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These schools are closed in Ontario for the education workers' walkout

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Tens of thousands of librarians, custodians and early childhood educators across Ontario walked off the job after the provincial government tabled legislation to ban a strike and push a contract on those education workers.

At the heart of the issue is how much these workers are paid.

The Canadian Union of Public Employee's Ontario School Board Council of Unions (CUPE), which represents approximately 55,000 members, is looking for annual salary increases of 11.7 per cent.

The latest offer from the province is a four-year deal that would cap annual raises for members making less than $43,000 at 2.5 per cent and provide 1.5 per cent raises for everyone else.

CUPE has said its workers, which make on average $39,000 a year, are generally the lowest paid in schools.

Some school boards across the Greater Toronto Area have said they can’t stay open without the services provided by these workers.

Here’s where the major boards across the GTA currently stand on the issue:

TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

The TDSB, the largest board in Ontario, announced Monday evening that it will have “no option” but to close all schools on Friday.

“While we understand that this will be challenging for many families, parents/guardians/caregivers will be required to make alternate arrangements for their children,” the board said in a statement.

In an update on Wednesday, the board says schools will remain closed for in-person learning for the duration of the strike.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

TORONTO CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

The TCDSB said in a letter to parents dated Oct. 30 that all of its schools will be forced to close following a full withdrawal of CUPE services.

“We understand that this news is difficult and may be the source of stress among families and their children, particularly after the circumstances during the pandemic,” the board said.

On Nov. 4, the TCDSB said its schools will remain closed for in-person learning next week if the CUPE job action continues.

"During this time, students will be engaged in remote synchronous learning," the TCDSB said.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

PEEL DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, PDSB said all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will participate in asynchronous learning and beyond due to the walkout.

School buildings will be closed to students on Nov. 4, as well as all childcare, EarlyON centres and before and after-school programs. Athletic and extracurricular activities will be cancelled.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

A physically distanced classroom is seen at Kensington Community School amidst the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio

YORK REGION DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

The YRDSB originally said it would monitor the situation between CUPE and the Ontario government, but now says it will have no choice but to close its schools.

"Families are strongly encouraged to make alternate arrangements for your children prior to the protest. Please do not send any students to school on November 4," the board said.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

YORK CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

The YCDSB says it will close all of its schools on Friday following a full withdrawal of services by CUPE.

In a document obtained Tuesday afternoon, the board said its CUPE-represented staff are “critical and essential to the health, safety and well-being of our students and staff in YCDSB school communities and workplaces. 

DUFFERIN PEEL CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARDS

In an update posted Nov. 2, the DPCDSB said it would close all its schools when CUPE workers walk off the job Friday.

"While DPCDSB remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached that avoids strike action and any impact on DPCDSB families and staff, we are advising families to explore options for child care on Friday, November 4 should a negotiated settlement not be achieved. 

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

DURHAM DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

The DDSB is instructing parents and guardians to prepare for “all scenarios” on Friday and the days that follow as a result of the strike.

“We recognize how disruptive it is when schools are closed. However, due to health and safety reasons our schools will not be able to operate on Friday without CUPE employees at work,” a board statement read.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

On Nov. 3, the DDSB said that all its schools will be closed for in-person learning starting on Friday "if CUPE does withdraw services."

HALTON DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

HDSB said that it plans to keep elementary schools open on an alternate schedule of in-person and remote learning. Both elementary and secondary schools will remain open for in-person learning on Nov. 4. If the strike continues next week elementary school students would learn remotely on Nov. 7 and alternate schedules thereafter.

“Please be aware this remains a fluid and changing situation. The HDSB continues to monitor developments daily and decisions will be made accordingly,” the board said.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

HALTON CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

Like the TDSB, the HCDSB has announced a full closure of its schools, but will be offering remote learning instead.

“As the situation continued to evolve throughout today, we have been gathering information and exploring all contingency plans that would allow us to keep schools open in the event that CUPE education staff proceed with a full withdrawal of services on Friday,” the board said.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

CONSEIL SCOLAIRE CATHOLIQUE MONAVENIR

Csc MonAvenir says that it will be forced to “restrict access” to its schools throughout southcentral Ontario following a CUPE walkout.

“The absence of custodial staff would pose a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and students if the maintenance, cleaning and sanitation of school sites is not done on a regular basis,” the board said in part.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

CONSEIL SCOLAIRE VIAMONDE

CS Viamonde says schools will be open on Friday, saying that even though it expects the absence of custodians and other support staff, the board is in a position to welcome students.

CS Viamonde noted that it will decide over the weekend about what will happen next week as the situation evolves between education workers and the province.

Read the board’s full statement here.

HAMILTON-WENTWORTH DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

In a letter to parents on Thursday, HWDSB confirmed that schools will remain open on Friday despite the strike. CUPE represents about 500 caretakers and maintenance workers at the school board.

“Our first responsibility is to our students. HWDSB’s contingency plan keeps schools open as long as possible, while maintaining health and safety. We continue to plan for labour disruption at HWDSB schools as workers respond to the Government of Ontario’s actions with an imposed deal. Our priority is to keep families informed as the situation evolves,” the board said.

HWDSB added that they will provide an update on Sunday if schools will open for in-person learning next week should the job action continue beyond Nov. 4.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

HAMILTON-WENTWORTH CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD

HWCDSB says its elementary and secondary schools will be closed to students on Friday due to the planned strike. It added that asynchronous learning will be available.

“We continue to pray for all impacted by this complex and challenging matter,” the HWCDSB said.

Read the board's full statement on the strike here.

 

On Wednesday, CUPE confirmed that members will be on strike beyond Friday unless a non-legislated deal with the government is reached.

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