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

Wenatchee wins Game 5

Vipers force overtime with 0.6 seconds left

District officials deem Vernon schools safe

Policies and procedures in place to protect against violent incidents

Needle clean-up planned

Vernon group heading out into community Saturday to pick up needles

Heavy rains result in early floods

Armstrong assisted living suites evacuated for second straight year following floods

Vernon group protests Kinder Morgan

Arnold’s office empty during protest

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

What’s Up: April

Devil star will appear in April

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Most Read