PGDTA Press Release

PGDTA Press Release Dec 5, 2011

There will be a candlelight rally for our PGDTA members, families and supporters of a strong and stable public education system, on Tuesday December 6, at 6:30 PM at the School Board
Office at 2100 Ferry Avenue.

Tuesday December 6th is the inaugural meeting of the new School Board of Trustees at 7 PM. Prior to this meeting, The Prince George District Teachers’ Association plans to shine the spotlight on conditions in our schools. Our Public Schools need Trustees who will champion a strong and stable education system that meets the needs of every child. Teachers are looking forward to working with our newly elected School Trustees. We also want a collective agreement: that ensures teaching conditions that support all students, that is fair and reasonable and includes salary and benefits with prep time and that provides local solutions for local problems.

Please join us for a brief discussion about public education. We plan to shine the light on the conditions in our schools. We want what is best for students and teachers. Please join us!

Tina Cousins, First Vice-President PGDTA

Teacher Bargaining Update – Labour Board Decision

B.C. teachers can keep drawing full salaries and don’t have to fill out report cards as part of their “controlled strike” during contract talks with the provincial government, a labour tribunal has ruled.

The B.C. Labour Relations Board (LRB) released the ruling late Tuesday in response to a B.C. Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) application in October.

BCPSEA had asked the board to order the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to reimburse the association an amount equal to 15 per cent of the total gross salaries and benefits paid to the province’s 40,000 teachers.


Full text of decision from the Labour Relations board.

Teacher Bargaining Update

The linked documents provide information about the current state of teacher negotiations, specifically regarding information about report cards and the request from BC Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA) that the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) reimburse school districts 15% of teachers’ total gross salaries and benefits costs.

BCPSEA application to labour relations board:


Note – questions asked and answered in this FAQ include:

  • The “cutting pay” contention: Is BCPSEA proposing to dock teachers’ pay?
  • The “I’m still doing my job” contention: Why is BCPSEA asking that boards be
    reimbursed for work that teachers are not performing?
  • The escalation contention: Isn’t the BCPSEA LRB application “…unnecessarily
    throwing fuel onto an already heated situation”?
  • A “flip-flop” or “a deal is a deal” contention: Why is BCPSEA asking the LRB to
    vary the Essential Services Order to require teachers to prepare and distribute
    report cards?
  • The public sector is covered by a compensation mandate. There have been
    compensation mandates in the public sector since the 1990s. How many unions
    and employers have settled under the current mandate to date?

 BCTF Response to BCPEA application to labour relations board:


BCTF background page on bargaining:

BCPSEA background page on bargaining:

Labour Relations board decision on Field trips:


Fascinating document on History of teacher bargaining in BC – “Towards a Better Teacher Bargaining Model in British Columbia”, from 2003:

November Report Cards

The B.C. government has ordered public schools to prepare and distribute report cards this fall as usual, even though they may contain little more than the student’s name and attendance record due to teacher job action.

In an email to school superintendents, deputy education minister James Gorman said regular report cards are required by law and if teachers won’t prepare them, then principals and vice-principals must do so.

“Report cards are an important educational tool for both parents and students,” Gorman writes. “A report is to be issued to every student regardless of the teachers’ strike, indicating at a minimum, the student’s division, teacher(s), courses, attendance and reports and/or grades for any classes taught by administrators.

“Parents should also be provided contact information to follow up directly with the teacher(s) if they wish to do so and to the extent possible.”

School districts are required to provide three written report cards and two informal reports during the school year, the deputy states. “The duties of principals and superintendents remain unchanged by the teachers’ strike.”

Jameel Aziz, president of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, said report cards for the youngest students will be mostly blank because there are no marks in the early grades and reports are anecdotal, which can’t be drafted without teacher involvement.

Professional Development Day – Friday, October 21, 2011

The October 21st professional development is going to be a day away from school from students.

The district calendar shows Non-Instructional Days as follows:
Tuesday, September 6 – Ministry-mandated day (school planning day)
Friday, October 21 – Professional development day (provincial day)
Friday, January 27 – Professional development day (semester turn-around, schools collaboration day)
Friday, February 17 – Professional development day
Friday, March 9 – Professional development day (district day)
Friday, April 27 – Professional development day

While the first non-instructional day was cancelled, the one on October 21st will be going ahead.

Report on BCPSEA Representative Council – Monday, October 3


From the first page:

As you know, BCPSEA held a Representative Council on Monday, October 3 in Vancouver. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on the state of negotiations with the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), hear about the effects of the BCTF Phase 1 strike in districts, and discuss how best to move negotiations forward. Trustees expressed their deep concern about the teacher strike, its negative effect on students, parents and administrative staff, and its potential to carry on indefinitely in its current form. In fact, several local teachers’ union presidents have recently been quoted in various media that the Phase 1 teacher strike “could go on forever.”

This was a very valuable meeting for trustees and for your BCPSEA Board. It is important to hear from each other and share our experiences. We heard that the BCTF strike is having different effects in different districts. We also understand the importance of the local relationship between boards and their local teachers’ unions and how that relationship is being challenged through the BCTF strike action.

After a positive and productive discussion, trustees provided overwhelming support to the BCPSEA Board of Directors to make the necessary decisions regarding the nature and timing of employer response, with the intent of placing counter pressure on the BCTF to get serious at the bargaining table. We also recognize that the support was not unanimous and will reflect on all that we heard. The Board will make thoughtful choices in the coming days and are gratified with the support expressed by trustees for the Board and the bargaining team. We will continue to be diligent in our communications with you as events evolve and will ensure that we provide understanding of any decisions made and the underlying rationale.
It was interesting to note the media and BCTF preoccupation, both before and after our Representative Council, with the notion of a lockout. It’s probably not surprising, though, given that the “controversial” tends to attract the most attention. Although lockout as one of the tools available to an employer under the Labour Relations Code was referenced in our technical discussion paper distributed to boards in preparation for the Representative Council, specific options, including lockout, were not a subject of discussion at the meeting.

We will continue our efforts to properly focus the discussion on the real matters at issue. The BCTF has said the strike is designed to have minimal effect on students, and that the strike is relieving teachers of administrative burdens so they can focus on teaching. That position is disingenuous. Many of the withdrawn duties are fundamental to the teacher–parent–student relationship, including teacher meetings with parents, administering and supervising tests, and assessment and report cards. Strikes, by their very nature, are intended to be disruptive; this strike is disruptive.

BCSPEA paper on job action options

The BC Public School Teacher’s Association has created a report titled “Bargaining, Options, and
Moving Forward”. From the report:

Executive Summary
Bargaining in the K-12 public education sector is never a stand alone exercise. Collective
bargaining in our sector has yielded mixed results in terms of the bargaining process.
There has been a variety of circumstances that have influenced bargaining outcomes.
This round of bargaining is particularly unique in that it has occurred and is affected by
several converging events:

Agreement expires (June 30); initial meetings (March); bargaining process issue, the
provincial–local split of issues; BC Supreme Court ruling (April 13) and a
government–BCTF consultation/reconciliation timeline (referred to as the Bill 28
matter); themes and objectives (May 24) to the first set of proposals (May 31); early
talk of a strike (April-May); 90% strike vote (June 24-28); essential service
designation for Phase 1 of the BCTF multi-phase strike plan (July 26, August 5);
strike notice (August 31) Labour Relations Board; the provincial–local split of issues
and the three decisions of Arbitrator Jackson (August 28, September 2, September
17); BCTF withdraws from the Bill 28 discussions (September 13).

Regardless of the bargaining environment and the converging events identified above,
the goal must always remain a negotiated collective agreement. The purpose of this
paper is to identify processes that, when actioned, can create the necessary reason for
movement on the parties’ respective bargaining agendas.,%20Options,%20and%20Moving%20Forward%20October%203%20Representative%20Council.pdf

PGDTA and teachers in the classroom

Matt Pearce, from the Prince George District Teachers’ Association (PGDTA), stated that if there are any parents who are having difficulty contacting their children’s teacher or teachers to discuss how their child is doing, to please contact the PGDTA. Teachers are being encouraged to communicate with parents, even during the job action.

Matt Pearce –
Tina Cousins –

Terry Fox run & teachers

According to Tuesday’s PG Citizen:

…Prince George and District Teachers Association president Matt Pearce said Thursday that [ongoing job action] won’t stop teachers from helping to organize the runs.

“We don’t have any intention of [impacting] extracurricular activities like the Terry Fox Run,” Pearce said.

Pearce said the only type of fundraising teachers won’t participate in is efforts to specifically raise money for schools.

“A lot of the fundraising that teachers have taken on is to support a system that’s no longer funded to meet those needs anymore,” he said. “For outside things like raising money for charities and food banks and things like that, those activities are going to continue.”


Read more in the Citizen:

Superintendent’s Speaking Notes from September DPAC Meeting

September 12, 2011

District Parent Advisory Council

Superintendent’s Speaking Notes


  1. Welcome and Thank You

We really appreciate your interest, donation of time and expertise in the service of students and school.  You are a valued partner!


  1. Strike or “Job Action”

I have attached the British Columbia Labour Relations Board decision of July 26, 2011.  It is the most complete summary of the situation and guides action of both parties.$2011.pdf

As a district: “We respect the right of the union to engage in labour relations activities.  We expect the union will respect our responsibility for student learning and safety and our right to run the organization.”


We have a well defined concern/dispute resolution process and the union president and superintendent have established a direct communication protocol.


  1. School Organization

Population estimate for the district is 12 800 students (7 200 elem + 5 600 sec).


School start-up has gone very well.  It is usual to see some enrolment fluctuations in individual schools and as a result, class re-organization.


This is also the time of year where we are heavily involved in monitoring class size and composition.


K 1-3 4-7 8-12
Class Size Max. 22 24 30 30
District Class Size Avg. 19 21 28 30


There are many secondary school challenges at this time of year as a result of new registrations and transfers: ie. Course schedule building and student support programming.

  1. District Website

Our website will be updated later this fall.  Improved communication is our goal!

Back to School information regarding strike action, healthy relations, safety, bus safety and nutrition is available on the front page of the district site as well as on each school website.

Superintendent’s blog coming soon!

  1. Government Education Direction

Five areas of focus:

Teacher Excellence

New Teacher Regulation.

New Collective Agreement

Flexibility and Choice


Class composition and allocation of resources.

Learning:  Curriculum and Assessment

More flexible reporting.

Building competences into curriculum.

New performance standards.

New approach to assessment.

Learning:  Technology

Anywhere, anytime access for teachers.

Infrastructure expansion.

Economies of scale.

Accountability and Open Government

New approach to access to data.

New accountability framework.

Greater transparency on our part – post meetings, minutes, and track to enhance awareness for all partners.

** many actions begin immediately – part of a three year programme

** optional provincial exams – now eliminated


The challenge for education today is to educate many more students to much higher levels of accomplishment, in a broad variety of areas, than ever before.                         (Ben Levin, 2011)