Toronto District School Board

Important Labour Update

Dear Parents/Guardians/Caregivers and Students,

This morning, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they will be on strike, starting on Monday, November 21, unless an agreement is reached with the Government of Ontario.

While we hope that an agreement will be reached and students and staff will be at school and work on Monday, should this strike occur, all TDSB schools will be closed for in-person learning for all students.

Student supervision and safety are our top priorities and without the important services of nearly 15,000 CUPE employees, we cannot guarantee that our learning environments will remain safe and clean for all students. For example, some of the important work that cannot happen during a CUPE strike includes:

  • No caretaking services, including cleaning of schools (e.g. classrooms, bathrooms & lunchrooms), operation/monitoring of heating and ventilation systems, snow removal, and many additional items.
  • No staff in school offices, including ensuring the safe arrival of all students.
  • No Designated Early Childhood Educators in Kindergarten classrooms.
  • No Educational Assistants or Special Needs Assistants to support students with Special Education needs.
  • No lunchroom supervisors would be present to supervise elementary students during the lunch hour.
  • No School-Based Safety Monitors would be present in middle and high schools.

Synchronous Learning and Device Distribution
Should the strike begin on Monday, synchronous (live) learning will begin for those students who are able to connect online immediately. Schools will begin distributing devices to students who require them as soon as possible. However, this may take several days to complete and could extend beyond Monday. Parents/guardians/caregivers will hear directly from their child's school with details about requesting a device for use for synchronous learning. 

We recognize that some students will not participate in synchronous learning for a variety of reasons, including not having immediate access to a device. In those cases, teachers are asked to provide students with 5 or more days of asynchronous work so that their learning can continue at home. 

Students Currently Enrolled in Virtual Learning
All elementary, secondary and adult students currently learning virtually will continue with some adjustments should the strike occur.

Students with Special Education Needs
Teachers will continue to support students according to their special education needs as detailed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Parents/Guardians/Caregivers should connect directly with their child’s classroom teacher and/or principal if there are any questions or concerns.

Students in Intensive Support Programs (ISPs) – Integrated Sites and Congregated Sites
Teachers will connect with families to determine appropriate learning on an individual basis. Parents/Guardians/Caregiver should connect directly with their child’s classroom teacher and/or principal if there are any questions or concerns.

Child Care
We are currently determining if third-party child care operators will be permitted to operate during the possible strike. More information will be provided as soon as possible. 

EarlyON Child and Family Centres
When schools are closed to students, both TDSB-operated and third-party operated EarlyON Child and Family Centres will also be closed.

TDSB Extended Day Programs
When schools are closed to students, TDSB-operated Extended Day Programs will be closed to all families. This child care service is operated by CUPE employees. Parents/guardians/caregivers will be refunded for any closure.

Permits
When schools are closed to students, all school and community-use permits will be cancelled, including during weekends, until further notice.

Continuing Education
While schools are closed, Remote Secondary Credit Night School and remote Saturday International Languages Secondary Credit will continue to run. All remaining Continuing Education classes are cancelled, including at non-TDSB locations where programming is held, until further notice. This includes: Saturday International Languages Secondary Credit, in-person and remote Adult ESL, Community Programs/Learn4Life, and International Languages Elementary/African Heritage.

We know that this is a challenging time for families, and we continue to work on plans to ensure learning continues and students are supported during any potential disruption. We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached before Monday. As the labour situation continues to change, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

For ongoing updates and the latest information, please continue to check www.tdsb.on.ca/labour and follow @tdsb on Twitter.

Sincerely,

Colleen Russell-Rawlins          Rachel Chernos Lin
Director of Education               Chair