As COVID-19 continues to impact all Ontarians, Ontario’s education system has maintained its focus on supporting student learning, thanks to your support. I want to thank you for your hard work, perseverance and patience during this time.
The school board sector is fortunate in that we have suffered few layoffs and that we continue to be paid, even though many of us are not performing our regular duties.
However, there are other workplaces in our communities that are facing critical staffing shortages. I know that there are many education sector employees who want to help while school are closed for learning.
The Ministry of Education also recognizes that we are “under-utilized” (its term) and has worked with education unions, including CUPE, to develop a framework that would allow education workers to help address staffing shortages in other sectors.
The terms of this framework have now been agreed and CUPE education workers will soon have the opportunity to volunteer through an online provincial portal. They will be matched with local employers that need their services for non-clinical roles.
Matching will be based on members’ skills/abilities, geographic location and availability. Employers in need could include hospitals, long-term care homes, retirements homes, group homes, youth shelters and other residential congregate care settings. (NB: Employees who are required to support Continuity of Learning in the education sector are not eligible for temporary redeployments.)
However, redeployment should only take place when CUPE 4222 has a signed a redeployment agreement, so before applying through the portal, please check that the local has completed an agreement that will protect you and your rights during redeployment.
Redeployed education workers will remain employees of the Thames Valley District School Board and will continue to be covered by the terms of our CUPE collective agreement.
Whether to volunteer, to be redeployed or not, is a highly personal decision. Training and safety equipment will be provided to help ensure everyone’s safety, but there is always a degree of risk. There will be no reprisals for members who don’t volunteer to be redeployed, and the redeployment can be ended at anytime.
CLICK HERE for a helpful Redeployment Question and Answer sheet for members considering this.