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

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Motorhome explosion in Houston

A motorhome by the Houston Motor Inn had an explosion Sunday, Dec.… Continue reading

SD54 elects board positions

Trustees also appointed to committees.

Christmas is a comin’

Some of Houston residents are getting the ball rolling for the upcoming… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

1 arrested after bizarre incident at U.S.-B.C. border involving bags of meth, car crash

Man arrested after ruckus in Sumas and Abbotsford on Thursday night

Most Read