MEDIA RELEASE: NSGEU Calls on APSEA to Restore Programming

DARTMOUTH – The NSGEU is calling on the provincial government and the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA) to fully restore programs that support students who are blind or visually impaired and/or deaf or hard of hearing, which were cut during the pandemic and never restored.

“On behalf of our members working at APSEA, we are demanding the return of short-term programs and assessments, which were taken away by APSEA management against the wishes of APSEA staff, students and parents,” said Sandra Mullen, President of NSGEU.

These important programs, which include a residency program and specialized psychological assessments, were moved online as a stop-gap measure during the height of the pandemic to ensure the safety of workers and the students they serve.

There are many challenges to teaching skills virtually to children who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. As one member rightfully points out: “How would somebody teach a child who is blind how to properly hold a sharp kitchen knife while cutting up vegetables through a computer screen? This is not safe or acceptable to any of us.”

Members report that registration and participation for the virtual programs has been very low, and they are concerned that these programming cuts mean students are not getting the functional living skills training that is important for living independently.

There is further concern about the isolation many of these children will experience due to eliminating in-person training opportunities with their peers: oftentimes, a student can be the only visually impaired student in their school and sometimes within their small community.  Staff are reporting increased mental health challenges for students as a result.

“If this government is in fact committed to improving mental health outcomes for children and youth, they need to ensure children and youth with disabilities are not being left behind as a result of the desire to cut corners financially,” said Mullen.

NSGEU represents 77 members working at APSEA, who serve children and youth from the Atlantic provinces who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, blind, or visually impaired. Many of our members have lived experience as members of the Deaf and/or Blind communities. Our members include clerical and maintenance staff, hearing systems technologists, orientation and mobility specialists, educational interpreters, blind and visually impaired mentors, deaf and hard of hearing mentors, educational audiologists, alternate format technicians, and many more.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents nearly 37,000 workers who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President Sandra Mullen, please contact:

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer,

902-471-1781 (cell)

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