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For OSSTF, UPFH Files OHSA Appeal at OLRB Against Ministry of Education’s School Re-Opening Guide

Aug 31, 2020

In an exceptional feat of solidarity and collaboration, Ontario’s four major education sector unions filed appeals today under s. 61 of OHSA at the OLRB, challenging the Ministry of Education’s failure to put adequate health and safety measures in place to protect education workers from COVID-19 when schools re-open across the Province.  

UPFH represents OSSTF. Its appeal requests that the OLRB issue orders that an inspector from the Ministry of Labour should have issued against the Ministry of Education as the de facto employer of Ontario’s education workers. The requested orders include:

  • That classes at elementary schools and “non-designated” secondary schools be limited to 15-20 students, or fewer if required to maintain 2 m of physical distance;
  • That robust and specific ventilation standards be adopted across the province’s schools;
  • That cohort sizes be reduced to 50 in all schools;
  • That those cohort sizes consider all potential school-related points of contact;
  • That those cohort sizes apply to education workers and not just to students;
  • That all students be required to wear non-medical masks (subject to reasonable medical exceptions); and
  • That robust and specific busing standards be implemented to protect students and transportation workers.

In light of the provincial scope of these health and safety concerns, and that most schools are re-opening as early as September 8, 2020, this appeal requests both an expedited hearing process and consolidation with the other similar appeals filed by ETFO, OECTA and AEFO at the OLRB.

UPFH’s team is led by Susan Ursel, and includes Kristen Allen, Emily Elder, Alec Stromdahl and Parmbir Gill.

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