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3 of 4 boards aiming to keep schools open amid labour action

With potential job action looming, contingencies are being planned at the Near North District School Board to maintain the continuity of learning and try to keep schools open, where possible.  

In a letter to parents, the board says it continues to monitor provincial labour negotiations.  

The union representing 55,000 educational support workers says they’ll walk off the job, as scheduled, on Friday, if a new contract agreement isn’t reached. 

That’s despite provincial legislation keeping them on the job. 

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The bill uses the notwithstanding clause, a rarely-used measure that exempts it from the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   

At the Near North Board, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents school secretaries, custodial and maintenance staff, IT technicians, library technicians, as well as some finance and board support staff.

The union also represents custodial and maintenance employees at the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board.

The English Catholic board says in the event of labour action, its schools will remain open.

That update in a letter to parents, which also says any future withdrawal of services may cause some disruption.  

The board says it is working to minimize any potential impact. 

In the event of a CUPE strike or demonstration, Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord says their schools will remain open this Friday and as long as the well-being and safety of students and staff can be assured. 

The union represents elementary, high school and head office custodians as well as secretaries in secondary schools. 

Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario (CSPNE) says they will be forced to close their schools as of Friday, Nov. 4 if there’s a strike.  

The board says staff members represented by CUPE include custodians and maintenance staff, secretaries, Early Childhood Educators, special education workers, language therapy assistants and others. 

CSPNE says without the presence of CUPE school staff members it would be impossible to welcome and ensure the health and safety of students and adequately deliver education. 

All four boards say they’ll continue to provide updates through regular communication channels and their websites. 

**With files from Norman Jack

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