EDUCATION Board prepared for lock-out as “last resort”

jeopardize the safety of students. “It’s important to understand that we would only lock out employees or close schools/buildings if student safety is at risk. We would not use such a measure as a punitive tool. Such an action by our Board would be a last resort,” stressed board chair Greg Pietersma.

Trustees have passed the following mo- tion: “The continuing labour dispute be- tween the Minister of Education and the unions representing our employees has placed us in the position that we are now in a legal strike/lockout position with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Fed- eration as of November 7, 2012. The Board

takes the safety of our students very seri- ously. The Upper Canada District School Board authorizes the Director of Educa- tion to use the power vested in the Board to protect our students’ safety by closing one or more of our schools/buildings or by locking out the staff of one or more of our schools/buildings if the need arises.”


The Upper Canada District School Board is ready to lock out teachers and close schools if an ongoing labour dispute is deemed to

Blog on turmoil BROCKVILLE | The Upper Canada Dis- trict School Board has introduced a new blog to keep the public informed of the status of its contract negotiations with teachers and support staff. The first blog post from chair Greg Pi- etersma explains the purpose of the site known as ‘Students First, Always!’ ( students- ). “Our first use of this portal will be to ad- dress the turmoil created by the Ontario Minister of Education’s approach to this round of contract talks,” says Pietersma. “We will use this blog to provide the facts regarding what is happening with contract talks and what is happening in our schools. This is our way to keep everyone informed of the truth, to stay ahead of potential ru- mours and misunderstandings.” The blog also features the Web site links for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Elementary Teachers’ Fed- eration of Ontario, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Ontario Ministry of Education and People for Education. “We chose to include those links because we want everyone to see what various others are saying about the government’s legislation and other related issues. This is a transparent blog that offers a wide ex- change of information and ideas,” stated Pietersma. Visitors to the blog site can respond with their questions and opinions. All questions will be answered by the school board as quickly as possible. “This site will be used in the future for other key purposes to disseminate use- ful and accurate information as quickly as possible to our communities. For ex- ample, this would have been a great com- munication tool for us to have used in 2009-10 during the H1N1 crisis,” explained Director of Education David K. Thomas. Other features on the site include: A dashboard listing of all the Board’s schools and a colour code to outline the status of co and extra-curricular activities. This will provide visitors with an instant pic- ture of the levels of activities in the Board’s 87 schools; A link to Chair Pietersma’s blog and the Upper Canada District School Board’s blog known as Who is in charge of the school house?; A link to Director Thomas’ blog; A glossary of items related to collective bargaining; and A flow chart of the collective bargaining process. There is the potential for labour action in the coming weeks and months. “We will do anything we can do to lessen the anxiety and frustration that accompanies events like labour disruptions,” said Pietersma.


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