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

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

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it to editor@trailtimes.ca

Storm the Stairs and Trail Kidney Walk this weekend

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Sept. 20 to Sept. 26

Kootenay Robusters end 18th paddling season

Women of Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Christina Lake and Grand Forks came together in 2001

Military exercises may be audible in Trail

The exercises will be conducted in the Trail area from Thursday to Sunday

Council rollover inspires crop of hopeful politicians

Fourteen people vying for six council seats

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read