Nova Scotia

Mad Science faces $35K in losses as teachers' work-to-rule nears

An extracurricular service that offers in-classroom science workshops says all its Nova Scotia assemblies have been cancelled for December.

90% of company's science programs happen in schools

Mad Science is facing loses of $35,000 as a result of work-to-rule job action. (Mad Science)

A company that offers science workshops to children says it faces $35,000 in losses as a result of impending work-to-rule job action by Nova Scotia's teachers. 

Ryan Turner runs Mad Science in the Maritimes, the local subsidiary of a national organization that runs extracurricular science workshops. 

Turner told CBC's Information Morning that all in-class workshops and assemblies lined up for December in Nova Scotia schools have been cancelled following the announcement of work-to-rule job action.

'A challenging position'

Work-to-rule is set to begin Monday if a contract agreement cannot be reached with the province.

Turner emphasized he's sympathetic to the teachers' cause, and wants them to have the support they need.

"We support the teachers and their need to get the resources they need to do their job effectively; we're certainly not blaming them for any of this." 

Nonetheless, he said the company is facing difficult choices as a result of work-to-rule, especially since Mad Science depends on revenue from workshops.

"It's just put us in a challenging position … we don't make any profit, anything above what we need to pay for our expenses and our staff we give out as financial assistance for the students."

Cancelled assemblies

Turner said the most serious consequence of work-to-rule has been the cancellation of Mad Science's school assemblies; December assemblies are where most participants in the company's winter programs are registered. 

Teachers normally facilitate assemblies and collect sign-up forms, but work-to-rule means they will only perform work required under their contract — namely, classroom teaching — and will not help with the assemblies. 

"The more I think about it, the more I realize how much we depend upon the administration and the support of the teachers to run the programs," Turner said.

Long-term consequences

If the job action continues, Turner said the company faces more serious consequences; it's reducing office hours for the time being, and will have to consider what to do with the Nova Scotia office if work-to-rule extends past December. 

"It would just cause a lot of complications."

Nonetheless, short of speaking with staff about what might happen in the long term, Turner said the company will just have to wait and see what happens.

"[There's] not much we can do at all." 

With files from CBC's Information Morning