Teacher job action updates – Fact Finder appointed


February 9 – Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government Minister Margaret MacDiarmid has instructed the assistant deputy minister of industrial relations to report on the likelihood of a negotiated settlement between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

The minister appointed Trevor Hughes to inquire into the dispute in response to a request from Education Minister George Abbott. Hughes has been with the labour ministry since October 2008 after gaining 16 years of direct collective bargaining and labour relations experience in the broader public sector. The industrial relations division of the ministry monitors and, when requested, offers assistance in collective bargaining disputes that impact the public interest.

Hughes will meet with the parties over the next two weeks and provide a report to MacDiarmid by Thursday, Feb. 23.


Letter from BCPSEA to BCTF, February 8, 2012 regarding bargaining


BCTF Reaction:


PGDTA available for PACs

At last night’s DPAC meeting, the Prince George District Teacher’s Association  (PGDTA) stated that if any parents would like the representatives from the Prince George District Teacher’s Association to come to their PAC meeting, they are very willing. Representatives would like to aswer any questions and give the latest information on teacher barganing.

Contact for PGDTA – 250-562-7214

  • Matt Pearce, President, mpearce@sd57.bc.ca
  • Tina Cousins, First VP, tcousins@sd57.bc.ca

As previously posted, if any parents have had any difficulty in finding out how their child is doing in school, then do contact the PGDTA and they can assist you.

Grade 12 Marks

… Glen Hansman, vice president of the B.C. Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) … said the job action was specifically designed to not impact graduating students.

“For Grade 12 students we will be providing marks required for graduation, post-secondary applications and scholarship purposes,” he said. “The (B.C.) Labour Relations Board and the BCTF agreed what the job action would be with the agreement that Grade 12 marks for post-secondary applications and scholarship applications, that data would be provided.”

The job action began five months ago when B.C.’s teachers began the semester while in the midst of bargaining with the Province over class conditions, salaries and benefits. Since September, students have gone without report cards, as part of the teachers’ job action includes not issuing the end-of-semester reports.

But when it comes to Grade 12 students and the transcripts they need for post-secondary and scholarship applications, parents and students are being assured that the job action will have no affect on those processes.

In the end, McCullough would like to get the word out that when the time comes to get transcripts for anything post-secondary related, students and parents should simply speak with the school’s counsellor or principal.

“Part of this job action has been clear that Grade 12 students will not be interfered with,” said McCullough.




Report Card Update

Parents should be receiving reports on how students are doing in at least two different ways, during the teacher job action.

The district will be sending formal progress reports home by December 9th, as they are required to do by the Ministry of Education and the School Act:

For most students, these report cards will only have attendance information on them. Students in grade 12 should be receiving more information.

Teachers are also reporting to parents in a variety of different ways. At a recent DPAC meeting, all parents present were pleased with the communication they had had from their children’s teachers.

The Prince George District Teachers Association (PGDTA) has asked that if any parents have not heard back from their child’s teacher, to let them know and they can help make that discussion happen.

Contact information for the PGDTA can be found here:

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.