universities suing Nova Scotia Teachers Union
Five universities are taking legal action against the Nova Scotia Teachers Union over work-to-rule, saying the ongoing job action is a threat to the careers of future teachers enrolled in education programs across the province.
Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Francis Xavier University and Université Sainte-Anne filed papers Monday in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
“The urgency of this situation required the matter be placed before the Supreme Court as the best way to stand up for students and protect their interests,” Kent MacDonald, president and vice-chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, said in a news release from the Association of Atlantic Universities.
“If the job action continues, nearly 300 of our students will not graduate on time, causing harm and risk to their future careers.”
To graduate with a bachelor of education in Nova Scotia, students require a minimum of 15 weeks of practicum.
“That clock on those 15 weeks started to tick in early January when they were supposed to be within the classroom in their respective practica,” MacDonald said later in an interview.
“So each day and each week that passes that these students are not allowed back into the class to fulfil their obligations to graduate brings them closer to not being able to graduate on time and delays their entry into the profession.”
The news release said the legal action alleges the union is in violation of the Education Act by not accepting or supervising student teachers. Section 31 of the act requires teachers to admit student teachers into their classrooms, as well as supervise and “give them any assistance requested by the instructors.”
Union denies violating Education Act
Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Liette Doucet denied the union is violating the Education Act.
“We are in a legal strike position which gives us the right to do that,” Doucet told reporters.
“I understand that the students are concerned. I understand that the universities are concerned. They contacted us to meet with us and we got back to them and asked what they were doing by way of a contingency plan. However, we have not heard back from them.”
Article source: News Source