November 18, 2022
CUPE and the Province will be engaging in negotiations this weekend in an effort to reach an agreement and avert strike action next week. They will conclude negotiations by Sunday at 5:00 p.m. so that parents can prepare for any outcome. We will share any information provided throughout the weekend to assist with your planning next week
As communicated previously, in the event of a strike, all Wellington Catholic DSB schools will be open on Monday. If the strike were to continue beyond Monday, all CUPE-staffed schools (i.e., all Wellington Catholic DSB schools in Guelph, Erin, and Rockwood) will transition to remote learning beginning on Tuesday due to the operational challenges of keeping our safe and healthy to the required levels through ongoing labour disruptions. St. John Bosco and Wellington Catholic DSB schools in Elora, Fergus, Arthur and Mount Forest will not be impacted.
Updates on this labour disruption will be provided on Sunday and Monday, as required, through our e-mail, our board website and social media. For labour updates, please see: https://www.wellingtoncdsb.ca/apps/pages/labour
November 16, 2022
Today, November 16, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), who represents custodian and maintenance staff within all Wellington Catholic DSB schools in Guelph, Erin and Rockwood, has given five days’ notice of a potential province-wide strike. This strike action could begin as early as Monday, November 21, 2022.
We are sharing this information with you today so that you are prepared in case an agreement between the Ontario Government and CUPE is not reached in coming days.
If strike action were to occur on Monday, November 21, all Wellington Catholic District School Board schools and before and after school programs will remain open.
If the strike were to continue past November 21, it is anticipated that we will not be able to maintain our CUPE-Staffed schools to the level required and we will need to move these schools (i.e., All Wellington Catholic DSB schools in Guelph, Erin, and Rockwood) to remote, online learning.
St. John Bosco and Wellington Catholic DSB schools in Fergus, Arthur, Elora, and Mount Forest will not be impacted.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to notify you of any developments as information becomes available. Communication will take place through e-mail, social media and the Wellington Catholic DSB website.
Labour updates will continue to be posted to: https://www.wellingtoncdsb.ca/apps/pages/labour
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we respond to the current circumstances. We continue to pray as a community for a resolution to this matter in the coming days.
November 7, 2022
We have received information today that the Province of Ontario will be introducing legislation to repeal the Keeping Students in Schools Act. In response, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has indicated that CUPE employees will be returning to work tomorrow and both parties will recommence negotiations.
As a result, all Wellington Catholic District School Board schools will re-open to in-person instruction beginning on November 8, 2022.
As well, Before and After School programs will resume services tomorrow, Community Use of School permits will resume tomorrow and Extra-curricular activities can also resume beginning tomorrow.
We recognize the uncertainty of this situation has been stressful on students, families, and staff and appreciate your patience and understanding as we have responded to the situation . We are pleased that the Province of Ontario and CUPE have found a path forward and hope this leads to successful negotiations for the future. We are looking forward to having our custodians and maintenance staff back with us at work tomorrow and we are grateful for their work in our schools each day.
November 4, 2022
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) withdrew services on Friday, November 4 as a result of a breakdown in negotiations with the Province. As noted in our November 3 communication, decisions regarding school closures would be made today with consideration of our ability to safely maintain schools if strike action extended past today.
At the present time, we anticipate strike action to continue into next week and will not be able to maintain schools to a level required without our CUPE custodians and maintenance staff.
As a result, all CUPE- staffed schools in Guelph, Erin and Rockwood will be closed to in-person learning on Monday, November 7, 2022. St. John Bosco Secondary School and non-CUPE staffed schools will remain open.
If we receive information over the weekend that the strike will be discontinued, we will inform parents and prepare to open. We are hopeful that the Province of Ontario and CUPE will reengage in discussions to avoid further strike action.
What to expect during school closures related to the current labour strike:
- CUPE-staffed Wellington Catholic DSB schools will be closed to students for in-person learning. St. John Bosco Secondary School and non-CUPE staffed schools will remain open. See the list below for further details.
- Transportation for Wellington Catholic School students attending CUPE-staffed schools will be cancelled for the duration of the closure.
- Before and After School programs at CUPE-staffed schools will be closed.
- Childcare programs (Infant, Toddler and Pre-School) operating at Sacred Heart Rockwood and St. Michael Guelph will remain open.
- Wellington Catholic DSB educators will provide instructions and asynchronous learning materials to their D2L site by 10:30 a.m. for students and parents and will be available through the day on Monday. Educators will provide a schedule of synchronous learning opportunities for future days if the closure extends beyond a day.
- Schools will provide separate information regarding access to technology or special circumstances for students who cannot access remote learning.
- All in-person extracurricular activities and athletic events taking place in schools will be postponed or cancelled. Current D10 sports teams will be permitted to complete playoff schedules and seasons.
- All Community Use of Schools Permits will be cancelled until further notice.
- There will be no International Languages Program or other programs which take place in Wellington Catholic DSB schools on Saturday, November 5 or Sunday, November 6.
- Report Cards and Parent-teacher Interviews scheduled for next week will be delayed if job action continues beyond the weekend.
We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to share information with you as further developments occur. Communication will take place through e-mail, social media and the Wellington Catholic DSB website.
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we respond to our current circumstances and we continue to pray as a community for a resolution to this matter.
November 3, 2022
We continue to closely monitor provincial negotiations between CUPE and the Province of Ontario. As reported through media channels, representatives have concluded their discussions for today without a negotiated contract.
At the present time, CUPE has indicated that they will be withdrawing services on Friday, November 4. As noted in the October 31 update, CUPE represents custodians and maintenance staff in all of our Guelph schools as well as in Rockwood and Erin.
All Wellington Catholic District School Board will remain open to students and staff on Friday, November 4. This will be a regular school day for students and staff who are not involved in strike action.
Should there be an ongoing withdrawal of services by CUPE staff beyond Friday, conditions will be assessed, and it may be necessary to close schools the following week. We recognize the challenge of maintaining our schools without the necessary supports of our school custodians and maintenance workers.
The decision for closure of CUPE-staffed schools will be made on Friday late afternoon and will be communicated to staff, families, and education partners at that time.
Non-CUPE staffed schools and St. John Bosco will continue to remain open as they are largely unaffected through this job action.
If school closures occur next week, instruction will move to remote, online learning. Further information about online, remote learning will be provided in future communications if this is necessary.
If a settlement is reached between CUPE and the Province of Ontario, we will communicate this information to you at the earliest possible juncture.
As the situation is evolving and negotiations are ongoing, the Board will continue to provide updates to staff and school communities through e-mail as information becomes available.
We recognize the challenges that families face when schools are closed and continue to hold out hope that a prolonged strike can be avoided. We are grateful for the work of our custodians and maintenance staff and pray for them and all others impacted by this labour contract dispute.
The Wellington Catholic District School Board continues to monitor the provincial labour negotiations closely. In the Wellington Catholic DSB, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents approximately 60 custodians and maintenance workers, who operate in all schools with the exception of four schools in Wellington County, St. Joseph, Fergus, St. Mary, Elora, St. Mary, Mount Forest and St. John, Arthur. We deeply respect and value our CUPE staff and honour the collective bargaining process.
On October 30, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they will begin strike action, which includes a full withdrawal of services, on Friday, November 4, if a contract agreement is not reached with the Province of Ontario. Today, the Minister of Education announced the introduction of new legislation, The Keeping Students in Class Act that, if passed in the legislative assembly, will impose a new contract on CUPE staff requiring their continuation of work.
Our custodial and maintenance staff are responsible for daily maintenance of the school, including waste management, water flushing, cleaning of classrooms and washrooms, responding to health and safety concerns and the security of our buildings.
As a provincially funded school board we are required to keep schools open until such point that we cannot reasonably operate due to concerns related to health and safety or operational conditions within our schools. We recognize and appreciate the important role that our custodians and maintenance staff have in keeping our school safe, clean, and healthy each day.
On Friday, November 4, all Wellington Catholic DSB Schools and Before and After School Programs will remain open, as required. However, should there be an ongoing withdrawal of services by CUPE staff beyond Friday, it may be necessary to close schools during the following week due to health and safety conditions in schools. We encourage parents to prepare for this possible outcome.
Please note, non-CUPE staffed schools (St. Joseph, Fergus; St. Mary, Elora; St. John, Arthur; and St. Mary, Mount Forest) and St. John Bosco are largely unaffected by this potential strike and will continue remain open to students.
If schools are required to close, instruction will be provided through remote, online learning until our schools are available to re-open. Schools will be in contact with families who may require devices this week and further information regarding online learning will be provided as necessary.
We understand that families will be faced with many challenges if we are required to temporarily transition to online learning and our staff will do their best to support our students through any potential period of school closure.
Information and updates concerning the possibility of a CUPE strike will be shared as this information becomes available. Information will be sent to families via e-mail and will also be posted to our board website (www.wellingtoncdsb.ca), school websites and social media platforms.
We will continue to keep you informed of any further developments this week and we remain hopeful for a successful conclusion to discussions between the Provincial Government and CUPE later this week.
Frequently Asked Questions for Parents Regarding the Ministry of Education and CUPE Discussions
The Province of Ontario and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are currently in contract negotiations. CUPE is in a legal strike position as early as Friday, November 4, 2022. The Wellington Catholic District School Board is planning for the possibility of a strike on Friday, November 4.
What can I expect for Friday, November 4 if there is a strike by CUPE workers?
All schools within the Wellington Catholic District School Board will be open on Friday, November 4 if there is a strike.
What will happen if there is a contract settlement?
All schools within the Wellington Catholic District School Board will be open on Friday if there is a contract settlement between the Province of Ontario and CUPE workers.
Who does CUPE represent?
CUPE represents custodial and maintenance staff who operate(remove) in all Wellington Catholic District School Board schools with the exception of four schools in Wellington County, St. Joseph, Fergus, St. Mary, Elora, St. Mary, Mount Forest and St. John, Arthur.
Which schools have CUPE custodians and could be impacted by CUPE Labour Action?
Wellington Catholic District School Boards Impacted By CUPE Labour Action
Bishop MacDonnell Catholic High School
Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic High School
Sacred Heart, Guelph
Sacred Heart, Rockwood
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. James Catholic High School
St. John, Guelph
St. John Brebeuf, Erin
St. Joseph, Guelph
Please note that the following schools are not impacted by the CUPE labour action and will continue to operate as usual.
Wellington Catholic District School Board Schools NOT IMPACTED by CUPE Labour Action
St. Mary, Elora
St. Mary, Mount Forest
St. Joseph, Fergus
St. John, Arthur
St. John Bosco
Which unions represents the other education workers?
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) represents the following Education Workers at Wellington Catholic DSB: Educational Assistants (EAs), Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) Office/Clerical staff, Library Technicians, Information Technology staff, Professional Student Services Personnel: Youth Workers (YWs), Social Workers (SWs), Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs), Psychological Associate and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs).
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) represents elementary and secondary teachers at Wellington Catholic DSB.
What happens if the strike continues beyond Friday, November 4?
Should there be an ongoing withdrawal of services by CUPE staff beyond Friday, conditions will be assessed and it may be necessary to close schools during the following week due to health and safety conditions in schools. If schools are required to close, school communities will be notified and instruction will be provided through remote, online learning until our schools are available to re-open.
Will Community Use of School Permits continue to be valid?
Community Use of School Permits are canceled November 3 and throughout the weekend and will be reviewed in consideration of any further Labour action.