TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 26, 2015) - After trying for two-and-a-half years to secure a first collective agreement, Emergency After Hours Services staff of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CAST), members of Local 2316, Unit 1 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 2316-1) will commence a legal strike at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 27.

"Strike action was a last resort for us. We had hoped that with the additional urgency of a deadline, Children's Aid would finally come to the table with serious bargaining proposals after nearly three years, but our worst fears were instead realized," said Aubrey Gonsalves, President of CUPE 2316.

"Instead, Children's Aid has decided to put the City's most vulnerable children and their families at even greater risk," he added.

The 23 members of CUPE 2316-1 provide around-the-clock service to children at risk, 365 days a year. In addition to working for CAST, they are also contracted to support Native Child and Family Services-Toronto (NCFS-T)

"Emergency After Hours Services staff are the only resource available to children and families in urgent need between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., during the weekend and holidays. Childrens Aid's refusal to bargain seriously means a vital component of protecting at-risk children and supporting their families is no longer there," said Gonsalves.

Pickets will commence in front of CAST's offices, located at 30 Isabella Street, at 4:30 p.m., Monday, July 27, and are expected to continue until Children's Aid negotiates a first collective agreement that protects the important services CUPE 2316-1 members provide, and is fair to the people who provide the services.

"We have a great many outstanding issues, but I'm confident that a fair contract can be reached if both parties come to the table willing to do the hard work of negotiating a collective agreement. Our bargaining team is prepared to return to the table at a moment's notice," said Gonsalves.

Contact Information:

Aubrey Gonsalves
CUPE 2316 President
416-463-5967 x3

Kevin Wilson
CUPE Communications