For information on the current labour negotiations, please see the FAQ and Labour Updates below.

What unions represent employees at the SMCDSB?

The following education workers are represented by unions:

  • Custodial Staff  - Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

  • Educational Assistants  - Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF)

  • Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECE) - Ontario Secondary School Teachers
    Federation (OSSTF)

  • Maintenance Staff - Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF)


  • Office and Clerical Workers - Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF)

  • Elementary Teachers - Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA)

  • Secondary Teachers - Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA)

  • Occasional Teachers - Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA)

How will labour action impact my child’s school?

OSSTF, which represents about 750 staff at SMCDSB including Educational Assistants (EAs), Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECEs), Office and Clerical and Maintenance workers will begin province-wide job action beginning Tuesday, November 26th. It has been indicated that their job action  will include information pickets as well as a limited withdrawal of some services.

At this time, the withdrawal of service appears to be administrative in nature and the union has indicated, through its public news release that,
these job actions will have no impact on student learning.

CUPE has reached a tentative agreement with the provincial government and Trustee Association. Beginning on Monday, October 7th our custodial staff will resume regular duties, which includes core services that were previously withdrawn during their work to rule campaign. 

Can we expect other union groups to initiate work to rule campaigns?

On August 31, 2019, contracts expired for all employees represented by union groups at our board and across the entire province. This means that unions representing education workers across Ontario are currently engaged in collective bargaining processes in order to secure new contracts for their respective employee groups. Until negotiated settlements are reached, there is the potential for labour action with any or all of our unionized employee groups. 

At SMCDSB, unionized employee groups include elementary, secondary and occasional teachers (represented by OECTA), educational assistants, designated early childhood educators, office and clerical and maintenance staff (represented by OSSTF) and custodial staff (represented by CUPE)

To date: 

  • CUPE has successfully negotiated their collective agreement
  • OSSTF has initiated job action which includes information pickets and a limited withdrawal of services that are administrative in nature.
  • OECTA continues to negotiate. No job action at this time.

When could we expect labour action to begin for other union groups?

Legal strike action includes work-to-rule campaigns, withdrawal of services, labour disruption and strikes. 

There is a prescribed process which each union must follow in order to be in a legal strike position. This includes holding a strike vote with its members and issuing a “No Board Report” with the Ministry of Labour. Union groups must also provide five days written notice of any strike action, including work-to-rule or labour disruption. Our Board will communicate labour updates, as they become available, with our school communities. 

As of November 22, OSSTF has given notice about province-wide job action beginning Tuesday, November 26th. This will include information pickets and a limited withdrawal of services.

OECTA continues to negotiate their collective agreement and there is no job action at this time.

Is it the provincial government or school board that is negotiating with union groups?

Publicly-funded education in Ontario uses a two-tier bargaining process:

  1. Central Bargaining which takes place between the Government of Ontario, union
    groups (central team) and the Trustees Associations. Central bargaining would include province-wide issues e.g., compensation, class sizes.
  2. Local Bargaining which takes place between the union groups (local team) and the District School Board. Local bargaining would include issues specific to each Board of Education e.g., management rights, contracting out.

This means that the central body of each union negotiates with the province AND their local units bargain with each individual school board. Different aspects of a collective agreement are negotiated at each level.

Will my child be asked to assist with jobs that are normally done by employees?

No. Our schools have been provided with clear instructions that students will not be asked to assist with jobs normally completed by unionized employees. 

Will job action affect my child’s learning environment?

We understand that a labour disruption can be unsettling and difficult for students, parents and school communities. As a Catholic school board, we respect the collective bargaining process and we are hopeful that a freely negotiated agreement is reached quickly.

The SMCDSB is committed to balancing the rights of our unionized staff with our collective goal of providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students. Escalating labour action will undoubtedly have an impact on your child’s learning environment. However, our Board is committed to assessing issues on a day by day and school by school basis so that we can make decisions that are in the best interest of our students. Your child’s safety and learning environment will always be at the forefront of our decision-making process.