Striking teachers are joined by other union members and NDP MLAs in a rally at the B.C. legislature in 2012.

B.C. government wins appeal on class size

BCTF president Jim Iker says union will pay back $2 million, attempt to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the B.C. government on the long-running dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation over the removal of class size and special needs support formulas from classrooms.

In a lengthy judgment released Thursday, four of five appeal court judges found that the province did not infringe on the constitutional rights of teachers to bargain working conditions. The appeal court pointed out numerous errors in a pair of judgments by B.C. Supreme Court justice Susan Griffin, and overturned her order that the government pay $2 million in damages to the union.

BCTF president Jim Iker said the decision is “very disappointing.” The union will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in its bid to restore classroom rules the government removed from its contract in 2002. He said the union will repay the $2 million the government paid after last year’s decision.

“All teachers are looking for is workable and teachable classrooms,” Iker said.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the changes made to classroom organization in the disputed period have led to “dramatic improvements in student outcomes, particularly for students with special needs.”

The B.C. education ministry has argued that caps on class size and number of students in each class with personalized learning plans were unduly restrictive.

The NDP government of the late 1990s negotiated a settlement where the BCTF gave up salary increases in exchange for class size caps, specialist teacher levels and limits on the number of designated special needs students in each class.

The decision leaves in place efforts by the government to settle the bitter dispute, including a provision in the current contract to pay $105 million to the union to retire thousands of grievances filed over class size and composition.

The six-year agreement signed last fall also includes additional preparation time and a “learning improvement fund” to deal with special needs support.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Bears face Hawks, Bruins, Flyers and Bulldogs

Grizzlies lose narrowly to place second out of seven Atom teams

New garage for SAR command truck, equipment

Mobile unit and garage project to increase efficiency, reduce response time

UPDATE: Mount Milligan Mine temporarily suspends operations

There have not been any layoffs at this stage

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Most Read