UPDATE: 1,100 teachers to be hired in interim staffing deal

NDP's Rob Fleming says Christy Clark government has a long way to go, thousands of classes don't even meet current class size rules

UPDATE: 1,100 teachers to be hired in interim staffing deal

The province and B.C. Teachers Federation have negotiated an interim settlement to their long-running dispute over staffing levels, a $50 million fund to hire up to 1,100 teachers for the current school year.

Education Minister Mike Bernier announced the agreement Thursday, stressing that there will be additional ongoing funding in the B.C. Liberal government’s February budget to finance a full agreement.

The announcement is a step towards the end of a lengthy legal battle between the government and the union that first began in 2002, when then-education minister Christy Clark removed class size and special needs support staffing ratios from the union contract.

The dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in the teachers’ favour in November 2016.

Bernier said negotiations may continue for some time, but the province didn’t want to wait.

“If it is quite a few more months, that would be an opportunity lost, and we didn’t want to do that,” Bernier said.

The actual number of teachers hired will be determined by school districts and their local unions. The new positions will include classroom teachers, special education teachers, speech language pathologists, behaviour intervention specialists, school psychologists, aboriginal support teachers, counsellors including for mental health, English as a second language teachers, and teacher librarians.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Glen Hansman said the interim agreement means more teachers “in a matter of weeks,” but the union and the government will resume meetings next week to restore the 2002 contract language upheld by the courts.

“It’s going to take a significantly higher investment than $50 million to undo the damage this government has done to a generation of students,” Hansman said.

“B.C. teachers will be looking closely at the Feb. 21 provincial budget to make sure that funding is provided to implement the full scope of the restored language.”

NDP education critic Rob Fleming said the agreement represents a “down payment on restoring 15 years of cuts” to B.C. public schools, after the B.C. Liberal government spent millions on lawyers to defend their actions and was finally forced to restore funding.

“We have something like 15,000 classrooms in British Columbia right now that are out of compliance, even with the government’s own guidelines, so they’re already behind in the absence of hard targets,” Fleming said.


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider ‘public engagement’ strategies tonight

Council asked to endorse ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider $7.3 million contract for street paving projects tonight

A city staff report recommends Lafarge Canada Inc. be awarded $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ plan going forward

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read