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N.S. schools closed Monday as teachers start job action

Liberals to introduce bill to impose collective agreement on NSTU

2 min read
Education minister Karen Casey gives discusses annual report for Nova Scotia's Action Plan on Education
caption Education Minister Karen Casey in February.
Kathleen Munro

The province is closing all public schools across Nova Scotia on Monday as teachers roll out their work-to-rule plan to back their contract demands.

Education Minister Karen Casey announced the closures Saturday, citing safety concerns for the students if teachers limit certain activities.

“We believe the actions would be in violation of the Education Act,” she said during a news conference.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) announced last week that under work-to-rule job action teachers would perform minimum duties as listed in their contracts. It means the suspension of all extra-curricular activities and no teachers working early or late.

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Casey said no student should be stranded without supervision.

“The legal obligation to keep students safe is unconditional,” she said. “It does not start 20 minutes before school starts, or take a break for lunch or lapse 20 minutes after classes at the end of the day.”

Teachers and other staff are expected to report to school as usual on Monday.

Casey said this is not a lockout.

She said on Monday the Liberal government will introduce a bill they say will be a “collective agreement” with the NSTU. This is the same offer the NSTU rejected on Sept. 2. The proposed law would stop teachers from legally striking or participating in work-to-rule job action.

Casey said this move would ensure that students are back in school as soon as possible.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill denounced the plan. “This Liberal government’s approach undermines democracy and undermines public education,” he said in a statement.

People are taking to social media to discuss the announcement.

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