Ottawa CAS workers demand fair deal; vote in favour of strike

Children's Aid Societies

Workers at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 454, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike with 85 per cent in support.  

These workers do the crucial and irreplaceable work of ensuring that kids, families, and their communities are safe. The 330 members provide vital interventions, care, and protect some of the most vulnerable kids in the Ottawa region.


But they are frustrated by the chronic underfunding that has led to worker burnout, unfilled vacancies and fewer resources for children and families. Michele Thorn, president of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 454 says the situation is leading to the worst morale they’ve ever seen. 


“Workers are stressed from overwork and leaving CAS because they are burnt out,” said Thorn. “They are feeling overworked, undervalued, and underpaid. If we don’t have the resources to do our jobs properly, kids and families suffer.”


But since bargaining began in November, talks have been rife with roadblocks. Despite workers’ reasonable demands for workload provisions and improved benefits, the employer is stuck on their demands for concessions and clawbacks.


“Instead of putting forth a fair deal, CAS Ottawa is pushing the entire system to the brink of collapse,” said Thorn. “Our clients and youth deserve the best possible support and guidance – and they rely on us. We are proud to step up and deliver for them every day. It’s time for the employer to step up too.”


With bargaining dates ahead, the union says the employer must come to the table with a fair deal or face a strong and united front of workers who are ready to take to the streets for the kids, families, and communities they support.