Ninety-four percent of the Professional Student Services Personnel of Toronto (PSSP) voted in favour of job action in support of a fair deal with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
“Professional Student Services are an integral part of Toronto schools. These workers help maintain equitable access to the school experience as they support some of the most vulnerable young people in our system,” says Kimberly Perry, President of PSSP Toronto. “Our strike vote result demonstrates that PSSP Toronto members are unequivocally prepared to resist further reductions to our workforce and are willing to protect our local agreement”.
In the spring, the TDSB approved an operating budget for the 2019-20 school year that reduced the number of Professional Student Services Personnel in the Board. Several departments were reduced on a permanent basis including the Board’s Psychology department which saw a decrease of 10 full-time psychologists. Social workers and speech-language pathologists were also cut. Additionally, the system now has less child and youth workers (CYWs), with some secondary schools seeing a reduction of access to these workers by 50%.
“As we see a decline to the number of professional support staff, the number of students that require these supports continues to increase”, says Kimberly.
Chief Negotiator, Marina Michie, adds that “these changes have impacted our local operations and though we are committed to working with the Board to resolve issues, our members have made it clear that they cannot do more with less. We all want what is best for students and are willing to protect our working conditions so that we can continue to provide quality and timely care”.
A number of steps are required before any job action can begin, including working with a conciliator, the issuance of a ‘No Board’ Report, a 17 day mandatory waiting period, and an additional five days’ notice.
There is a day set aside for discussions next month where bargaining dates will be scheduled for January. PSSP Toronto remains hopeful that the contributions of our Members will be acknowledged through meaningful negotiations with the TDSB and that a fair deal can be reached.
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The Professional Student Services of Toronto Bargaining Unit represents a variety of distinct job classes in the TDSB: ABA Facilitators, Attendance Counsellors, Child and Youth Counsellors, Child and Youth Workers, Court Liaison Workers, Educational Audiologists, Multilingual Team Leaders, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Student Equity Program Advisors.