This past Thursday, Waterloo Collegiate was met with the news that November 28th’s performance of the variety show, Concept, would be cancelled as a result of ongoing labour negotiations between the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) and the Custodial and Maintenance Association (CAMA)/Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). The show, held annually in the school’s auditorium, had been scheduled to run Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week at 7:00 PM each night, and would now be reduce to only two weeknight performances.
This news comes on the heels of a contradictory decision to allow the CWOSSA girls basketball tournament to continue as-planned on the Saturday prior to the cancellation of Concept. Also held at the school’s facilities, the all-day tournament raised questions regarding the Board’s fair judgement of policy decisions. When asked what it was that differentiated the two events in terms of eligibility to run on their respective weekends, the secondary school’s principal, Ms. Shortreed, stated simply that it was “the Board’s decision… and we [the administration] support them on what decisions they make.”
Despite not being able to comment on labour proceedings and resulting action, Shortreed did express her condolences to the community: “I would like to recognize that there are students negatively affected by the situation and I feel for them.” Though not an explanation, it does suggest that the issue was judged on a case-by-case basis away from the hands of the school’s own administration.
With the date fast approaching, many students have been left wondering what that means for other weekend-bookings on school property. A statement released by the School Board on November 17th reported that “all weekend Community Use of Schools, weekend Rental Permits and weekend school bookings in our school sites continue to be cancelled.” The full statement can be found here.
It remains to be seen how long the dispute and resulting cancellations will last, but for now, fans of Concept will have to attend one of the two remaining performances. Seating is expected to be limited, and it has been recommended by production staff that prospective attendees purchase tickets in advance at WCI.
Concept tickets will be sold for $5 prior to the show or $7 the night of.
For updates on the labour dispute, visit http://www.wrdsb.ca/.
Report: Leighton Zink
Photography: Kate Schneider