Labour Relations Update - February 13, 2020

As labour action continues across the province, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update about the impact of labour sanctions at the OCDSB.  

We have been advised that a province wide walkout will be held on Friday, February 21st, 2020 by all four education unions, including ETFO and OSSTF.  As a result, all OCDSB schools will be closed to students on that day and Extended Day programs will be cancelled. All Community Use of School permits for Friday, February 21st will also be cancelled.  We continue to encourage families to make plans for alternate childcare arrangements for the coming weeks.  We will also continue to provide notice of the walkout days affecting OCDSB as soon as they are announced by the unions.

Extension of School Year

Many families have asked about the possibility of the extension and/or loss of the school year. Although several school days have been lost due to strike action, at this time we do not believe that parents and students should be concerned about the status of the school year or whether students will be able to advance to the next grade.

Under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, the Education Relations Commission is responsible for deciding whether a strike would put the successful completion of the school year in jeopardy. There is no exact formula when it comes to determining this.  We know that learning continues to happen in schools and teachers are doing their best to ensure all curriculum areas are taught.

Elementary Report Cards and Marks

As part of the labour sanctions, elementary teachers are writing and submitting marks to principals, but are not inputting the mark data into the report card system. The OCDSB relies on the electronic entry of data by teachers to generate report cards for more than 50,000 elementary students.  After considering other options, we are unable to input the 1.7 million data points necessary to provide parents/guardians with Term One Report Cards for elementary students at this time.  With all of the labour action underway, principals will not be able to provide marks to families or students at this time. Providing marks without comments and context would also not provide fulsome feedback on student achievement of curriculum expectations.  However, we can assure you that regular assessment practices continue in our classrooms.  Our elementary teachers are skilled professionals who keep families informed about the progress of their children throughout the school year. As always, parents/guardians can contact their child’s teacher to learn about their child’s progress.

Secondary report cards are not subject to the same sanctions and are being issued.

Professional Activity Days

As part of the labour action, teachers are not participating in Ministry and Board directed professional development, but are undertaking self-directed professional learning; this continues to happen on scheduled PA Days.  The question of possible cancellation of PA Days has arisen.  There are several considerations which add to the complexity of making such a decision in short timeframes, including the fact that changes to the school year calendar require Ministry approval; it may not be possible to adjust school bus transportation for those dates; many community partners with planned activities for PA Days may also be adversely affected by a last minute change.


As a result of labour sanctions, the Grade 9 EQAO assessment for first semester was not administered.  At this time, planning is still underway for the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) which is administered in late March and Grade 3 and 6 EQAO assessment which is administered in May.  We will update the community if these plans change.

While this is a difficult time, l want to assure you that learning still continues in our schools. We share our community’s hope for an imminent resolution to this matter.

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