Teachers rejoice over news that court will hear Federation’s case

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) case regarding issues such as class size and composition.

Boundary educators join teachers around the province in rejoicing after learning that the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) case regarding issues such as class size and composition.

The ongoing case dates back to 2002 when the B.C. government took away teachers’ collective agreements by legislation. The Supreme Court of Canada granted the teachers the chance to appeal the 2015 Court of Appeal decision that found the provincial government legislation imposing contract terms on members of the BCTF in 2012 was constitutional.

“The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the BCTF’s appeal of the 2015 BC Court of Appeal ruling is a very important step in the ongoing legal process and we are pleased to have the opportunity to present our arguments to the nation’s highest court,” said BCTF president Jim Iker is a recent press release. “It’s been 14 years since the original unconstitutional legislation that stripped our collective agreements, but BC teachers are still very committed to our efforts to win back those important working conditions for teachers, which are also our students’ learning conditions.”

Education Minister Mike Bernier responded to the Supreme Court announcement by saying that the government is confident in their legal position and appreciate any further guidance the court may provide. “Regardless of the court challenge, we are working collaboratively with the BCTF to implement the new curriculum and ensure teachers are trained to deliver its benefits to students,” he said in a press release. “It’s worth noting that since the last round of bargaining government’s relationship with the BCTF has never been better.”

Bernier added that the government will continue working with the teachers’ union to ensure students benefit from “making our great education system even better.”

Norm Sabourin, president of the Boundary District Teacher’s Association, said they are very pleased with the decision. He said the case is extremely important not only for B.C. teachers, but teachers and other union members across Canada.

“It would have quite an effect on bargaining rights for all unions,” said Sabourin. “If you think about it, if the government is able to go in a strip collective bargaining language (by changing it as they see fit) any time they want it really weakens what a collective agreement can do. The collective agreement is a legally agreed upon contract and the government is simply allowed to go in and rip it up any time they want. It doesn’t make sense to us.”

Sabourin said he expects the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case in the fall of this year. He said a positive ruling in the teachers’ favour would mean a return to smaller class sizes and better class composition. “It would mean the (stripped collective agreement language) would be reinstated,” he said. “That would mean the class sizes would get smaller and more specialist teachers would be hired according to the ratios. It would mean the hiring of thousands of teachers. it would mean much more support for students. That’s what we’re shooting for. We don’t know what the Supreme Court will decide or what damages they will award. We’re just crossing our fingers and hoping justice will be served.”

 

 

 

Teresa Rezansoff, SD51 (Boundary)board of trustees chair, said that there will be no change in the foreseeable future in daily school operations. “All it means for us is that down the road when the Supreme Court hears the case, which won’t likely be until fall, it could be potentially two years before we know the decision.”

Rezansoff added that when the decision does come, it will be final. “So that’s positive to know there will be a final decision whichever ways it goes,” she said. “For planning purposes, for our parents and students, there’s no need to be concerned that this decision by the Supreme Court to hear the appeal from the B.C. teachers will affect classrooms in the immediate future.”

 

Just Posted

Young Grand Forks angler wins top B.C. fishing award

Nine-year-old Noah Dalla Lana was honoured at this year’s BC Wildlife Federation Gala

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Grand Forks woman lays wreath at grave of local soldier buried in England

Cpl. Alfred Gyde Heaven lied about his age to enlist in the Canadian army in 1916

The quirks and perks of living in England

From Grand Forks to Great Britain: Kalyeena Makortoff on becoming a U.K. permanent resident.

One year later, I know we’ll be okay

‘Collectively, we can’t afford to be complacent, nor can we afford for our leaders to be.’

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read