose to disobey the ruling. But disobeying the order could place the union and teachers in contempt of court, resulting in fines of up to $25,000 for the unions and as much as $2,000 for individual teachers under the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

Minister of Education Laurel Broten said the ruling “clears up some of that confusion and misinformation.

“Now teachers understand from the Ontario Labour Relations Board that what they were being asked to do by their union was to break the law,” she said in a statement. “Teachers are law abiding and now that they know the facts, I know that they will report to work this morning.”

~ with files from John Stewart