BCTF dispute heading to top court

Education Minister Mike Bernier says 'relationship never better' as union gears up for one last appeal over teacher staffing levels

A striking teacher joins a rally at the B.C. legislature during the lengthy dispute that disrupted graduation in 2013 and closed schools in the fall of 2014.

The B.C. government’s 14-year legal battle with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation over staffing levels will go one last round at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The top court announced Thursday it will hear the union’s appeal of last year’s decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal that the province didn’t violate bargaining rights with its 2002 legislation setting class size and special needs support.

Education Minister Mike Bernier said the long-running dispute won’t disrupt efforts to continue cooperation with teachers, and the latest five-year negotiated settlement shows “government’s relationship with the BCTF has never been better.”

The agreement came in 2014, after a long, bitter strike that saw the government send out $40-a-day child care payments to 230,000 families for 13 school days lost due to strike action in the fall.

BCTF president Jim Iker said the latest appeal offers a chance to restore the 2002 class size limits and specialty teacher ratios, but the union won’t wait for another court proceeding to press its demands.

“A month from now, the B.C. Liberal government will deliver its 2016 budget,” Iker said. “Enrolment is starting to increase after years of decline and we know that there are more students with special needs, refugee students and others with unique needs entering the system.”

Bernier declined to comment on the details of the case, with another court action on the horizon.

“B.C. students rank first amongst all English-speaking countries in reading, science and math in international testing,” Bernier said. “We will keep working with the BCTF so students benefit from making our great education system even better.”

 

Just Posted

Resident raises concerns over Golden Landfill

A local resident is saying the landfill is becoming a hazard to her property and possibly the town.

Taking action on violence against women

The Golden Women’s Resource Centre set up a memoial at the fountain on Wednesday, December 6.

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

News came in a Tweet from the U.S. Department of State

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Most Read