Catholic students in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills will switch to remote learning if union job action continues

Published November 4, 2022 at 3:03 pm

Return to remote classrooms starting as early as Monday could be a distinct possibility for Catholic school students in Milton, Oakville, Burlington and Halton Hills.

Sources indicate the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) is working towards a plan that would see students learning from home — much like they did during the pandemic — if the unionized educational support staff carry out threats to continue their job action beyond today’s protests.

The workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), walked off the job today as part of its labour dispute with the Ontario government over a new collective agreement. The job action forced the HCDSB to shut down regular classrooms with students learning on their own schedule at home.

However, the board has been actively working on a backup plan if the workers ignore government back-to-work legislation and follow through with a wildcat strike.

“It’s tough situation for all involved, but we are prepared to deal with it if it happens,” a source told inhalton.com.

While Halton’s public schools have remained open today, Catholic schools had to closed because of the large number of CUPE members employed by the HCDSB including custodial staff, early childhood educators, educational assistants, school and board administrative staff, language instructors and technicians. These workers in other school boards may be represented by other unions that are not in a strike position.

If HCDSB students remain at home, 29,000 students in the system will receive live-time instruction from teachers who remain on the job.

Meanwhile, the Catholic board has announced a number of cancellations and postponements in-light of the withdrawal of services by CUPE:

  • All before and after school programs are cancelled.
  • Childcare centres will remain open as they run independently from schools.
  • All student transportation to and from school is cancelled.
  • All interschool athletics have been postponed.
  • At the secondary school level, OFSAA cross country will continue.
  • Community use of schools are cancelled in all schools maintained by CUPE custodial staff. View the list of HCDSB schools that will be closed for community rentals from Nov. 4 to 7.
  • All International and Indigenous Language Elementary (IILE) classes on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 will be delivered online.

The HCDSB indicates students and parents will be notified of any future school closures or changes through social media and email.

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