/Layoffs at Trillium Lakelands District School Board

Layoffs at Trillium Lakelands District School Board

By Chad Ingram


Some 70 support staff at Trillium Lakelands District School Board,
collectively representing nearly 55 full-time positions, have received
layoff notices amid reduced funding from the Ministry of Education. 

On June 10, the Canadian Union of Public Employees announced that a
number of its members in the TLDSB, including educational assistants,
clerical and custodial staff, have been informed they’ll be losing their


According to local CUPE president Bill Campbell, 50 educational
assistants representing 38.3 FTE (full-time equivalents), eight clerical
staff representing 5.54 FTE and custodial staff representing the
equivalent of eight to nine full-time positions, have all received
notices. Depending on the position, Campbell, who noted he didn’t yet
know where all the layoffs would fall, said the layoffs would occur
between the end of the school year, and the end of the summer. 


“Fewer EAs in the classroom are going to affect the learning
opportunities of the students,” Campbell told the Echo. While at one
time EAs had typically been assigned to small groups of students or
working with particular students one-on-one, “now a huge focus is just
keeping the students in the classroom safe,” Campbell said, adding some
classrooms see students with a wide array of behavioural issues. “Some
students have a really difficult time in the classroom without those
additional supports.” 


He explained the layoffs include seven, specialized itinerant EAs
known as the Behaviour Intervention Response Team, or BIRT, who travel
to various classrooms within the board when they are needed. 

“They would assist the teachers, the principals, the other EAs,” Campbell said. “The program was working very well.” 


“Trillium Lakelands District School Board has had to make difficult
decisions about the many programs and services valued by our students,
community, and staff,” Catherine Shedden, district manager of corporate
communications for the TLDSB, wrote in an email to the Times. “We are
working hard to preserve as much as possible in school and classroom
supports. Consideration for changes and reductions are made with the
best interests of students first and foremost.


“The TLDSB financial position is significantly different than it has
been in previous years. Reduced funding from the Ministry of Education
is having a severe impact on the budgeting process. There will be an
overall reduction of 54.58 FTE (full time equivalent) support staff
positions with layoffs for some educational assistants,
custodial/maintenance workers, and secretaries. This may include more
people as not all positions are full-time.” 


While it is customary for the school board to layoff and then rehire a
certain number of support staff each year, Shedden indicated this year
will be different, as the board loses more than $2.1 million in what is
called Local Priority funding, which will expire at the end of August. 


“It is important to note that there are layoffs each year for some
support staff,” Shedden wrote. “Typically, these staff job losses may be
mitigated through the board’s layoff and recall process. While some may
be recalled, the situation will look different this year, due in part
to continuous declining enrolment, reduced funding, and in particular
the end of Local Priority funding.


“Local Priority funding expires Aug. 30. This funding, implemented as
part of the last round of collective bargaining, has for the past two
years supported many staff positions and for this school year was
$2,133,433. Those with positions funded this way were aware that the
Local Priorities funding was scheduled to expire at the end of this
school year.” 


Campbell referenced Premier Doug Ford’s vow during last year’s
provincial election campaign that no frontline workers would lose their
jobs due to funding cuts. 


“Doug Ford was very clear during the election campaign,” Campbell
said. “He said that no frontline workers would lose their jobs. These
are definitely frontline workers.” 


Campbell said the union is encouraging its members to contact
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott and Parry Sound-Muskoka
MPP Norm Miller with their concerns. 

“I think that Laurie Scott and Norm Miller need to answer those questions,” he said.