Toronto

What GTA school boards are doing if education workers' strike stretches on

Several Ontario school boards said they will move to remote learning this week as an education workers' strike continues.

Several school boards will pivot to remote learning amid education workers' job walkoff

The Toronto District School Board — which previously said schools would be closed until the strike is over — said Friday it was hopeful an agreement could be reached, but if job action continues, it would have to move to virtual learning. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Several Ontario school boards said they will move to remote learning this week as an education workers' strike continues.

Thousands of Canadian Union of Public Employees workers — including education assistants, custodians and librarians — walked off the job earlier in the day and the union's leaders have said the job action will continue "until our members decide otherwise," despite a law banning them from striking and the possibility of fines.

Toronto District School Board

The Toronto District School Board — which previously said schools would be closed until the strike is over — said Friday it was hopeful an agreement could be reached, but if job action continues, it would have to move to virtual learning.

"TDSB students will begin transitioning to synchronous (live, interactive) learning early next week, if the strike action continues," the board said in a memo sent to parents.

Toronto Catholic District School Board

The Toronto District Catholic School Board and the York Catholic District School Board said their schools will remain closed next week in the event of an extended strike and students will start remote learning Monday.

York Region District School Board

York Region's public school board said students will do virtual learning if the strike continues, but has not specified what day that teaching would start.

York Catholic District School Board

The York Catholic District School Board said classes will remain closed for in-person learning starting Monday and will instead move to synchronous online learning for students.

Peel District School Board

In Peel Region, the public board says schools will remain closed Monday in the event of a continued strike, and if it continues beyond that day, students will start remote learning on Tuesday.

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board will also continue to be closed to in-person learning and will move to synchronous remote learning starting Monday. The board notes it will takes a day or two to become fully operational. 

Durham District School Board

The Durham District School Board is closing all of its schools for in-person classes and moving to synchronous online learning Friday, the board says.

Halton District School Board

The Halton District School Board said all elementary schools will reinstate its contingency plan to alternate between in-person and remote learning. This would mean that elementary students would take part in independent remote learning on Monday and will follow an alternate schedule between remote learning and in-person learning for the duration of the strike.

Halton Catholic District School Board

The Halton Catholic District School Board will pivot to asynchronous remote learning on Monday. If the strike continues past Tuesday, students will move to synchronous learning.

The Progressive Conservative government enacted a law Thursday that imposed a contract on 55,000 CUPE education workers and banned them from striking, pre-emptively using the notwithstanding clause to guard against constitutional challenges.

But CUPE began a strike anyway, and the government took the union to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, seeking to have the strike declared illegal and the actions by union leaders to encourage the job action declared unlawful.

The law sets out fines for violating a prohibition on strikes for the life of the agreement of up to $4,000 per employee per day — which could amount to $220 million for all 55,000 workers — while there are fines of up to $500,000 per day for the union.

The government originally offered raises of two per cent a year for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25 per cent for all others, but the new, imposed four-year deal gives 2.5 per cent annual raises to workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 per cent raises for all others.

CUPE has said that framing is not accurate because the raises actually depend on hourly wages and pay scales, so the majority of workers who earn less than $43,000 in a year wouldn't get 2.5 per cent.

CUPE had been seeking annual salary increases of 11.7 per cent.

With files from CBC News

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