Parent Update: November 16 – Possible Strike Action on Monday

CUPE, the union representing over 1300 permanent and 700 casual OCSB employees, will legally be able to strike as of Monday, November 21. They will strike on Monday unless there is a settlement with the provincial government before then. This email is meant to keep you up-to-date on what we know.

How will this affect your child’s learning?

If a strike occurs, all OCSB in-person students will move to remote learning on Monday, November 21. We will do this because operating in-person learning without CUPE staff is unsafe. If the strike occurs, we will do our best to ensure that learning continues for all students.

Why are schools closed to in-person learning if the teachers are not on strike?

Keeping the schools open would be unsafe. Our CUPE staff includes Educational Assistants (EAs), Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), Office administrators (OAs), Library technicians, extended day supervisors and many others. They monitor the front door entrance, respond to parent calls, process attendance, support and maintain our technology, and assist with the safe arrival of students. They also support medical, toileting and behavioural needs, and many take part in supervision duties. Your children’s safety is our number one priority. Without their presence, we would not be able to ensure student safety.

If there is a strike

On the first day of the strike, Monday, November 21, 2022, students will attend classes remotely and follow their regular school day schedule.

If your child needs a device

Principals will coordinate with families that need to borrow a device. Please be patient. Our computer support staff are also CUPE staff and will not be available to assist during a strike. If your child has a device they can use, we appreciate them doing so.

What if I can’t support my child with remote learning during a strike?

If your child cannot participate in remote learning, we understand. No student will be academically penalized if they cannot take part in remote learning. Parents may also choose to have their child join for part of the remote learning but not be online for the entire day.

Extended Day programs will be closed during remote learning.

All Extended Day Programs (EDP) will be closed as our Supervisors are CUPE staff who can legally strike.

Can parents continue to volunteer in schools during a strike?

School councils and other parent activities can continue during remote learning; however, parents cannot replace striking CUPE staff. 

Why are some of my neighbours’ kids still attending school in Ottawa?

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has no CUPE employees, so the CUPE strike does not impact them.

Students have missed enough school over the last two years – why not just settle?

The Ontario Government negotiates all pay, benefits, sick leave, and job security. The OCSB has no direct say in the talks’ outcome. We understand staff have a legal right to strike, and we hope there will be a quick resolution to the current negotiations.

Updates

We will continue sharing labour disruption updates with parents via email, school and board websites and social media channels. The two sides will continue to negotiate this week and into the weekend.  We remain hopeful that a resolution can be reached before the Monday, November 21, 2022, strike deadline. 

Thank you for your continued understanding and patience. We know this is a stressful time for our staff and families in our school community.

Take care,

Tom D’Amico

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