Category Archives: job action

More information on BCPSEA application to LRB

Those activities include many that are described as extracurricular — coaching, leading school clubs and supervising camping trips. But the protest has also seen teachers refuse tasks such as filing reports, talking to principals, meeting parents, tutoring students and performing administrative duties, said Hugh Finlayson, chief executive officer of the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

The BCTF insists teachers have the right to quit all voluntary work, which it describes as anything that occurs outside of school bells. The employers say they’re not trying to force individual teachers to continue with work that is truly voluntary, but they insist the union has described extracurricular activities too broadly, in a way that encompasses work that is expected of teachers.

They say the purpose of their application is not to compel teachers to volunteer, but to stop the B.C. Teachers’ Federation from directing its members to withdraw a broad range of duties performed outside classroom hours.

Here is a description of the tasks in dispute (the B.C. Teachers’ Federation describes them as extracurricular; the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association says they are regular duties):

1. Completion of certain reports as requested by administrators, such as ESL reports, ELL reports, resource teacher reports, school based team submissions, interim reports, ‘I’ reports for failing students, district based student assessments, student articulation reports, IB essays, scholarship selection information, and awards nominations;

2. Completion of certain reports or provision of certain information requested by students and/or parents, such as scholarship or award references or recommendations and private school references;

3. Completion of administrative duties related to report cards, such as putting report cards into envelopes, photocopying report cards for placement into student files, and distributing report cards to students;

4. Attendance at and/or participation in certain meetings, including, but not limited to school based team meetings, safety meetings, student services meetings, and some staff meetings;

5. Attendance at parent-teacher interviews and meet the teacher activities;

6. Attendance at certain field trips and student performances, including some field trips and performances with curricular components and student marks attached;

7. Attendance at certain student activities that are scheduled over recess and/or lunch;

8. Participation in meetings with administrative officers;

9. Communication with administrative officers;

10. Participation in school district and school committees;

11. Performance of department head, teacher-in-charge, or head teacher duties;

12. Performance of after-hours training sessions that teachers are paid to conduct;

13. Collection of money from students or participation in fund-raising;

14. Attendance at or participation in certain student award and/or graduation ceremonies;

15. Attendance at or participation in certain student artistic, dramatic, or musical performances;

16. Participation in the coaching, instruction, or supervision of student teams, clubs, groups, or organizations;

17. Participation in student tutorials, homework clubs, and individual help sessions;

18. Participation in student transition activities, kindergarten orientation, Ready, Set,Learn, and other orientation activities; and

19. Participation in department, school, and district planning activities for the next school year.

BCPSEA going to Labour Relations Board over BCTF activity

From the FAQ in the document:

1. What activities are being withdrawn from schools now?
The BCTF and its members are refusing to perform a number of duties and activities on the basis that those duties and activities fall within a definition of “extracurricular/voluntary” that has been adopted by the BCTF Executive. This is a unique definition. The BCTF includes within that category “all activities that occur and/or are organized by teachers outside of instructional hours.” The duties and activities that are being withdrawn are duties/activities regularly and ordinarily performed by teachers as part of their normal work day.
2. Are the activities being withdrawn activities that teachers individually volunteer to do at lunch or after school?
Most teachers’ duties are required to be performed by boards of education, the collective agreement, and/or legislation, regardless of when they are performed (e.g., meetings with principals, parent–teacher conferences, school-based team meetings, student tutorials). Some teachers also perform duties at their individual option, typically outside of the instructional day (e.g., some team coaching or club activities). The BCTF’s direction to withdraw services captures both duties that are clearly and expressly required of all teachers and duties that are performed by some teachers at those teachers’ option.

See also:


Extracurricular updates

The BCTF has released a document for parents on their reasons for withdrawing from extra-curricular activities:

The Vancouver Sun Report Card Blog reported, on the topic of parent volunteers taking over extra-curricular activities:

The Education Ministry says an employee sponsor is not a requirement for insurance coverage under the B.C. Schools Protection Program. “It is common management practice and/or district policy to require an employee sponsor as it’s a practical way to ensure the activity is approved by a school district and that the volunteers are recognized by the school. If districts want to maintain employee-sponsor policies for extracurricular activities, it is their choice but it is not a requirement under the Schools Protection Program,” the ministry said.

Extracurricular activities still hazy

The future of school sports, graduation ceremonies and other end-of-year celebrations was still hazy Monday, as principals and parents scrambled in some schools to replace teachers who are withdrawing from extracurricular activities as part of a provincewide protest.

…Some teachers are taking a tougher position. In Nechako Lakes, for example, a memo from the local union office suggests teachers should refrain from a broad range of activities beyond those normally mentioned, such as coaching sports, organizing theatrical production and overseeing school clubs.

The memo suggests activities to be avoided include: After-hours academic help, parent advisory council meetings, meet-the-teacher activities, First Aid outside of class, philanthropic events, writing reference letters, parent contact beyond report cards, fundraising, spending personal money on school supplies or providing food and clothing for students.

“This list is not complete and this is a draft,” the document states. “Please do not assume that this is an official contractual document.”

…Ann Whiteaker, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said she’s hearing from parents who are angry their children have been caught in a dispute between the union and government. They want to help with extracurricular activities, knowing how valuable they are for students, but don’t want to damage their relationships with teachers, she said.

Parents are also looking ahead to the next school year and wondering if they should plan September events, given that the situation may not change much between now and then, she said.

Teachers vote to withdraw from extra-curricular activities

B.C. teachers have voted 73 per cent in favour of protest action that includes full withdrawal from extracurricular activities, efforts to defeat the Liberal government in the election next year and the possibility of a full strike following another vote at an undetermined time.

B.C. teachers have voted to withdraw from all extracurricular activities as part of their Bill 22 protest. Now everyone’s scrambling to figure out what that means for school sports, Grade 12 graduation ceremonies and other end-of-year celebrations.

Message from BCCPAC

Dear PAC members,

The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils acknowledges the important role you play as PAC chairs and parent leaders in your communities. In an effort to support you and your PAC, BCCPAC is requesting your input, stories, challenges and progress of how job action is affecting your students and schools, specifically extra-curricular or other activities occurring or not occurring in your School as a result of job action and the pending BCTF membership vote on their action plan to refrain from all extra-curricular/voluntary activities. A copy of the action plan that was drafted at the BCTF Annual General Meeting can be found here.  The union’s 41,000 members are expected to vote on April 17 and 18 on this action plan.

The one thing that is clear throughout job action is that the story or issues change frequently and frustrations exist in many arenas which continues to erode school connectedness in the communities our students rely on to support them. Each district and school is handling job action differently from report cards to extra-curricular activities to staff meetings and consultation. Your input will provide us with a more complete picture of what is occurring provincially for parents and students. This information will help frame our continued discussions with the provincial educational partners on the many issues as this dispute continues and by all indications may continue into the next school year. Your input and information is greatly appreciated and valued as we continue to advocate for students and parents at the provincial level through these challenging times.

Some points to consider when providing feedback may be – Are teachers withdrawing services? Which ones? Are parents able to volunteer their services in the absence of teacher volunteers? Do you have policies which impede parent volunteers in these roles? How is this affecting the students in your School? Is your PAC having discussions on what September will look like for extra-curricular activities?   What will your PAC be doing with unspent extracurricular funds previously budgeted?   Is your PAC adjusting their budgets for next year to exclude or reallocate extracurricular spending?

Please forward your comments to subject line “job action”.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to parent involvement and your support of BCCPAC.

In partnership


Ann Whiteaker

BCCPAC President

Report card update

Parents hoping to see their kids’ report cards may have to keep waiting.

There is a lot of uncertainty as to when they’ll formally find out how kids are doing in school. Many teachers haven’t done report cards yet, but their employer wants them right now.

The Labour Relations Board will determine on Monday if the teachers’ refusal to produce official grades is considered illegal strike action under Bill 22. But Anne Whiteaker with the Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is hopeful parents will get the information in the next two weeks.

She tells us parents understand there’s a backlog of work and filling out report cards takes time. So, for the most part, many aren’t frustrated.

“We’ll hear grumblings after the timeline, if they don’t receive report cards. But at this point, I think they are being patient,” says Whiteaker.

Information – BCTF Bill 22 Action Plan

Bill 22 Action Plan

That the BCTF Bill 22 Action Plan be as follows:

That for the period April–June 2012 members will engage in a resistance strategy to oppose Bill 22, and:

a. teach.
b. not participate in any BC Ministry of Education initiatives.
c. continue with the activities of not participating in meetings with, or accepting written communications from AOs.
d. refrain from all extra-curricular/voluntary activities.
e. agree to write a single year-end report card for each student this year.
f. launch a public campaign (including advertising, public meetings, and print materials) to educate about the impact of Bill 22, and mobilize opposition to it around the province.
g. hold a province-wide vote of members to support a full withdrawal of services commencing on a date as determined by the Executive Committee.
h. undertake other actions decided by the membership in each local, such as holding weekly union meetings or not participating in district committees.
i. work local-by-local, and as a collective, to motivate the membership to prepare for the May 2013 provincial election to bring in a new government that will repeal Bill 22.

That, as per Procedure 25.A.06, a province-wide membership vote be held on April 17 and 18 to implement the Bill 22 Action Plan.

That the Executive Committee and Representative Assembly be authorized to amend the Bill 22 Action Plan upon review of progress, and consider additional province-wide membership votes as necessary with accompanying legal advice for members.

That a Special Representative Assembly be scheduled for August 2012 to evaluate and make additional decisions to support the implementation of a Province-Wide Year of Action.

BCPSEA update – “Cooling Off Period” and Return to Normal Operations

“Cooling Off Period” and Return to Normal Operations
From an update posted on the BCPSEA website:

We are receiving reports from school districts regarding information they have been provided outlining the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and some local teacher associations’ “plans for action” in their opposition to the Education Improvement Act (the Act).

Some of the items in these plans appear contradictory to the “cooling-off” period required by the Act that could interfere with the return of schools to their normal operations. Districts are also hearing that many teachers are expressing confusion about what is expected of them during this time. BCPSEA will be monitoring this situation and working with districts over the coming weeks.

With the cooling-off period and the 2006-2011 collective agreement currently in effect, teachers must resume any activities that were a normal requirement of the job. The two issues that appear to be of most urgent concern to districts are the preparation of spring report cards and participation of teachers in meetings called by administrators. Our recommendations at this time regarding these matters are outlined below.

Spring Report Cards
During the strike teachers were required to continue to perform assessment, evaluation, and marking. Now that the strike is concluded, school districts are entitled to direct teachers to enter marks in the normal manner and to prepare and distribute report cards, and teachers who are directed to do so must comply with those directions. An individual refusal to perform such work would be failure to follow a lawful order and be subject to discipline; concerted refusal to do such work would constitute an illegal strike.

Districts have reported that they are being told by some teachers that they have been instructed by their union not to do certain work because it is “struck work”; i.e., work that they were entitled to refuse to do under their Phase 1 strike activity. There is no concept of “struck work” in this context that would allow teachers to continue to refuse to prepare report cards even after the lawful strike has concluded. “Struck work” is a concept that is sometimes applied in a situation where a union is currently on strike and others are asked to do the work of the striking union. It is not a concept that is applied to ongoing work when a union is no longer on strike and its members are resuming their normal duties.

Simply put, when a strike is over, employees are required to resume normal duties and there is no recognized exemption for work that may have accumulated during the strike. If such a concept existed, then health care union members could refuse to do surgery on patients who, but for the strike, would have had an operation performed at an earlier time; or a construction crew could refuse to build a particular floor in a building, etc. In the context of returning to normal duties after a strike has ended, the refusal to do such activities constitutes an unlawful continuation of strike activity if the refusal is concerted, and may also appropriately attract discipline.

Districts have also heard from some local teachers’ associations that the district is now precluded from issuing a report card until the end of the year as “two report cards” have either been distributed (in November) or were “cancelled” by the Ministry of Education (in January). It is BCPSEA’s opinion that this is simply incorrect and, in any event, the School Act speaks to a minimum of three formal reports and does not limit districts from determining that additional reports are necessary.

Prior to directing teachers to prepare and distribute report cards, we recommend that districts speak to their local teachers’ association to discuss the district’s expectations about the contents of the report card (e.g., will the current report card reflect all progress and/or the cumulative grade from September to the current date or will separate entries be made for September to November and November to April) and the timing of this report card. It will also be necessary to provide sufficient time for teachers to prepare the report cards. We recommend that districts follow up on such discussions with a letter to the local teachers’ association that clearly outlines the district’s expectations regarding a Spring report card.

For example, districts may require the following:
Elementary Students: A report card will be issued on [date]. That report card will reflect the student’s progress from September to April.

Middle School and Secondary Students:
Linear timetable: A report card will be issued on [date]. That report card will contain [all progress and the cumulative grade from September to April or separate entries for progress and grades from September to November and November to April].

Semester timetable: A report card will be issued on [date], which will contain the first semester final mark and the student’s semester two progress and grade from January to April.

Quarter system: A report card will be issued on [date], which will reflect all progress and the student’s grades from September to April.

BCPSEA is hopeful that teachers will recognize the importance of this reporting for parents, students, other teachers, and administrators to be able to properly support children in the successful completion of this school year. Please inform us if there are refusals by teachers to comply with instructions regarding report cards. It may be necessary for districts to issue further directions and/or follow-up appropriately on refusals.

Meetings Called by Administrators
Some districts have reported that they are hearing that teachers will not attend staff, committee, or parent meetings outside of instructional time and/or that teachers will not attend meetings with administrators unless they are given written direction to do so. In fact, administrators may set staff and other meetings outside of instructional time, except as limited by the collective agreement and there is no requirement for written directions to be issued for setting up these meetings. Teachers are not permitted to refuse to attend meetings outside of instructional time if they are normally required by the job, and they cannot refuse to meet with administrators except as provided in the collective agreement.

We suggest that administrators begin to schedule staff and committee meetings to meet the needs of the students, teachers, and the school and inform teachers of the nature, agendas, and time of those meetings in the normal manner. Given that many of these meetings have not occurred this school year, it may be necessary to remind teachers about the specific purposes, timing, agendas, and procedures for the particular meetings. If teachers specifically refuse to attend meetings, it may be necessary for districts to issue further directions and/or follow up appropriately on refusals.

BCPSEA will work with districts and liaise with the BCTF over the next few weeks. It is important that regular routines are re-established reasonably soon, but a cooperative approach to this process is preferred.