UCDSB cancels high school sports citing CUPE work-to-rule

Abruptly on Monday, the Upper Canada District School Board announced a cessation of all sports, along with other extra-curricular activities, field trips, and community use of school facilities, citing work-to-rule job action taking by educational support staff who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The English public school board is the only local board to date to take such action.

According to the board’s announcement, “CUPE represents several UCDSB employee groups including educational assistants (EAs), early childhood educators (ECEs), custodial/maintenance staff, clerical staff (including school office staff), library workers, and information technology staff.”

The statement goes on to say that schools remain open and classes continue as scheduled. The explanation in cancelling everything beyond regular classes is “to ensure the safety and proper supervision of students.”

Our core mission is to educate students in a safe environment. We are confident that even under this work-to-rule campaign, your child will remain safe in our schools and their learning will not be interrupted.

Please know that this job action is in response to the status of bargaining at the provincial level and affects school boards across Ontario. Locally, we are engaged in bargaining with all employee groups and conversations are progressing.

UCDSB press release – 2019/09/29

Disruption to the school year wasn’t unexpected, given the approach the Doug Ford Conservative government has taken to education, teachers, and associated unions. In addition to CUPE, unions representing teachers, including ETFO and OSSTF, could take workplace action in the weeks ahead, though bargaining for new contracts is said to be continuing. A good summary of the status of these matters can be found here.

Getting back to the local sports scene, high school football convenor Mitch Zappitelli officially announced on Monday that all scheduled games “involving Glengarry, Tagwi, and CCVS will be postponed.” The Gaels were 1-1 in action thus far, while the Warriors had yet to play, with their previously slated contests already postponed for other reasons. The Raiders were 0-1.

Glengarry Gaels club president Ian Parent took to the club’s Facebook page, announcing, “Our scheduled game for Friday, October 4 [versus CCVS] will be postponed, and practices for this week have been cancelled. We are hoping for a quick resolution and are following the situation closely.”

The impact isn’t just on students, as the Township of South Glengarry has announced the cancellation of its pickleball and badminton programs at Char-Lan District High School “until further notice.”

The understanding is that the UCDSB cancellations are, at this time, on a week-to-week basis.

UCDSB logo

Update: The UCDSB posted a Letter to Parents late this afternoon, explaining the board’s rationale. The document can be viewed in its entirety here.

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