Welcome to Rainy River District

Labour Relations Updates

This web page is your source for information and updates on current labour issues facing the Rainy River District School Board. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.​


January 17, 2020 - One-day strike for ETFO on Wednesday

With one-day strikes by members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) set to start this Monday, ETFO has announced members within the Rainy River District School Board will participate in a one-day strike (full withdrawal of services) on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, if an agreement with the province is not reached.

This one-day protest will affect all students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 across the District, with elementary schools being closed to students, including Grade 7 and 8 programs in secondary schools. Families should seek alternate arrangements for child care.

As valued partners in your child’s education, we know that this is disappointing news.  Please know that we are actively monitoring the labor situation and are prioritizing our decision-making around safety, security, and learning of our students.

We will provide any new information or updates through a dedicated section on the front page of our website, www.rrdsb.com. Please visit for continued updates. 



January 16, 2020 - One-day strike for OSSTF on Tuesday

On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) in certain school boards, including the Rainy River District School Board, will take part in another one-day, full withdrawal of services. This one-day protest will affect all students in Grades 9 to 12 across the District, with high schools being closed for secondary students only.

All high school events or extra-curricular activities scheduled for Tuesday, January 21, 2020 will be postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled.

In addition to the sanctions currently in place, beginning on Monday and continuing until notice is given otherwise, OSSTF members will also be engaging in the following sanctions:

  1. Members will not perform any on-calls;
  2. Members will not take on any additional work/responsibilities as a result of an absent member of the bargaining unit;
  3. Members will not verify or find replacements for staff absences; and
  4. Members will not perform the work of another bargaining unit, including any paid or unpaid work, or any activity that has been struck, even if directed to do so by the employer.

Elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 Programs, will be open. However, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has announced rotating strikes across the province beginning next week, so future school closures are possible. We urge families to seek alternate arrangements for child care in the case that this does occur.

As valued partners in your child’s education, we know that this is disappointing news.  Please know that we are actively monitoring the labor situation and are prioritizing our decision-making around safety, security, and learning of our students.

We will provide any new information or updates through a dedicated section on the front page of our website, www.rrdsb.com. Please visit for continued updates. 


January 10, 2020 - ETFO Phase 3 and 4 notification
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced on January 9 that, in addition to the Phase 1 and 2 Work-to-Rule Strike Protocol currently in place, its members will begin Phase 3 effective Monday, January 13, 2020.

ETFO’s Phase 3 Work-to-Rule Strike Protocol includes, but is not limited to:
• Not planning or participating in assemblies, except to provide supervision to students;
• Not participating in extra-curricular activities except for those that are scheduled within the regular school day;
• Not participating in field trips.

A full list of ETFO’s Phase 3 work-to-rule sanctions is available online.

Schools will remain operational, with student learning continuing during this job action. Health and safety, as always, will remain a key priority.

As well, ETFO has announced the possibility of rotating strikes across the province as of January 20th, unless significant progress is achieved at the negotiations table. There is the possibility of future school closures. We urge families to seek alternate arrangements for child care in the case that this does occur.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of parents/guardians during this time. We will continue to update families with new information as soon as it becomes available. 
January 9, 2020 - Grade 9 EQAO Assessment of Mathematics Update
On January 8, 2020, the Minister of Education announced that the decision with respect to the administration of the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment for Semester One would be left to individual school boards. Students in the Rainy River District School Board will not be participating in the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment this January.

All Ontario students who are enrolled in a Grade 9 Applied or Grade 9 Academic mathematics courses are normally required to take the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment. The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is an independent provincial agency funded by the Government of Ontario, with the mandate to conduct province-wide tests at key points in every student’s education and report these results to educators, parents and the public. EQAO measures students' achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to Ontario Curriculum expectations.

Teachers have been teaching the math curriculum throughout Semester One. The curriculum taught aligns with and prepares students for the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment.

However, due to job action, OSSTF teachers and Education Support Personnel will not participate in EQAO preparation or testing. This includes the administration and subsequent marking of the test. The labor sanctions would also make it difficult to implement the accommodations that many students rely on in order to be successful on the test. These accommodations would include scribing, the reading of questions and access to specialized versions of the test material. In RRDSB schools, access to these accommodations are provided by both teachers and Education Support Personnel.

Teachers will continue to work through the completion of the Grade 9 Math curriculum as Semester One comes to an end. In the RRDSB, a student’s performance on the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment has been included as part of the student’s final summative grade, which forms part of their overall mark in the course.

Given that this will not be possible this semester, teachers will weigh all evidence of student achievement and will use their professional judgement to determine the student’s report card grade. The final evaluation(s) of the course will allow students an opportunity to demonstrate comprehensive achievement of the overall expectations for the course.

In his statement issued on January 8, the Minister of Education said that students who do not take the EQAO Grade 9 Math Assessment in January will need to take the test in June. The Rainy River District School Board will await further direction from the Ministry with regards to a make-up test for Semester One students. Board staff would then work through the logistics of administering a make-up test, as this would pose significant challenges to both school staff and Grade 9 students who are not studying math in Semester Two.
December 16, 2019 - Wednesday's strike will not impact RRDSB
On Dec. 13, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) announced one-day strikes in some Ontario school boards on Dec. 18, 2019. Rainy River District School Board schools are NOT impacted by this potential strike. All RRDSB schools will be open to students on Dec. 18. OSSTF members will, however, be continuing their current job action, including information pickets.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding.
December 10, 2019 - OSSTF strike reminder

This is a reminder that Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will conduct another one-day walkout (full withdrawal of services) at a number of school boards, including the Rainy River District School Board, tomorrow, unless a central agreement is reached. As no bargaining dates are scheduled, we are expecting the walkout to take place. This means all secondary schools will be closed to Grade 9 to 12 students, as there would not be sufficient supervision to ensure their safety.

All elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 programs at secondary schools, will be open.

We appreciate that job action is frustrating for families, students and staff. We will continue to monitor the labour situation and if it changes, an update will be posted on our website www.rrdsb.com and on our Facebook page.

December 09, 2019 - ETFO to begin phase 2 job action

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced today that, in addition to the Phase 1 Work-to-Rule Strike Protocol currently in place, its members will begin Phase 2 tomorrow, December 10, 2019.

ETFO’s Phase 2 Work-to-Rule Strike Protocol includes, but is not limited to:

  • Not planning any new field trips scheduled to occur before June 30, 2020
  • Not collecting monies or participating in the electronic collection of monies for school-based activities except those for charitable causes
  • Not distributing any memos/letters from a school and/or school board

A full list of ETFO’s Phase 2 work-to-rule sanctions is available online.

As this job action continues to be a partial withdrawal of services and not a full strike, elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 Programs, will remain open and instructional programs will continue. As a result of the job action, principals and vice-principals in our schools will continue to take on additional tasks. We appreciate the patience and understanding of parents/guardians during this time.

We will continue to update families with new information as soon as it becomes available. For ongoing updates, please continue to check the Board website, www.rrdsb.com.

December 6, 2019 Second one-day strike planned for OSSTF

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced today, should a tentative agreement not be reached, its members (teachers and education workers) will conduct another one-day walkout (full withdrawal of services) at a number of school boards, including the Rainy River District School Board, on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. They will return to work on Thursday, December 12, 2019.

Should the walkout take place, the RRDSB would, once again, have no other option but to close all secondary schools to Grade 9 to 12 students, as there would not be sufficient supervision to ensure their safety.

All elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 programs at secondary schools, will be open on that day.

We appreciate that job action is frustrating for families, students and staff. We will continue to monitor the labour situation and will provide updates to you as they become available.

Further communication will be distributed to parents/guardians and community partners on Monday.

As changes in strike action can happen at any time, it is important that you stay connected and look for updates on our website, www.rrdsb.com.

December 3, 2019 - OSSTF to go ahead with one-day strike

As the Crown/Council of Trustees’ Association and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) have not reached an agreement, OSSFT will go ahead with its planned one-day strike on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. 

This means high schools will be closed to Grades 9 to 12 students across the District for the day. As student safety is a top priority, secondary schools are not able to function without the adequate supervision.

However, all elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 programs at secondary schools, will be open. Bus service will not be operating for Grades 9-12 students, but will continue as usual for elementary students.

Please be aware that there may be protests or picket lines at secondary school sites. Protests or picket lines should not adversely affect non-striking staff and elementary students’ access to Grade 7/8 Programs in Secondary Schools. It is our understanding that these are informational pickets.

We will continue to monitor the labour situation and will provide updates to you as they become available. Please look for updates on the Board website, www.rrdsb.com.

December 3, 2019 - Ontario Labour Relations Board Ruling for CUPE workers
November 29, 2019 OSSTF announces one-day, full withdrawal of services to take place Dec. 4

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) announced yesterday that their members will be engaged in a one-day, province-wide strike (full withdrawal of services) on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 unless progress is made at the central bargaining table.

At this time, this one-day protest will affect all students in Grades 9 to 12 across the District, with high schools being closed to secondary students only.  All elementary schools, including Grade 7 and 8 programs at secondary schools, will be open on that day.

However, in school sites which house both elementary and secondary students or which are adjacent to elementary schools, students and parents may encounter OSSTF picket lines and should review the general guidelines for crossing protest lines.

Bus service will not be operating for Grades 9-12 students on Dec. 4. Bus service will continue as usual on that day for elementary students. Parents and students should be aware that bus delays are possible. Information on busing is available from the Rainy River District Transportation Consortium website.

All secondary school events and extra-curriculars planned for Dec. 4 will be postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled. Community use permits will continue as usual.

We appreciate that job action is frustrating for families, students and staff. At this time, no other job action has been announced by OSSTF or the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. We will continue to monitor the labour situation and will provide updates to you as they become available.

Further communication will be distributed to parents/guardians and community partners on Monday.

As changes in strike action can happen at any time, it is important that you stay connected and look for updates on our website, www.rrdsb.com.


Please review this Fact Sheet, which includes guidelines for approaching protest/picket lines.

November 25, 2019 - OSSTF announces phase one job action

On, November 21, 2019, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) announced that it will begin work-to-rule strike action on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, which will affect secondary schools within the Rainy River District School Board. This coincides with the ETFO job action.

OSSTF has announced that its actions will target the Ministry of Education and school board administrative tasks that do not impact students. Some of the duties that OSSTF/FEESO members will NOT perform include: 

  • Participation in EQAO preparation or testing
  • Completion/Submission of Ministry of Education Data Reports
  • Participation in School Board Professional Activities that are based on Ministry of Education or School Board Initiatives
  • Participation in unpaid staff meetings outside the regular school day

Please note that OSSTF members will engage in information pickets before and after school at local high schools. These pickets will not disrupt the regular school day and will have no effect on students in the classroom. Educators will simply distribute information to parents/guardians and to the general public entering or departing the school property. Click here to view picket line procedures. 

Schools will remain operational, with student learning and school activities continuing during this phase one action. Health and safety, as always, will remain a key priority.

We promise to do our best to keep you informed. We appreciate your ongoing understanding as we continue to work to support all learners.

November 18, 2019 - ETFO announces phase one job action

On, November 14, 2019, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that it will begin work-to-rule strike action on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, which will affect elementary schools within the Rainy River District School Board.

ETFO has announced that its actions will target the Ministry of Education and school board administrative tasks that do not impact students. Some of the actions include:

  • Not responding to electronic communication from the school administrator/supervisors, outside of the instructional day (unless for reasons of personal/student safety, an OT accepting work, or support for students with special needs);
  • Not participating in school board activities on Professional Activity (PA) Days; and
  • Not attending staff/division/grade team meetings.

 Schools will remain operational, with student learning and school activities continuing during this phase one action. Health and safety, as always, will remain a key priority.

 We promise to do our best to keep you informed. We appreciate your ongoing understanding as we continue to work to support all learners.

Click here to view more details on the phase one job action

November 4, 2019 - Central Terms Ratified
CUPE provided notice that they have ratified the central terms of the CUPE 2019-2022 Collective Agreement. 
Local bargaining between CUPE and the RRDSB is currently in progress. 
October 6, 2019 - Tentative agreement reached
The Council of Trustees’ Associations and the provincial government have successfully negotiated a tentative settlement on central terms of a collective agreement with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) education workers.

The details of the agreement remain confidential until ratified by all parties. CUPE has agreed to stop all job action while awaiting ratification of the deal. 

Schools will be open and operating as normal tomorrow.
October 3, 2019 - Schools will remain open on Monday
On Oct. 2, 2019, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they will be escalating their job action to a full withdrawal of services beginning on Monday, October 7, unless progress is made at the central bargaining table. CUPE members in the Rainy River District School Board include secretaries, Early Childhood Educators, central business staff, and custodial and maintenance staff.

Schools in the Rainy River District School Board will remain open on Monday. Central staff will be deployed to schools to provide support. CUPE staff may be picketing at several locations and we remind staff, parents/guardians, and students to be cautious when crossing the picket line. 

Here are some tips for crossing the picket line in a vehicle:
  • Approach the picket line at a slow speed.
  • Keep your windows rolled up and doors locked.
  • Do not turn vehicle off or leave your vehicle.
  • Come to a full stop, watch for an opening, and exercise caution before proceeding.Care should be taken not to cause injury to the picketers. However, if the picketers allow a small space in front of your vehicle, move your vehicle forward into that space.
  • If you are stopped by a person on the picket line and detained for a short period of time, be patient and proceed when the person on the picket line is finished with the presentation.
However, the Board is unsure how long it will be able to maintain the required health and safety standards with all of our students in the building, if the strike action continues. 

There is the possibility of school closures. We urge families to seek alternate arrangements for child care for potentially Tuesday and beyond.

All community use permits have been canceled effective Oct. 7 until further notice. Extra-curricular activities and events scheduled for Oct. 8 and beyond will be canceled/postponed.  

We understand that this causes hardships, uncertainty and frustration for students, staff and families. With bargaining expected to resume this weekend, we hope all parties can reach fair, mutually agreeable agreements as quickly as possible. We promise to do our best to keep you informed. Please visit www.rrdsb.com for updates.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this situation together.
October 2, 2019 - CUPE announced full withdrawal of services
This morning, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they would begin a full withdrawal of service—strike action—across the province on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, unless progress is made at the central bargaining table.

At this time, the Rainy River District School Board is confirming details of the strike action and its impact on school operations. We will provide an update directly to families, staff and students once a decision has been made.

We appreciate that, depending on the decision, there may be significant impacts on your family. Families are encouraged to begin to explore alternate child care arrangements for next week, in the event strike action results in school closures.

We will communicate our decision as soon as it is made.​

Thank you for your ongoing understanding.
September 30, 2019 - CUPE members begin job action

As you may be aware, the mediation among the Council of Trustees Associations, the Crown and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) ended this past weekend without reaching a collective agreement. CUPE members in the Rainy River District School Board include secretaries, early childhood educators, central business staff, and custodial and maintenance staff.

As a result, CUPE members in our schools began job action today across Ontario. All RRDSB schools will remain open during the announced job action. Families, students, and staff will see some minor effects, which will vary by school, but will include discontinuing hot lunch programs and school fundraising.   

As a part of the announced job action, CUPE has directed their members to follow work-to-rule instructions, including, but not limited to:

  • ground maintenance;
  • recycling/compost programs;
  • setting up or taking down chairs/tables etc. for any event or function school based or community use including elections;
  • cleaning of unfunded areas, such as hallways, office areas and gymnasiums; and
  • collecting money, including School Cash Online.

At this time, every effort is being made to lessen the impact on our students and families. Student safety remains our top priority and we will continue to monitor the situation and its impact.

September 27, 2019 - CUPE begins job action across Ontario on Sept. 30

On Sept. 25, 2019, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they would begin provincial job action across Ontario on Sept. 30, 2019. This means that CUPE members in the Rainy River District School Board—secretaries, early childhood educators, central business staff, and custodial and maintenance staff—will be engaged in job action as of Monday. No other union or federation has indicated job action at this time.

Schools will remain open, with health and safety as a key priority.

Given this job action, some things you normally expect as part of the school experience may be affected. This will likely include putting a hold on hot lunch programs and school fundraising.

We understand that this provincial labour situation is causing uncerta​inty and frustration for students, staff and families. Student safety is a key priority and we do everything we can to minimize the impact of job action on students and families. We are closely monitoring negotiations and hope all parties can reach fair, mutually agreeable agreements as quickly as possible.

September 25, 2019 - Important information for families regarding CUPE job action
This morning, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) confirmed that job action will begin across the province on Monday, Sept. 30. In the Rainy River District School Board, CUPE members include secretaries, early childhood educators, central business staff, and custodial and maintenance staff.

At this time, Rainy River District School Board administration is reviewing the job action directive from CUPE provincial to members to determine the impact these will have on school and work site operations, and to learning and working. Schools will remain open to staff and students during this job action. 

We appreciate that timely communication is important to you, and we commit to providing you with additional details on the job action as soon as we can. We expect to be in a position to share more information with you as early as Friday.
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