Clarification for TAs regarding the provision of Respite Care  April 1, 2020

Please see the note below from HR Director, Janice Gough:


Good Morning Teachers Assistants and Child and Youth Practitioners;

I am writing to provide some clarity with respect to a recent announcement regarding respite care employment opportunities for some education entity employees.

A comment was contained in a news release on Monday March 30, 2020 stating the province was considering modifying existing policies and agreements that would allow Teacher Assistants and Child and Youth Care Practitioners in our system to voluntarily provide paid respite care within the community.

While we are taking steps to explore this as a possible opportunity for education sector staff, I can confirm that there is no change in any of the employment/pay commitments communicated previously within our system.   Put another way, any decision by a Teacher Assistant or CYCP to assist families in this area will not impact employee status or income from the RCE/CSAP.  Staff from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development are working with representatives of the Department of Community Services and Public Health on this item and it will not move forward without prior approval of Public Health.

We recognize the uncertainty that this current situation is placing on all of us.    As additional information becomes available, we will communicate broadly.

Once again, thank you for your ongoing patience, concern, and continued commitment to our students.  This is truly unchartered territory where we are learning ourselves as we go forward together.  Please continue to follow recommendations from Public Health Services and to be safe in your daily practices.

 Please direct any follow-up questions to


Janice Gough
Director of Human Resources
Strait Regional Centre for Education

COVID-19 Update March 30, 2020

As you are aware the Province has extended the school closure until May 1, 2020. CUPE has received assurance from the government that all employees who are currently on paid Administrative Leave will continue to be paid for the extended closure period. As was stressed earlier, this is not Vacation time and employees may be called to work as needed, provided such work falls within the safe work procedures that are in place.


COVID-19 and the Right to Refuse unsafe work


The following comes from from CUPE Nova Scotia’s Health and Safety Representative:

We now know that some members who work as custodians will be at work this week and assigned to provide access control to the schools. It is our understanding that only limited staff and specific grade 12 students will be granted access and that it will be done by appointment to avoid crowds. To protect your health and safety and practice the measures recommended by public health officials each school will need to develop a protocol on how access control will be managed to avoid contact and limit proximity to those staff and students entering the building.

We encourage all members to discuss the protocols for their school with their supervisor/principal before this work begins to ensure appropriate precautions are in place and we remind our members that subject to section 17(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers who believe any aspect of the workplace is or may be dangerous to the employee’s health or safety or that of any other person at the workplace, are required to immediately report the hazard to a supervisor. Furthermore; in the event a worker believes the work they have been assigned is likely to endanger the employee’s health or safety or the health or safety of any other person; the worker has the right under section 43(1) to refuse that work by immediately reporting the refusal, and reasons for the refusal, to their supervisor.

CUPE believes this work can be completed safely with adequate planning by school administration and good communication and direction to those involved in the work. In the event the planning or communication is inadequate we would strongly encourage our members to contact their CUPE local for assistance or if time does not permit, to report to their supervisor as detailed above or in the event of a dangerous situation, be aware of their right to refuse unsafe work.



Update on COVID-19 Issues

Here is the information that we have from our Employer as of March 16, 2020:


Good Evening SRCE Staff:

I am writing to provide some additional information to staff regarding closures related to COVID-19.

As previously shared, public schools will remain closed in Nova Scotia for the two (2) weeks following March Break. This decision has been made in consultation with Public Health to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Permanent, probationary and term employees and long-term substitutes/casual/spares who have been consistently working in the same position/replacing the same person and were scheduled to work during the closure period will continue to receive pay during the closure period.   The only exceptions to this would be employees who are currently or previously on extended leave (unrelated to COVID-19).  Day to day subs with time booked during the 2-week shutdown period will not be paid during the school closure period.

During the school closure periods post March Break, we are asking all staff not to travel; this paid leave period is not vacation, and we are currently working on strategies to ensure learning and other services can continue.  While we recognize that some positions are more easily able to work from home than others, it is our expectation that all staff remain available to work from home and in some cases, there may be times when working from another location or an employee’s regular work location may be required.

We are currently working through the details of scheduling alternate working arrangements for our employees, including working from home options and alternative schedules where services must continue in our buildings and offices. Your supervisor will be in contact to provide information as soon as possible.

Should an employee become sick or start to display symptoms during this period of time, they should report this to their immediate supervisor as soon as reasonably possible.  Additionally, in an effort to alleviate any further burden on our Health System, employees will not be asked for medical notes at this time.  While we have not made any determinations surrounding proof of out of country travel at this time,  it is prudent for employees to maintain this information. 

We understand staff have several questions during this period of time. Additional information will be shared with staff as it becomes available.



Congratulations  to new Richmond Unit VP, Mr. Clair Rankin from St. Peters and to Nancy Marchand who was elected as Unit Secretary-Treasurer. A special thank goes out to Kelsey Bowman-White for allowing her name to stand for election. Thank you to all who came out on a cold Saturday morning on a long weekend.

Import Update for Richmond Unit Members

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Special Meeting to hold Unit Elections, the date and time have been changed. The new date is SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2020 at 10:00 AM. The location is still REC/A in Louisdale. Be sure to come out.


There will be a Special Meeting for members of the Richmond Unit of CUPE  Locall 955 to hold Unit Elections.    Offices up for election are : Unit Vice-.President and Unit Secretary-Treasurer.

The meeting will take place on Saturday, February 8 at 11:00 AM.   The location will be at Richmond Education Centre/Academy.








General Meeting

        The Fall General Meeting for CUPE Local 955 will be held on Saturday November 16, 2019 at 10:00 am in the Cafeteria at S.A.E.R.C. in Port Hawkesbury




New Contract Signed

The Negotiating Committee for CUPE Local 955 and representatives for the Strait Regional Centre for Education met on August 28, 2019 and officially signed our new Collective Agreement. We would like to thank CUPE’s Education Coordinator and Lead Negotiator, Grant Dart, for all of his work leading to this Agreement.



Contract Update

The Executive of CUPE Local 955 are pleased to announce the Membership has voted to accept the proposed agreement with the Strait Regional Centre for Education. We would like to thank all of those who came out under short notice to exercise their right to be heard and to vote.



CUPE Local 955 and the Strait Regional Centre For Education have reached a tentative contract agreement.

A meeting will be held this SUNDAY JUNE 23 to review the proposed contract changes and to conduct a ratification vote.

This meeting will be held at 1:00 pm in the SAERC Auditorium in Port Hawkesbury.

Please make every effort to attend this very important meeting

Local 955 Member Update  June 11th, 2019

 Dear Local 955 Members:

Please be advised that the Provincial Bargaining Table has reached a tentative agreement. One of the issues agreed upon was to reopen Local Table negotiations on certain specific issues. The Center for Education has agreed to go back to the table on June 20th (tentative). Grant Dart, CUPE School Board Coordinator will lead the Bargaining Committee at the table until a collective agreement is reached.

Subject to further discussion are the following issues:

  1. Disclosure of member contact information
  2. New classifications to the Bargaining Unit including:
  • Computer Technicians
  • Lunch/Bus/Grounds Supervisors
  • ECE AND Lead ECE’s
  • Child Youth Workers
  • Pre- Primary Assistants
  • Lead Autobody and Motor Vehicle Repair
  • Schools Plus Outreach

Please stay tuned for further updates or notice of ratification meetings following the conclusion of negotiations.

If the collective agreement ratification precedes any Local or area meetings, new members can be sworn in at the ratification meeting. Notice of meeting times and locations will be posted to all locations and on the Local 955 website.

In solidarity,

Donald Stewart

Local 955 President


Notice of Meeting

The Spring General Meeting of CUPE Local 955 will be held on Sunday May 5, 2019

The meeting will be held at S.A.E.R.C. in Port Hawkesbury

Elections will be held for : Recording Secretary and

                      3 Year Trustee

Please note the change in date. Many of Members had requested a change in the date because our usual June dates conflict with the commencement of many end of School Year activities.




CUPE is looking for your help. As you are all well aware, there is a constant issue with a lack of spares and absences going unfilled. We are conducting a survey and looking for your input.

The survey can be found here: CUPE SURVEY

If you wish to take part in the survey, you can download a copy , fill it out, and return it by way of the Board Courier to : Donald Stewart c/o Operations.

It cannot be filled out on line. Please have all responses back by April 4, 2019


Fall General Meeting

The Fall General Meeting of CUPE Local 955 will be held on December 8 at 10:00am at S.A.E.R.C. in Port Hawkesbury. A review of proposed changes to the Local Bylaws will be on the Agenda

Contract Update:

On October 23, Strait Regional Centre for Education Staff and the CUPE Local 955 Negotiation team met with Mr. Peter Lloyd, a Conciliator from the N.S. Dept. of Labour. Some progress has been made, but we still do not have an agreement at this time.

We thank you and ask for your continued patience. We will advise you when we have more information to present.