April 17, 2015

Frequently asked questions about potential secondary teachers' strike

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the potential secondary teachers' strike, which can also be viewed at www.peelschools.org/labour/FAQ.

Is a strike happening in Peel District School Board secondary schools?
A strike has not been confirmed. If we receive strike notice, we will inform families and students immediately.

How much notice will the Peel board be given if secondary teachers plan to strike?
Unions/federations are required to give school boards a minimum five days’ notice prior to any strike action.

Will all schools be closed during a secondary teachers’ strike?
Since we cannot ensure student safety during a secondary teachers’ strike, all Peel District School Board secondary schools will be closed to students. This means:

  • All regular instructional programs for grade 9 to 12 students are cancelled.
  • Extracurricular activities, field trips and school events are cancelled.
  • Buses for secondary students will not operate. Buses will continue their routes for elementary students only. Buses to provincial schools will continue.

Secondary schools will also be closed to staff who are on strike. Schools will be open to all other employee groups. All elementary schools (kindergarten to grade 8) will remain open to students.

What impact will a teachers’ strike have on grade 12 students?
We have ensured that mid-term marks were submitted by secondary schools to colleges and universities by the institutions’ deadlines. In most cases, colleges and universities rely on these marks to confirm acceptance.

We do understand and share the anxiety of our families, especially about graduating students and final marks. This is early in the process and we remain hopeful that a negotiated settlement can be reached. Unfortunately, this is a provincial issue that requires a provincial resolution—there is nothing we can do locally, other than to make sure mid-term marks have been submitted. But we will do everything to make sure that the post-secondary plans of our students are not jeopardized.

We have shared our concerns about final marks with the Ministry of Education. We know they are working with colleges and universities on this issue and we are hopeful they will find a provincial solution should a strike occur. We will communicate this solution to students and families as soon as we have information to share.

If a teachers’ strike happens what impact will it have on grade 9-11 students?
We understand the concern. It is early in the process, and at this point, we still hope for a fair negotiated settlement. Most likely, if the strike occurs and is prolonged, the midterm marks will count as the final marks.

What will happen with secondary commencements?
We are monitoring and reviewing the situation. At this time, no decision has been made. We will communicate the decision to families and students as soon as possible.

What will happen to proms?
We understand the importance of proms as part of the secondary school graduation experience. Parents and students can purchase tickets with confidence and should proms not be able to happen, prom ticket costs will be refunded. Once a decision has been made about the status of proms, we will communicate it to families and students.

Could students’ summer break be impacted?
It's too early in the process to determine this. We're hopeful that we will reach a negotiated settlement as soon as possible to avoid any interruption to student learning. If there will be an impact on summer break, we will inform families and students as soon as possible. Any extension of the school year would be directed by the Ministry of Education.

Will International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams continue in the event of a strike?
The Peel board is reviewing all potential impacts on students, including the writing of IB and AP exams. We are working hard to find a solution and will communicate the result of our work as soon as possible.

Will refunds be issued for student activity/athletics fees?
We are monitoring and reviewing the situation, but it is too early to make a decision as we do not know the full impact of a strike, which is not yet confirmed. A decision will be made before the end of the school year and will be communicated to families.

Will Co-operative Education and other pathway programs continue during a strike?
If a strike happens, Co-operative Education programs will be cancelled in the absence of teacher supervisors. Dual Credit programs will continue as they are monitored by staff who are not members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). Other pathway programs are being reviewed and decisions will be communicated to staff and students as soon as decisions are made.

How long could a strike last?
OSSTF has not given school boards any indication as to how long a strike might last.

Will there be picket lines outside of secondary schools?
Teachers may be picketing outside Peel secondary schools during a strike. Picketing is not expected to take place outside Peel elementary schools.

Will there be an impact on before- or after-school permits?
Permits held by external organizations that are held before or after the regular school day that are staffed by non-striking employees will continue.

How can I stay up-to-date on the status of negotiations with Peel board secondary teachers?
If you have questions, or want to know what is happening in Peel board schools related to negotiations:

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