Union action will determine if Catholic students in Burlington, Oakville, Milton learn from home Friday

Published November 2, 2022 at 6:35 pm

halton catholic district school board
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If unionized support staff at Catholic schools in Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills decide to walk off the job on Friday students will be learning from home.

However, the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) is prepared to keep its 29,000 students in the classroom if the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) decides not to take any job action because of its ongoing labour dispute with the Ontario government.

The workers that are currently in contract negotiations include custodial staff, early childhood educators, educational assistants, school and board administrative staff, language instructors and technicians.

Even though Queen’s Park intends to legislate the workers from taking strike action, CUPE has announced workers will still walk off the job in protest at the end of this week.

At a HCDSB meeting yesterday (Nov. 1), trustees were told any job action by the workers will have a major impact on the system because of the large number of CUPE members that are employed by the board. Other unions that are not in contract negotiations may represent similar support staff in other school systems.

“Closing schools is the only way to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff,” reads a statement on the HCDSB website. “Our CUPE staff provide a number of critical supports and essential services in our schools. Without their support, we cannot maintain a safe learning environment for our students.”

Director of Education John Klein said the board is prepared to move to “remote asynchronous instruction” on Friday if the job action proceeds as planned. He said preparations are being made if the job action extends into next week.

Asynchronous instruction means students will be given assignments and will learn on their own within a certain timeframe. Teachers are expected to remain in the schools and be available remotely to assist students.

However, Klein said the board is prepared to keep students in school if the CUPE members remain on the job.

“The situation is very fluid,” Klein said adding the situation is being continually monitored. He said parents will be notified through social media, email and other forms of communication if students are to remain in schools.

Some trustees pointed out any job action will affect many households as parents will have to determine if they need to take the day off work to be with children who are too young to stay home alone.

Halton’s public schools will remain open if a job action takes place. At the Halton District School Board CUPE only represents custodial staff.












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