Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic school boards to reopen school Tuesday

Students in an elementary class get back to work as Quebec students get back to school in Montreal on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Both the Simcoe County and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic school boards will be fully reopened to students on Tuesday after CUPE agreed to end its strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents 55,000 members across the province.

The decision from CUPE comes after the premier promised to rescind legislation forcing a contract on education workers.

The Simcoe County and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic school boards decided to close schools Monday and switch to online learning amid the uncertainty regarding the labour situation.

“It will be business as usual in our schools with the resumption of student transportation, extracurricular activities, before and after school care and community use of schools,” the Catholic board said in a statement Monday.

On Thursday, the Progressive Conservative government enacted a law imposing a contract on CUPE education works and banned them from striking, pre-emptively, using the notwithstanding clause to guard against constitutional challenges.

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But CUPE began an indefinite strike anyway, with the largest protest happening at the legislature, where workers spread out over the lawn and marched in a line around the building on streets closed off by police.

“We will be collapsing protests sites starting tomorrow,” Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said Monday.

“We hope that this gesture is met with the same good faith by this government in a new proposal at the bargaining table as soon as possible. And I will be clear we’re here waiting right now. The time is ticking.” Walton said.

Walton said CUPE members “will be at school tomorrow morning.”

— with files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press’s Allison Jones and Sharif Hassan

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