Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — Schools will be open Tuesday, buses will run, students will be in class, teachers will be at white boards — and CUPE staff will be doing their jobs supporting them.

This after the province backed down and the union celebrated a “huge win” as both agreed to return to the bargaining table after two days of workers’ strikes Friday and today.

“In a gesture of good faith” echoed by both Premier Doug Ford and CUPE schools union council president Laura Walton the government and educational workers will resume failed contract talks after the province said it will repeal Bill 28 and end its use of the notwithstanding clause preventing a challenge by introducing and supporting new legislation.

That was enough for the Canadian Union of Public Employees who temporarily put down placards — reserving the right to hit the streets again if talks break down.

MPP Graydon Smith, in a very brief phone interview this afternoon from Queen’s Park, said the legislation will be revoked next week.

“Both sides will be talking again and that’s a great outcome because it gets kids back in school where they need to be.”

Smith said he was in the riding last Friday during protests in Bracebridge, but wasn’t in his office.

However he said he will be back in the riding for Remembrance Day services, but wasn’t sure today which location he will mark the occasion.

Asked what he will tell constituents then when he sees them then and about how it all came to today and whether or not both sides in the contract fight were at fault, he avoided pointing blame.

“Obviously we had a situation where talks were going on and those talks broke down and the government has been focussed on keeping kids in school this entire time and took action to have that happen and know that obviously that there were some other things that went on.

“We’re in a better spot today and I feel really pleased that kids will be in school — I got two kids of my own that have been home the last couple of school days. And I know they are excited to be going back again.”

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) education director Wes Hahn said Monday afternoon that all schools and board sites will be open to students and staff Nov. 8, for in-person learning and a “regular scheduled day.”

“Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this time,” he said in an email earlier this afternoon.

Regular transportation will be in place tomorrow.

Hahn said if parents or caregivers have any questions, contact your child(ren)’s school,

adding all updates can be found on the Labour Relations Updates page on the Board’s website and follow TLDSB on social media.

MPP Graydon Smith said in an interrupted phone call this afternoon that he’s “happy” talks will resume after next week when the legislation that forced the walkout took place Friday and today.


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