N.S. teacher's union to teachers: don't fill out sexual orientation on survey

As an update to my previous post, Halifax school board wants to know all teachers' sexual orientation, the Nova Scotia Teacher's union has told teachers to consider leaving several sections blank on the school board's workplace identification survey.

Canadian Press reporter Alison Auld reports:

While the union can't offer direct advice about filling out the survey, spokesman Grant MacLean warned of the risks in completing sections that ask respondents to identify themselves as homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, and then list their name and employee number.

"We are not advising teachers to complete those sections," he said. "Teachers are very, very concerned about the protection of their privacy.

MacLean said several teachers have indicated they won't complete the document, citing fears the information could be used against them in light of a recent human rights commission decision that found the board discriminated against a gay physical education teacher.

One gay teacher said he would leave the bulk of the survey blank and angrily criticized school administrators for not giving employees the opportunity to fill it out anonymously.

Officials with the board defended the move, saying they are merely trying to get a better picture of the diverse groups of people that make up the workforce and to create an accurate, up-to-date database of staff.

Gilles Marchildon of Egale Canada, a gay rights organization, said the board's decision to proceed with the survey in the aftermath of the Willow case might be ill-timed. But, he added, officials could be trying to understand the diversity in their school district.

"Is this a genuine attempt to make changes in welcoming people or is it prying into people's personal lives?" the group's executive director said from Ottawa. "We're still evaluating that."

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  1. ... Reminds me of "V for Vendetta." The whole thought of a record of a person's sexual orientation bothers me. Might as well ask for political perspectives, hobbies, and if they prefers cats to dogs. It worries me!

  2. "While the union can't offer direct advice about filling out the survey,..."

    Well, why the hell not?

    I was a Shop Steward. I would have advised my members not to fill this out. Loudly.

    I don't know the details of NS privacy legislation, but I worked in Telecommunications which is federally regulated. I seriously doubt this survey is legal under federal privacy legislation.

    Even if it wasn't, I'd still have advised people not to fill it out.