With thousands of little arms and legs making their way toward their first day of classes, the charge you felt in the air this morning was likely sparked by a collective of back-to-school jitters.
After Labour Day weekend's last, glorious hurrah, the familiar slam of mini lockers has returned once more to elementary schools across Canada — and as with all brand new school years, the familiar spate of nerves that tends to follow.
But as a new survey reveals, parents and teachers may be experiencing a different sort of first-day jitters.
According to an Ipsos poll conducted by Global News, two-thirds of the 1,569 Canadians who responded revealed their concern about the labour unrest — like work to rule, strikes, and lockouts — that has been hovering around public elementary schools for some time.
"In any province at any time where children are disrupted in the classroom and their schedules, this causes havoc with their families," John Wright of Ipsos Reid told the news network.
In any province, perhaps, but some provinces expressed more concern than others.
British Columbia and Ontario parents proved the most concerned — and 79 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively — in light of recent legislation.
Atlantic Canada showed the greatest confidence with just 52 per cent, while the provinces in between ranged from 66 per cent (Quebec) to 55 per cent (Manitoba and Saskatchewan).
Though 40,000 B.C. teachers signed a new contract in June, the province is still reeling from the difficult year-long labour dispute that reached its height during a three-day teacher walkout.
Ontario teachers are not impressed after Premier Dalton McGuinty's government introduced a bill that would freeze wages and make walkouts and bans illegal under a mandatory two-year contract.
"We are concerned that this bill violates the right to meaningful collective bargaining. Why is it necessary, for instance, remove the right to strike before any job action has occurred or even been contemplated," Canadian Civil Liberties Association director Sukyana Pillay told CBC, adding that the organization would likely challenge the legislation in court.
McGuinty may have some backing, at least on the no-walkout rule, from the general population.
Also in the poll, undertaken between August 24 and 29, seven in 10 Canadians believed teachers should be classified under "essential service" thus precluding their ability to go on strike.
And something that may ease the nerves of incoming pupils: the majority of those polled believed that teachers shouldn't be the only ones doling out A's and B's.
In fact, 77 per cent thought principals should be assigning grades to teachers as readily as homeroom instructors hand them out to their tiny scholars.