Hamilton public schools won’t close in event of education workers’ strike: HWDSB


Published October 31, 2022 at 3:40 pm

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says that public schools will remain open if education workers decide to walk off the job on Friday, Nov. 4. 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says its approximately 55,000 education workers will stage a provincewide protest Friday, meaning they will be off the job despite the Ontario government tabling legislation to impose contracts and ban a strike.

Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, says whether workers continue to protest after Friday “will be left up to what happens.”

On Oct. 30, the HWDSB said it’s planning to implement contingency measures to keep schools safely open as long as possible. Should a strike occur, schools will remain open for learning and the buildings will open 15 minutes before the first bell and close 15 minutes after the final bell. All athletics and extra-curricular activities will be cancelled, but school trips and excursions will still take place as planned.  

In a statement released Oct. 30, the board said that existing early learning and child care centres will be open on a modified schedule to align with the school bell times. All before and after-school programs and recreational programs will be cancelled. 

Ontario introduced legislation today to impose a contract on education workers and avert a strike.

CUPE has said they will explore every avenue to fight the bill, but the government says it intends to use the notwithstanding clause to keep the eventual law in force despite any constitutional challenges.

The clause allows the legislature to override portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.

“We regret that this development may put you in a difficult position. Our contingency plans focus on safety and allowing students to continue to learn during this time of uncertainty,” the board said in a statement. 

“HWDSB values all education workers and union groups. We are committed to reaching fair, negotiated local agreements while maintaining positive long-term relationships with all staff.”

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