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Click Here for more Information on the latest Updates about COVID-19 and what it means for our Members.
- WorkSafeBC information for workers
- Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings
- Updated Public Health Guidelines for K-12 Schools
Information about health region protocols and the current COVID-19 school exposures by district:
While there are currently no public health orders (PHOs) that directly address mandatory immunization for education workers, some of our members may be indirectly impacted by the B.C. Government’s vaccine certificate program.
Where an employee’s job duties place them in locations or at events that require vaccination, employers may require vaccination status disclosures. Such policies would likely be found to be a reasonable exercise of management rights. Employers adopting such policies, however, are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who choose not to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons.
Aside from protected human rights grounds, where employees are not vaccinated (or choose not to disclose their vaccination status) there may be employment consequences. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some examples may include modified work duties, transfers, or unpaid administrative leaves. CUPE will continue to advocate for the protection of our members’ jobs and will address the employers’ actions on a case-by-case basis.
COVID-related Documents from Parents
Some support staff in the K-12 sector have recently been presented with documents from parents which claim to exempt their child from various COVID-19 public health measures. These documents are sometimes titled “Notice of Liability” or “Non-Consent Exemption”. They contain a dense collection of legal jargon related to compliance with mask mandates, testing protocols, and other public health measures.
CUPE members in the K-12 sector can safely disregard these notices. K-12 support staff are in no way personally liable for any of the alleged ‘harms’ described in these documents. CUPE members are not responsible for developing safety protocols or public health orders. Those matters are the responsibility of public health officials, the government, and the employer. Our members should continue to act in accordance with the direction from their employers and may forward the notices to the employer.
Online Learning Representative Sought
We are looking for a CUPE member who provides online learning as part of their job and is active in their local. Please contact your National Representative if you have a member you could recommend.
PEBT member-trustee opening
There is a vacancy for a Public Education Benefits Trust (PEBT) member-trustee. More information for anyone interested will be circulated soon.
Bargaining Committee Elections
A reminder to all locals to elect their bargaining committees for the upcoming round of negotiations, and to regional councils to elect their representatives to the provincial bargaining committee (Northern, Kootenays, Thompson-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, South Island, North Island, and Metro Vancouver).
Health & Safety Tool Kit
A workshop on the new health and safety toolkit developed by the K-12 violence prevention working group will take place on September 23, 2021, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. This workshop, hosted by the K-12 Presidents Council, is recommended for K-12 presidents, unit chairs, health and safety committee reps and CUPE staff. A reminder with registration info will be sent separately.
Notice of Next Meeting
The K-12 Presidents Council will hold its next meeting on October 13th, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The zoom link and agenda will be sent in a separate notice. Those regions that have not yet elected their provincial bargaining committee representatives will hold their regional elections at this meeting.
Wrapping up the school year
Employer questions on vaccination
While the provincial immunization plan moves forward throughout the summer, we are asking all K-12 members to contact your CUPE local if your employer asks about your immunization status. If you are asked by your employer about whether you’ve been vaccinated, or if they ask for any other information regarding immunization, please contact your local who will contact your National Servicing Representative as soon as possible.
Daytime Custodial Services
This past week CUPE welcomed the BC government’s announcement of $14.4 million in funding to support cleaning and supplies for the 2021/22 school year. While this is a step forward in helping make daytime custodial services a permanent part of the BC education system, more support is needed to continue this vital health and safety measure.
CUPE will be working over the summer to raise the profile of these vital services, the workers that provide them, and the many benefits they provide to our communities. In early August, CUPE will be holding a communications training webinar for local presidents and unit chairs to help them in sharing these messages with communities and the news media. More information on this webinar will be coming in future updates.
Health & Safety Toolkit on Violence in the Workplace
Looking ahead to the fall, CUPE and BCPSEA will be hosting a meeting in September to unveil the new K-12 Health and Safety Toolkit. Panelists Tom McKenna, CUPE Occupational Health & Safety specialist, and Hans Loeffelholz, BCPSEA sector lead for OH&S, will provide an overview of the new toolkit and answer any questions on its use in the workplace. Save the date for the meeting on September 23, 2021. – CLICK here for registration information.
In May, the ARC Foundation ran the first ever Regional SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) Summits. A summit report has been released highlighting discussions of SOGI inclusive educators, 2SLGBTQ+ students, and allies, who shared their challenges and experiences.– CLICK here for the Summit Summary Report.
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
We recognize awareness is a journey that we all must take to honour and fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. Please take the time to discuss the Calls to Action and the truths contained in the TRC report. The complete TRC report is available online from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
CUPE’s Walking the talk: A practical guide to reconciliation for CUPE locals is also available online with more helpful information. Please share these important resources with your membership so we can all do our part in reconciliation and to support Indigenous communities on their path to healing through these difficult times.
This week, a new federal statutory holiday was established recognizing September 30th as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in honour of residential school survivors. As it is a federal statutory holiday, it only applies to federally regulated sectors (such as airlines).
Some CUPE collective agreements, however, do have provisions recognizing new statutory holidays, whether they are municipal, provincial, or federal. And there may be other ramifications in collective agreements. CUPE is encouraging all locals to review their collective agreement language on statutory holidays.
THANK YOU on behalf of the Presidents Council Exec. and your K-12 Co-ordinators
We’d like to thank you all for your outstanding work and dedication throughout the pandemic – in your workplaces, in our communities and in our union. Your tireless efforts, support and solidarity throughout a challenging school year are to be commended.
We will remain vigilant over the summer months to ensure our workplaces remain healthy and safe and wish you all a safe summer.
Follow us on @cupek12bc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit bcschools.cupe.ca for news and resources.
Click Below to view the:
CUPE is making exciting progress on standardizing EA credentials across the province. As negotiated in the Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA), CUPE will continue to work toward standardization of education assistant credentials and qualifications to prevent school districts from creating in-house EA qualification programs as short as two weeks in length.
Benefits of standardization
Credential standardization will increase EA hours to full-time where possible and desired. As well, it will increase classification and compensation of EAs in the public education system, ensuring that EAs are appropriately educated and equipped to provide high level assistance that will ensure the safety of students and EAs.
Key objectives of working with the Ministry
In addition to the negotiated terms and the continued work of the provincial committees, CUPE has been advocating to standardize EA credentials with the Ministry of Education. On behalf of CUPE EAs, we will continue this dialogue in the months to come.
One of our key objectives is to have standardized provincial education requirements for EAs established, with credentials offered exclusively through public post-secondary institutions.
Experienced EAs who are already working should have the opportunity to participate in additional education if desired, but this should not be mandatory for EAs with experience. We understand that the Ministry of Education recognizes the need for these improvements to the education system and will partner with CUPE on implementing these goals. This process will require time to ensure that a system for standardizing EA credentials is well-structured and robust.
Position paper makes our case
CUPE Research and National Staff have compiled a position paper titled “Standard Credentials for Education Assistants.” This paper outlines CUPE’s goals for credential standardization, asserts jurisdiction on the topic, and makes recommendations.
This position has been informed and developed over the past number of years with input from CUPE K-12 members throughout B.C., committees struck through the PFA, and CUPE National Research.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
- Supporting diverse learners with complex challenges and needs requires adequate staffing levels and appropriate education
- More EAs supporting students with diverse needs and behavioural challenges are needed
- Education programs for EAs and EA qualification requirements established by school districts vary widely
- Offering standardized education programs and qualifications through public post-secondary institutions is the best way to ensure comprehensive, accessible, transferable education based on best practices and current research
- Compensation for EAs needs to be increased
- Better wages will increase EA retention and recruitment
SAVE THE DATES:
Upcoming classification calls for Education Assistants, SSWs, CEAs and similar classifications will be an opportunity to consult on priorities for standardizing EA credentials and to discuss the position paper.
Okanagan & Kootenays
April 20th 5:30-7:30 pm
April 22nd 5:30-7:30 p
Vancouver Island &
in island communities
April 27th 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Metro Vancouver & Fraser Valley
April 29th 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Community Social Services Awareness Month: Honouring our members’ commitment
BURNABY—March is Community Social Services (CSS) Awareness Month. As the world marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE BC honours and appreciates the more than 3,500 CUPE members who work in community social services. These include community support workers for the developmentally challenged, employment counsellors, addiction counsellors, legal advocates, early childhood educators and more.
B.C.’s frontline community social service workers and agencies help build safe and caring communities that support everyone when they need it—especially our most vulnerable citizens. Community social services are critical to B.C.’s safety net because they help make sure that people in need don’t fall through the cracks.
The work CUPE CSS members do has become all the more critical during this global pandemic. In these times of crisis, already vulnerable clients experience increased mental and emotional stress around loss of income, access to housing, social distancing, and other challenges. This increases the burden for the community social service workers who are there to help them.
“Since the pandemic was declared we’ve seen a big increase in overtime, with some of our members putting in 60-to-80-hour weeks,” says CUPE BC CSS Committee member Bob Crozier, a CUPE 523 member who works at the Turning Points emergency centre in Vernon. “They’re putting in these extra hours while facing a number of challenges imposed by COVID-19.”
Challenges include training clients in various COVID protocols, and stress caused by fatigue, general safety concerns, and increased isolation—for both clients and staff—as a result of staff shortages and social distancing. Home visits for outreach programs have been severely curtailed by provincial health orders. And staff working in residential treatment programs for children face uncertainty over parental decisions on whether to keep kids at home or in the program full-time.
CUPE CSS members are expected to work, and they keep on working—some despite having yet to receive pandemic pay and despite uncertainty around safety issues. Community social service workers keep on providing these vital public services because they are committed to helping people. That’s why they’re the heart and soul of our communities.
Joint statement recognizing the role of B.C.’s community social services workers
Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development, have issued the following statement in recognition of Community Social Services Awareness Month, March 1 to 31, 2021:
“Community Social Services Awareness Month is a perfect time to take a moment to thank one of the over 42,000 people who work in the community social services sector for their resilience and dedication to their role. They make a huge difference in our communities.
“Over the past year, as we’ve grappled with COVID-19, community social services agencies have been there to provide support and assistance. They’ve stepped up by adapting their services and coming up with innovative solutions to deliver the programs and services British Columbians need, in often trying circumstances.
“Community social services agencies help people with physical and developmental disabilities, families of children with support needs, new Canadians and refugees, Indigenous individuals, people dealing with mental health and/or substance use issues, and so many more to meet a huge variety of needs within the community.
“Most of us know an individual or family who has turned to the sector for help. Whether it’s a newcomer looking for language skills training or work experience before starting a job search, a woman looking for shelter and support to exit an abusive relationship, a youth in need of safe counselling services or a senior looking for help to access a local food bank, community social services workers are there to provide help and support.
“Community social services workers set the foundation of supports and services that people often turn to when they need help. Their dedication and hard work are a mainstay of government’s family and community support systems.
“As we look forward to building back a strong and stable economy and a better future for all British Columbians, community social services agencies will continue to be there to play a vital role.
“We thank them for all they do.”
Learn More: For the Community Social Services Awareness Month Proclamation, visit: https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/proclamations/proclamations/CommSocSerAwarenessMonth2021
To standardize EA credentials
One of our key objectives is to have standardized provincial education requirements for EAs established, with credentials offered exclusively through public post-secondary institutions. Experienced EAs who are already working should have the opportunity to participate in additional education, if desired, but this should not be mandatory for those EAs. This objective will provide the provincial JE Committee with greater ability to apply a standardized and increased classification and compensation structure for CUPE EAs across the province.
Presidents Message re: Isolation General Pay
Following a lengthy period of lobbying, CUPE & BCTF secured agreement from the Ministry of Education that they will direct the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the School Districts to assure all employees who need to quarantine by a direction of a public health official are provided alternative duties or paid regular wages during the period of the quarantine.
Click to view the Letter from BCPSEA Outlining the Agreement and below are answers to some of the most common questions. If you have any other questions please contact your Shop Stewards or Unit Chair for clarification. All contact information can be found on our website www.523.cupe.ca
President CUPE Local 523
Who is covered by the changes?
The change affects CUPE support staff and BCTF teachers.
What is covered?
Situations where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19 and is asymptomatic.
What are the obligations of the Employer
- Explore work from home options in the employee’s current position for the duration of the required self-isolation;
- Where work from home in the employee’s current position is not possible, consider options for re-deployment to work which can be completed remotely;
- Where work from home and re-deployment are not possible, provide the employee with general paid leave, provided the direction of a public health official to self-isolate is directed at the employee, and not a family member or person residing with the employee.
Should a member of an employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, per current practice, the employee may request vacation, other applicable leaves of the collective agreement or employment contract, or an unpaid leave of absence. Employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility in considering options for such requests.
What is the start date for this agreement?
February 1, 2021 and is not to be applied retroactively. For employees currently in a self-isolation period, it applies from the effective date (February 1, 2021). CUPE and BCTF are still fighting this part.
What about on call workers?
Where an on-call employee had accepted an assignment and is then directed by a public health official to self-isolate, districts should follow the steps outlined above. Where an employee is scheduled to work only a portion of the self-isolation days, the general paid leave would only extend to the already accepted scheduled assignment
Do we have to use sick days?
No. For unionized employees, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the collective agreements and is not a deduction of existing collective agreement leave banks. In the same way, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the employment contract for non-unionized staff.
What if it turns out I am sick with COVID -19?
Where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate and is symptomatic, employees are not to be placed onto general paid leave, but rather, should be placed on sick leave. Sick leave is to be administered per the collective agreement or the employment contract.
Sick Leave Provisions
All sick leave Provisions are under Article 21 Short Term Disability program and Article 22 Long term Disability Program.
BACKGROUND FROM PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS:
BCPSEA and the K-12 Support Staff Unions first agreed to establish a Provincial Job
Evaluation Plan, possibly including a regional or local approach, as part of the 2014-2019
Provincial Framework Agreement (PFA). The job evaluation tool used is based upon the
CUPE gender neutral job evaluation plan with modifications to fit the needs of the K-12
sector. The Provincial Job Evaluation Steering Committee was established in 2015 and
seven (7) districts with CUPE locals piloted the plan throughout 2018 and 2019. Ten (10)
additional districts, including two (2) with locals other than CUPE, have been identified
for a second pilot of the plan.
January 18, 2021
The following information is from CUPE BC K-12 Presidents Council
SSEAC Training Survey
CUPE, other support staff Unions and BCPSEA are jointly launching a survey with a view to soliciting input to help define priorities for, and interest in, support staff training and upgrading. This survey will help inform the work of the Support Staff Education Committee (SSEC) which was struck as per item 6 of the Provincial Framework Agreement. The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and is open until February 8, 2021. If you have any questions regarding this survey please contact President Tammie Koroluk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Online Presentation
A light-hearted approach to the serious subject of Mental Health
Please join us on January 19 at 5:30–7:00 PM (Pacific Time) for an online presentation with counsellor and stand-up comedian David Granirer and his Stand-up for Mental Health comics. Q&A to follow. The presentation is open to CUPE K-12 members. Find detailed information at bcschools.cupe.ca
Click below to Register for this presentation:
You will receive an email with your own unique link:
Your K-12 sector coordinators appreciate the assistance of CUPE BC to bring this important topic to members.
K-12 Presidents Council Website
For detailed information regarding the above event and survey please click on the following website https://bcschools.cupe.ca/
CUPE Local 523
For detailed information and contact numbers for each Unit, please click on the following website https://523.cupe.ca/
January 14, 2021
January 12, 2021
K-12 Members get the Message Out!
As we continue to face COVID-19 together and begin to prepare for collective bargaining next year, we will have many opportunities to reach our members, employers, K-12 partners and the public. We need to let everybody know who we are and that our work is crucial to education. It benefits our families and communities
January 6, 2021
Federal grant money being released to districts.
Local surveys coming soon!
On behalf of your K-12 Presidents Council executive, I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year!
With vaccines now being rolled out in B.C., hopefully 2021 will be a brighter and safer year for all.
We hope everyone had a re-energizing winter break.
New coordinators assigned to K-12 sector.
This bulletin explains the roles that CUPE fulfills for members in K-12, and specifically what that means for EAs. CUPE National Reps, Specialist Reps and Sector Co-ordinators support locals in bargaining and enforcing collective agreements.
A warm welcome to Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside.
K-12 Restart Plans per District:
- Crisis Centre: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- 310-Mental Health Support: 310 6789
- B.C. 211 hotline for seniors: Call 2-1-1
- Nurse’s Hotline: 8-1-1
- Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
- Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service: 1-800-663-1441
As a CUPE member, you are part of the largest Union in Canada. CUPE represents workers in health care, public schools, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services, and airlines.
CUPE Local 523 Structure
CUPE 523 has two community social services Units and three school district Units
Our Community Social Service Units are:
- CUPE 523 Turning Points Collaborative Society, Vernon
- CUPE 523 North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Vernon
Our School District Units are:
- CUPE 523 North Okanagan Shuswap (School District #83)
- CUPE 523 Okanagan Similkameen (School District #53)
- CUPE 523 Okanagan Skaha (School District #67)