Supreme Court rules in favour of teachers

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the BC Teachers Federation regarding the stripping of contract language in 2002.

  • Nov. 16, 2016 11:00 a.m.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of the BC Teachers Federation regarding the stripping of contract language in 2002.

“It was a great surprise to hear an award so quickly,” said Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association president Shawn Gough. “We were expecting the ruling to take several months, but the justices gave a verbal decision from the bench only hours after hearing the case this morning.”

It was the then education minister, Christy Clark, who instructed the removal of all language around class size and class composition from the 60 local collective agreements 15 years ago, in order to create more ‘flexibility’ in the public education system.

The courts have ruled three times, including the Nov. 10 ruling, in favour of the BCTF that those strips were unconstitutional, and that government did not consult or negotiate fairly with the union.

The government has also been found guilty of trying to provoke a teachers’ strike.

“This is vindication for teachers and their supporters who have tirelessly fought to restore class size and composition language to the Collective Agreement, and who have been advocating for the needs of all our students,” Gough added. “Today is a win for all students and teachers, and for unionized labour,” he said.

“We look forward to the restoration of the stripped language and a much needed infusion of funding to the public education system.”


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