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Do your part to improve supports for at-risk children,” child welfare staff on verge of job action tell Toronto CAS.

TORONTO – The well-being of vulnerable children and families in crisis is a priority for the more than 700 child welfare workers with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST). This is why they have used recent contract talks to find ways to better protect at-risk children by improving the quality of supports and services.

However, contract talks broke down earlier this week, when the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto negotiating team was a no show at a scheduled day-long, labour-ministry facilitated bargaining meeting.

Today, the Toronto CAS staff - members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) 2316 are calling on their employer to “put at-risk children first and do your part to improve the quality of supports by getting back to the negotiating table. Work to achieve a new contract settlement and avoid service disruption,” said Aubrey Gonsalves, a family service worker at the agency and president of CUPE 2316.

In the last few weeks over a dozen CAS employers including Toronto Catholic and Durham children’s aid societies in the GTA have advocated along with CUPE for enhanced provincial funding and succeeded in negotiating new contract settlements. The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto has been part of that advocacy work but, has so far refused to negotiate constructively to reach a settlement.

Child welfare is mandated under legislation. CASs receive their funding through the Ministry of Children and Youth (MCYS). The ministry has announced a new funding formula for the sector and many agencies are concerned they will receive less provincial monies for the services they are mandated to deliver.

Service disruptions have been averted through creative problem solving at the negotiations table. But, that requires that both parties – the union and the employer show up to bargain. Other agencies have led the way and shown it can be done. They’ve been able to improve the quality of supports by ensuring there are adequate staffing levels put in place,” says Gonsalves. “Why is the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto pushing for a service disruption when a settlement is completely within reach?”

CUPE 2316 members voted over 97 per cent in support of strike action. The strike deadline is set for 12:01 a.m. Monday, October 3.

For more information please contact:

Aubrey Gonsalves                 
President CUPE 2316  
(416) 463-5967

Stella Yeadon 
CUPE Communication  
(416) 559-9300