TDSB Will Close Schools On Friday In Response To Union’s Planned Walk-Off

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced that it will not be holding in-person classes and all schools will be closed on Friday, in response to the planned walk-off of about 55,000 Ontario education workers.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the education workers, on Monday announced that its members will walk off the job on Friday, regardless of the province’s proposed Keeping Students in Class Act that was tabled on Monday.

“As a result of this announcement, the board will have no option but to close all schools for in-person learning for all students on Friday, November 4, 2022,” the TDSB said in a new release.

“Student supervision and safety are our top priorities, and without the important services of these school-based employees, we cannot guarantee that our learning environments will remain safe and clean for all students.”

The proposed legislation introduced by the Ontario government on Monday invokes the notwithstanding clause — or Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — to impose a contract on education workers and avert a strike. This clause allows provincial legislatures or Parliament to override certain portions of the charter for a five-year term by passing a law. 

CUPE, in a news conference held hours after the Ontario government announced its plans to push forward with the legislation, described the move as a “monstrous overreach,” and said that it “will be left up to what happens” whether the workers will continue to protest after Friday. 

The legislation also states that the workers could face fines of up to $4,000 per day if they strike.

On Monday afternoon, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce told reporters that CUPE’s decision to proceed with the walk-off is “unaccaptable,” and said that the government was left with no choice but to take immediate action.

“When we offer a union an option and off-ramp to avoid a strike and to avoid a contract being legislated, and they decide to proceed with the strike; you should expect the government to stand up for the right of children to learn,” he said.

He also said that the new, four-year deal would give a 2.5% annual raise to education workers making less than $43,000, and 1.5% for all others. The government was initially offering 2% for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25% for all others. 

CUPE wants 11.7% annual raises and has said that their workers are generally the lowest paid at an average of $39,000 a year.

Information for this briefing was found via TDSB, CityNews, CBC News, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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