Monthly Archives: May 2015

BCCPAC – Notice to members re: Bill 11

Notice to Members
5/8/2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Regarding: Bill 11

BCCPAC had the opportunity this past weekend to gather in Burnaby with parent representatives from across British Columbia at the Annual General Meeting for 2015. Throughout the weekend and in a special meeting of the “Committee of the Whole” the recently tabled Bill 11 was discussed. Overall, parents represented at the meeting recognized the need for changes to School Planning Councils, and they are hopeful for the possibility of increased training for BC’s teachers through professional development. Our parents continue to ask for more training and support to be offered to teachers and support staff around students’ special needs, upcoming changes to the BC Education Plan, new and developing technologies, and exciting techniques in delivery of curriculum.

Parents also indicated however much hesitation around the introduction of such a large and unsettling piece of legislation that could hold many implications for our education system, without much indication as to what will replace the many sections repealed from the School Act. We look forward to continued engagement with government and other education partners to ensure that the concerns of parents, and above all the needs of our students, remain a top priority for all partner groups while consultations around the enactment of regulations for Bill 11 continue.

Parents are hopeful that the important partnership that was mandated by School Planning Councils could be broadened and deepened. We would like to see all school partners brought together to also include teachers and support staff as well as parents and administration to continue the meaningful engagement that was originally the focus of SPC’s. Our members are also optimistic that in a climate of open dialogue and collaboration with the Ministry, concerns that were also shared around the need for protection of student data will be recognized and resolved before Bill 11 is passed in the Legislature.

For additional information please contact Nicole Makohoniuk via 778-870-3547 or nicolemakohoniuk@bccpac.bc.ca

Agenda – May 11, 2015 General Meeting

Agenda – DPAC General Meeting

Attend by webconference – https://ca-sas.bbcollab.com/m.jnlp?sid=7345&password=M.5145736A7CDFC3FC2B5D05AC974A8F
Monday, May 11, 2015, 7:00 p.m., Van Bien Training Centre
1. Call to order, Secretary
2. Adoption of agenda and Adoption of Minutes
3. PAC Networking and discussion (To increase the effectiveness of this section of the agenda, we suggest that people report on ideas that may be of interest to other PACs, or concerns that other PACs could help with.)

7:30pm – Partner groups enter
4. Partner Group Presentations (five minutes each – questions may be taken about general topics)
a) DSAC Report (Robin Keahey, Hayley Jakubowski)
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong)
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Tina Cousins, Richard Giroday)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Dan Watt)
e) Professional Employees Association (Nicole Haines)
f) Superintendent Report (Brian Pepper)
g) Trustee Report (Brenda Hooker)
(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)

5. Elections – Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, District Associate, Directors

6. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Sarah Holland)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Chris Finke)
c) BCCPAC Report (Dennis Fudge)

7. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) Grant requests – from Edgewood
b) Gary Anaka – September 24th – evening presentation & available to schools during the day. Teenage Brain for parents & students in grade 8-12; tentatively located at Duchess Park
c) Fall conference planning – scheduled for October 24, 2015, at Civic Centre. Committee report.

8. Advising School District
a) Education Services Committee Report (Steve)
b) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report (Chris, Darlene)
c) Policy and Governance (Sarah, Dennis)
d) Ad hoc Technology Committee (Steve)
e) Expanded committee of the whole (Dennis, Gillian)
f) Suggestions for School Board Report

9. Other Business
a)
b)
10. Agenda items for next meeting
11. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 1st, at 7:00 pm, Van Bien. Last one of school year, how did that happen?

Court Case Update

The BC Court of Appeal, by a 4 to 1 vote, ruled in favour of the government position over the BCTF position.

Some articles:

 

The full text of the decision can be found here – highly recommended reading, if you actually want to know what’s going on in this case, as there is a lot of misinformation out there:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/15/01/2015BCCA0184.htm

From the summary:

The trial judge held that certain sections of the Education Improvement Act, S.B.C. 2012, c. 3, unjustifiably infringed teachers’ freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter. This holding was based on two main conclusions: the Province’s consultations with the BCTF before the legislation was enacted were irrelevant to its constitutionality, and the Province had in any event failed to consult in good faith. 

Majority (per Bauman C.J.B.C., Newbury, Saunders and Harris JJ.A.): The Province’s consultations are relevant to the constitutionality of the legislation. The trial judge’s finding that the Province had failed to consult in good faith was based on errors of law and palpable and overriding errors of fact. Between the consultations and the collective bargaining leading up to the legislation, teachers were afforded a meaningful process in which to advance their collective aspirations. The legislation did not infringe s. 2(d) of the Charter.

Reasons for Judgment of the Honourable Chief Justice Bauman and Mr. Justice Harris:

[1]             This appeal addresses the constitutionality of legislation that affects the workload and working conditions of teachers in the public school system in this province. Enacted in 2012, the legislation nullified terms that were part of the teachers’ collective agreement before 2002 and provided that similar terms could not be renegotiated or included in their collective agreement until July 2013. The legislation also provided for the appointment of a mediator whose primary goal was to help the teachers’ union (the BCTF) and school boards negotiate toward a short-term collective agreement that would expire at the end of June 2013.

[2]             Earlier legislation nullifying terms of the teachers’ collective agreement had been declared unconstitutional for infringing teachers’ freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter. The judge suspended the effect of her decision for 12 months to allow the parties time to address its implications. During that period, teachers were consulted by the Province, and teachers and school boards engaged in collective bargaining through their certified bargaining agents. The parties did not reach agreement and teachers engaged in lawful job action. On the expiry of the 12-month suspension, the legislation at issue in this appeal was enacted.

[3]             The Province recognizes that the legislation affects teachers’ working conditions and covers subjects on which teachers hold strong professional views. However, it contends that the legislation goes beyond the subject matter of typical collective agreements (such as job security and seniority rights) by addressing issues for which the Province is politically accountable. These issues include education policy under the School Act, resource allocation within the education portfolio—between potentially competing priorities such as class size and composition, salaries, technology in the classroom, new school building and seismic upgrading, among many other matters—as well as resource allocation across competing government portfolios—for example, between investments in hospitals and the operating budgets of schools. The Province says that during the 12-month suspension it consulted with teachers in good faith, in a manner that respected their freedom of association.

[4]             The BCTF brought another constitutional challenge. The judge declared that this legislation was also unconstitutional for infringing teachers’ freedom of association. The Province appeals.

[5]             The judge’s decision was based on two main conclusions. She held that the Province’s consultations with the BCTF were irrelevant to the constitutionality of the legislation. She also considered that the Province had failed to consult in good faith.

[6]             We would allow the appeal. In our opinion, the legislation was constitutional. Between the consultations and the collective bargaining leading up to the legislation, teachers were afforded a meaningful process in which to advance their collective aspirations. Their freedom of association was respected.

[7]             Moreover, the judge’s finding that the Province did not consult in good faith was based on legal error and must be set aside. In our opinion, the judge should not have assessed the substantive merit or objective reasonableness of the parties’ negotiating positions. Courts are poorly equipped to make such assessments. What matters in this case is the quality of the consultation process itself and whether it gave teachers a meaningful opportunity to make collective representations (through the BCTF) about their shared workplace goals. We find that it did.

 

The 2014 decision by Judge Griffin can be found here (this is the one that was appealed):

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/14/01/2014BCSC0121cor1.htm

That was a continuation of the 2011 decision, again by Judge Griffin:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/11/04/2011BCSC0469.htm