National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th has been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.  This was done through Bill C-5 which received Royal Assent in June.  CUPE will be honouring this day and all employees will be given the day off.  Correspondence from CUPE on this is available on CUPE Connect which confirms this day has been added to the list of Statutory Holidays in our Collective Agreement.  

COPE Local 491 appreciates the importance of the day and encourages members to use the day in the spirit in which it was created in response to #80 in the Calls to Action document from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  The Call to Action reads: 

  • 80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.  

You can learn more about the Calls to Action and the Commission by visiting their website at: 

Many events have been scheduled to honour the day and to move the reconciliation process, the learning and healing process forward.  You can find more information on these events through Facebook, Evites, TRC website, various Friendship Centres and education bodies and many other venues.  If you need assistance locating events or online forums please reach out.  

In Solidarity
COPE Local 491 Executive 

Phase 2 Delayed

Hello Everyone, 

As you know, CUPE has identified that they will not be moving to Phase 2 – Working from the Office Plan on the September 20th date as indicated in the correspondence dated September 14th, 2021. COPE 491 is pleased that the Employer has heard our concerns and understands that we want to keep our members safe. However, CUPE’s goal is to move back to our pre-pandemic ways of working – including in-person work, and being in the office – will be our reality in the near future. 

Our concern is for those of you who may have a need to be accommodated either due to your own medical condition/health concerns; a medical condition of your spouse, child or parents; or because of your family status needs. While we understand that there have been calls for CUPE to issue a blanket exemption from any need to attend work in-person for those needing some form of accommodation, this is something that CUPE has already indicated that they were not prepared to do and there is no legal requirement for them to do so. As such, accommodation requests must be made individually. 

To apply for an accommodation, please contact your Direct Supervisor as they have been trained to follow a process. If there is a need for formal accommodation they will send you the proper forms and put you in touch with the corresponding contact in Human Resources. If you have an issue with an accommodation you have applied for, please contact your RVP for assistance. 

COPE 491 is continuing to explore our rights and legal options as they relate to CUPE’s obligation to provide a safe workplace for all its staff once in-person operations recommence. We have been collaborating with the Joint Health and Safety representatives in all regions to review the updated ‘Fall 2021 – COVID Protocol’ to be sure that no region goes overlooked. Going forward, please reach out to your JOHS representative with any health and safety concerns you may have.

Please stay safe, and be well. 

Yours In Solidarity, 

Brandi Kehoe 
Acting President, COPE 491