BCTF vote results on implementation of restored language

There were 21,156 BCTF members participating for a 98.4% vote in favour of ratification.
There were 21,156 BCTF members participating for a 98.4% vote in favour of ratification.

BC Teachers' Federation members voted overwhelming to ratify the agreement to implement their restored collective agreement language a BCTF media release said on its website Friday.

The BCTF said the agreement will see all the substantive working conditions that were unconstitutionally stripped from teachers' collective agreements restored.

“With this vote, BC schools are finally on the verge of having better working and learning conditions back in place,” said BCTF President Glen Hansman.

“With our restored language in effect, BC schools, students, and teachers will see significant improvements in class sizes, support levels for children with special needs, and access to specialist teachers this September.

There were 21,156 BCTF members participating for a 98.4% vote in favour of ratification.

“I am very pleased that teachers have ratified the agreement because working together for student achievement is at the core of ensuring British Columbians can benefit from a strong, growing and diverse economy," said Education Minister Mike Bernier Friday.

"The parties had to deal with some very complex issues.  The challenge was how to restore nearly 1,400 old clauses across 60 different collective agreements within the context of an education system that evolved dramatically over the past 15 years.

The BCTF said this fight — unconstitutional stripping of our collective agreement — with the province should never have happened.

However, the fight ended when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the favour of the BCTF.

"I want to thank all of our BCTF members for their tenacity and solidarity over the last 15 years. By sticking together and acting as outspoken advocates for our rights and our students' education, we are finally going to see meaningful improvements in our schools," Hansman said.

"Thank you as well to parents who have supported us all these years.”

Hansman said the focus will now shift to the collective agreement-based school staffing processes that will begin later this month as well as holding the government accountable for its commitment to fully fund all the costs.

“The government stated it will fully fund the costs of implementing this agreement,” said Hansman.

“All eyes will be on the BC Liberal government this March and April to ensure the necessary funds materialize. It's also important to note that our restored language does not solve many of the other urgent funding pressures facing school districts.

"The government needs to step up and properly address overcrowding in many of our districts, the lack of resources for the revised curriculum, and all of the seismically unsafe schools across the province.”

"Teachers will see reduced workloads and will be welcoming thousands of new colleagues into the system over the coming months," said Bernier.

"And students will benefit from knowing that they have access to the same learning opportunities as before."