Bernier Welcomes Teachers’ Vote Result
Prince George, B.C. – British Columbia’s Education Minister is offering his take on the BCTF membership’s overwhelming vote to ratify the agreement that will see the restoration of the working conditions that were unconstitutionally stripped from teachers’ collective agreements by the BC Liberal government.
Education Minister Mike Bernier has released the following statement:
“I am very pleased that teachers have ratified the agreement because working together for student achievement is at the core of ensuring British Columbians can benefit from a strong, growing and diverse economy. The parties had to deal with some very complex issues. The challenge was how to restore nearly 1,400 old clauses across 60 different collective agreements within the context of an education system that evolved dramatically over the past 15 years.
“We have a system today that has far more choice and flexibility for students and parents. There is more diversity in programs and courses. We have a system that is more inclusive of individual student needs. Student outcomes are up across the board and are amongst the best in the world. And we’ve seen dramatically improved outcomes for students with special needs and First Nations students.
“So a key objective was to protect equitable access to learning and build on the significant gains that students have enjoyed. The parties agreed to make the old language work to the extent we can and to continue the dialogue until the next round of bargaining where we can pursue longer-term solutions.
“Teachers will see reduced workloads and will be welcoming thousands of new colleagues into the system over the coming months. And students will benefit from knowing that they have access to the same learning opportunities as before.”
The minister’s statement made no mention of the fact the courts ruled that provincial legislation of 2002 stripping teachers of the right to negotiate class size and composition was unconstitutional and had ordered that contract language covering those areas must be restored.