Saskatchewan teachers’ sanctions being felt across the province

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Saskatchewan teachers’ sanctions being felt across the province
WATCH: Students react to the STF cancelling extra-curricular activities at schools – Mar 10, 2020

The impacts are being felt across the province after the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation announced Monday that teachers would be withdrawing all voluntary and extracurricular services as of Thursday.

The Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) is cancelling its basketball playoffs if the STF’s sanctions are not lifted by 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The SHSAA said playoffs rely heavily on teacher involvement and wouldn’t be able to operate without them.

“It will be most unfortunate if the two sides cannot come to an arrangement that will allow the sanctions to be lifted,” SHSAA’s executive director Lyle McKellar wrote in a media release.

“Approximately 1700 students and 300 coaches would be impacted by the cancellation as will several other organizations and entities that are involved with SHSAA and the hosting of basketball playoffs.”

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Other extra-curricular activities being cancelled across school boards include practices, games, tournaments, drama and music-related activities along with all school clubs.

The STF said teachers will also report to school and provide service no more than 15 minutes before the start of the school day. They will leave 15 minutes after class ends.

Supervision at recess, lunch and on the bus will take place within that time frame.

Bus pickup and drop-off times will also be restricted to 15 minutes before and after school.

Harbour Landing Village in Regina reported it is cancelling its bus transportation services until further notice, claiming it does not have the staff or vehicles to keep the service going.

Four schools transport kids back and forth to and from the childcare centre in Harbour Landing Village.

The STF announced its sanctions after contract talks between the federation and the government stalled this week.

Students from Regina and area are rallying outside the Saskatchewan legislative building on Friday over what they believe is a “lack of action” from the government.

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Some students are arriving as early as 8:30 a.m.

On Monday, Education Minister Gord Wyant accused teachers of walking out on students and walking away from the bargaining table.

During Tuesday’s question period, Wyant stood by his comments.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to apologize for the fact that the union representing teachers has decided to take the actions they have taken to withdraw voluntary services and preventing children from participating in extra-curricular activities,” Wyant said. “All the union has done is walk away and refuse to participate with this government.”

“There is a standing offer for the union to return to the bargaining table to talk about the important issues that are facing teachers,” Wyant said.

Patrick Maze, STF president, said it’s “frustrating” to hear the government accuse teachers of walking away.

“Teachers want to be in front of their students and that’s part of the reason why the academic program is continuing,” Maze said. “Teachers also want to be offering the coaching, the clubs and all of the volunteer services that go on.”

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“Teachers do a great job of filling in the gaps of the lack of supports on a daily basis and have for the last several years,” Maze said. “It’s just accumulated to the point where chronic under-funding from government has gotten teachers to the point where they say, ‘we can’t do this anymore.'”

Maze said the STF has been negotiating with the province for the last 10 months.

There are currently no talks scheduled with the province. Maze said teacher sanctions will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

-With files from David Giles and Anna McMillan.

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