Toronto Schools & Unis Won't Cancel Classes For Climate Strike Even Though Vancouver Has
Universities are encouraging "flexibility" rather than wiping the slate.
Across Canada, educational institutions have been announcing their plans for the global climate strike on Friday, September 27. While Vancouver's school board confirmed it is for the afternoon, and some universities joined in on that, Toronto has not quite mirrored that action. However, the city's schools and universities are endeavouring to make sure students are not prevented from taking part.
The Toronto District School Board has TDSB.but only if all those under the age of 18 get parental permission to skip class. "To ensure students receive no academic penalty for taking part in the rally, we have also asked our schools to avoid scheduling tests and other assessments on that day," says a statement released by the
While Ryerson University reiterated it is open for business as usual on Friday, it issued a statement encouraging all faculty and lecturers to be a little more flexible when it comes to students who plan to attend the event.
"Students who wish to participate in Climate Day of Action activities are asked to speak with their instructors in advance about making alternative arrangements to receive course content, or to make up missed tests, exams, or class assignments," said Michael Benarroch, Ryerson's Provost and Vice-President.
Benarroch added: "The university also has a responsibility to ensure that academic activities continue as scheduled," so Ryerson will be open on September 27 with classes, labs, assignments, and tests moving forward as planned.
Meanwhile, York University's Provost and Vice President Academic, Lisa Philipps, said in a statement she will be bringing a motion to the university senate on Thursday, September 26, to declare September 27 as a day of academic accommodation for students. This would mean students who attend the climate strike will not receive an academic penalty. Faculty will also need to provide students with an appropriate extension of their deadlines.
However, Philipps added as a proviso that: "Deciding not to attend classes on this day to participate in the external event does not relieve students of the responsibility for mastering materials covered."
The University of Toronto has also encouraged flexibility for students on Friday. However, eight professors and one librarian sent an open letter to President Meric Gertler proposing that U of T's campus close from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday for the school community to participate in the rally at Queen's Park, according to The Varsity. University–Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell also sent a similar letter to Gertler.
Humber College responded to Narcity by stressing that "we are fortunate that many Humber community members care deeply about the climate crisis." The college confirmed it will also remain open as usual on Friday, but "we expect that some members of our community will choose to participate in the student-led global climate strike on September 27. It is inspiring to see so many students use the power of their collective voice to raise awareness about climate change."*
Humber's statement added: "As always, if staff wish to participate in this event in any way, existing processes for taking time off would apply."
George Brown issued a statement on September 24 stating that they recognize how serious nature of this global climate action and want their students to "feel empowered to make their own decisions about whether they participate."
The college will be open on Friday and all services and classes will run on their regular times. However, instructors have been advised to be flexible in accommodating students who do want to participate in the strike.
Meanwhile, over in the capital, the University of Ottawa won't cancel classes but will also accommodate students who choose to go, according to The Fulcrum. The move comes after students gathered in the Senate meeting on Monday to push for the cancellations of their classes.*
So, if you do plan to participate, make sure you do take the right steps so it doesn't affect your grades.
*This article has been updated.