FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Teachers’ Federation has voted in favour of ratifying the agreement to implement the restored collective agreement language.
In a release sent out on Friday night, the BCTF says that 21,156 members of the Federation voted and 98.4% said yes to the agreement.
BCTF President Glen Hansman says that while the agreement will help learning conditions of schools, they won’t able to forget what happened in the first place and what led to this situation.
“With this vote, BC schools are finally on the verge of having better working and learning conditions back in place. 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.
The unconstitutional stripping of our collective agreement never should have happened in the first place, and a whole generation of students have gone without the frontline service they ought to have had during the entirety of their K–12 experience, but we are proud that we’re able to turn our Supreme Court of Canada victory into positive change so quickly. We can never forget, though, what happened.
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. Thank you as well to parents who have supported us all these years.”
The BCTF says they will now focus on 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.
Back on November 10, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on the deletion of certain BCPSEA-BCTF Provincial Collective Agreement provisions by the Education Improvement Act. The court ruled that the deleted provisions would be restored. The result of the ruling also saw negotiations begin between the BCTF and the Ministry of Education.
The BC government announced on March 4 that the BCTF and government had come to a tentative agreement.