An Important Message for Families

An Important Message for Families

This message was shared with staff and families on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.


For almost a year, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) has been in contract talks with the union that represents some of our support staff.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 5047 and HRCE have worked hard to resolve outstanding contract items. Unfortunately, it has not happened yet. The conciliator, who has been working to help reach an agreement, filed a report with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education declaring an impasse.

What does this mean?

An impasse means that contract talks are at a standstill. Unless there is a resolution of the outstanding items in the next two weeks, CUPE members will be in a legal position to strike. By law, the union is required to provide 48-hours notice before taking job action. The earliest a strike could begin is on April 21, 2023.

Who does CUPE represent?

It is important to note that CUPE is in negotiations with all Nova Scotia Regional Centres for Education and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). The employee groups that CUPE represents varies throughout the province. 

In HRCE, CUPE members include all term and permanent employees within the following classifications:

  • Educational Program Assistant (EPA)
  • Lead Early Childhood Educator (Lead ECE)
  • Support Early Childhood Educator (Support ECE)
  • Library Support Specialist (LSS)
  • SchoolsPlus Community Outreach Worker (SPCOW)
  • Child and Youth Care Practitioner (CYCP)
  • Mi’kmaw/Indigenous Student Support Worker (MISSW)
  • African Nova Scotian Student Support Worker (ANSSSW)
  • Assistive Technology Support Worker (ATSW)

Please note: CUPE does not represent EXCEL employees. The EXCEL program will continue to operate in the event of a CUPE work stoppage.

What happens now?

I recognize that this is unsettling news. I want to assure you that teams at HRCE have been working closely with school principals in recent weeks to determine how to best support students in the event of any labour disruption. We are making plans to ensure that students who require the support of EPAs will continue to be able to access educational services reasonably and safely. Principals will begin reaching out to families who will be impacted next week to discuss these plans.

In the event of a work stoppage, Pre-Primary Programs will be paused. As a reminder, the earliest a strike could begin is on April 21, 2023.

In the current round of bargaining with CUPE, with the support of the province, we have offered a compensation package with wage increases to many classifications and a process for wage parity. This commitment to wage parity is a big step forward in Nova Scotia’s continued efforts to create a coherent and aligned public education system.

Our hope is that CUPE allows its members to vote on that offer before taking strike action. 

We remain hopeful there will soon be a resolution and that these plans won’t be necessary. We value and respect our employees who are part of CUPE. We know their work is critically important to children, students, families, and staff.

I will provide another update when new information becomes available.

All the Best,

Steve Gallagher
Regional Executive Director
Halifax Regional Centre for Education