All Near North Board elementary and secondary schools were closed on Wednesday along with hundreds of English public schools across Ontario.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation members, including local high school teachers, educational workers and support staff held a one-day strike.

Troy Simkins represents educational workers and support staff.

On the picket line at Chippewa he told BayToday they have serious concerns.

“We need more supports not less and the government cuts have put the health and safety of education employees at risk because we don’t have the numbers that we need to support these kids,” he says.

He says they had plenty of support on the picket line.

“We’re here hand in hand and it’s not just OSSTF teachers supporting us but also elementary teachers and other union members,” he says

Simkins says they’ve received plenty of public support too.

Provincially, union officials say Wednesday’s walkout could be the first of many if the government doesn’t change course in contract talks.

They also say as a work-to-rule campaign continues, they’ll give five days’ notice before any further labour action.

(With files from The Canadian Press)

Meantime, there’s no change at the top of the Near North District School Board.

Jay Aspin remains chair and John Cochrane was acclaimed as vice chair.

On top of moving ahead with the closure of Widdifield, the Board of Trustees has started moving forward with a new Multi-Year Plan, a review of the organizational structure, and recruitment of a new Director of Education.

(Photo by Chris Dawson/

Filed under: Jay Aspin, Near North District School Board, one day strike, OSSTF