$40 a day for parents if BCTF strike drags on

Finance Minister offers payment for each child under 13 to cover tutoring or daycare if more school days lost in September

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – If the teacher strike isn’t settled by September, the B.C. government will use the payroll savings to pay $40 per missed school day to parents of children under 13, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Thursday.

Negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation remain stalled after a two-week strike in June that cost the province’s 40,000 public school teachers $12 million a day in salary. That’s the estimated cost of the support program aimed to go toward tutoring or daycare for younger children if they can’t go to school.

De Jong said older children don’t require as much supervision, and have online options to maintain their studies if the labour dispute takes more instructional time away. The amount was chosen to compensate families of 300,000 children up to age 12 in public school at no net cost to the provincial budget.

Parents would have to register online to be eligible for compensation, to be paid by October.

De Jong said there are five weeks remaining in the summer break for most public schools to reach a settlement with the BCTF, and he hopes the program won’t be needed.

BCTF president Jim Iker termed the move “a blatant and divisive attempt to prolong disruption in B.C. schools” and renewed his call for a mediator to help bridge the differences between the government and the union.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender and school district negotiators say the BCTF’s contract demands are far out of step with other unions, particularly on increased classroom preparation time and other benefit improvements. The long-running dispute over class size and special needs support is headed back to court this fall.

De Jong reiterated that there is no plan to recall the B.C. legislature before a fall session scheduled to begin Oct. 6. He said the history of imposed of settlements on the BCTF may have contributed to the chronic failure to negotiate agreements with the union.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming called the announcement a “trial balloon” that suggests the dispute may be months away from resolution.

“I think parents are going to look at this and say, ‘you know what, school is not daycare’,” Fleming said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

Don’t delay going to the ER if you have an ‘urgent or emergent’ medical problem: Chief of Staff

Dr. Rebecca Janssen writes a weekly letter to residents of the Omineca Region.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read