Striking teachers are joined by other union members and NDP MLAs in a rally at the B.C. legislature in 2012.

B.C. government wins appeal on class size

BCTF president Jim Iker says union will pay back $2 million, attempt to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the B.C. government on the long-running dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation over the removal of class size and special needs support formulas from classrooms.

In a lengthy judgment released Thursday, four of five appeal court judges found that the province did not infringe on the constitutional rights of teachers to bargain working conditions. The appeal court pointed out numerous errors in a pair of judgments by B.C. Supreme Court justice Susan Griffin, and overturned her order that the government pay $2 million in damages to the union.

BCTF president Jim Iker said the decision is “very disappointing.” The union will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in its bid to restore classroom rules the government removed from its contract in 2002. He said the union will repay the $2 million the government paid after last year’s decision.

“All teachers are looking for is workable and teachable classrooms,” Iker said.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the changes made to classroom organization in the disputed period have led to “dramatic improvements in student outcomes, particularly for students with special needs.”

The B.C. education ministry has argued that caps on class size and number of students in each class with personalized learning plans were unduly restrictive.

The NDP government of the late 1990s negotiated a settlement where the BCTF gave up salary increases in exchange for class size caps, specialist teacher levels and limits on the number of designated special needs students in each class.

The decision leaves in place efforts by the government to settle the bitter dispute, including a provision in the current contract to pay $105 million to the union to retire thousands of grievances filed over class size and composition.

The six-year agreement signed last fall also includes additional preparation time and a “learning improvement fund” to deal with special needs support.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon protesters take BLM movement to Polson Park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Tagging Suicide Hill ‘Plan F’ for Vernon grad class

Portion of 30th Avenue hill may be closed for nearly three months if approved

Bear strolls into Vernon house

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

More research required ahead of public drinking in Vernon

City staff recommend consultation with RCMP, Interior Health Authority before taking next steps

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Most Read