Striking teachers are joined by other union members and NDP MLAs in a rally at the B.C. legislature in 2012.

B.C. government wins appeal on class size

BCTF president Jim Iker says union will pay back $2 million, attempt to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the B.C. government on the long-running dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation over the removal of class size and special needs support formulas from classrooms.

In a lengthy judgment released Thursday, four of five appeal court judges found that the province did not infringe on the constitutional rights of teachers to bargain working conditions. The appeal court pointed out numerous errors in a pair of judgments by B.C. Supreme Court justice Susan Griffin, and overturned her order that the government pay $2 million in damages to the union.

BCTF president Jim Iker said the decision is “very disappointing.” The union will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in its bid to restore classroom rules the government removed from its contract in 2002. He said the union will repay the $2 million the government paid after last year’s decision.

“All teachers are looking for is workable and teachable classrooms,” Iker said.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the changes made to classroom organization in the disputed period have led to “dramatic improvements in student outcomes, particularly for students with special needs.”

The B.C. education ministry has argued that caps on class size and number of students in each class with personalized learning plans were unduly restrictive.

The NDP government of the late 1990s negotiated a settlement where the BCTF gave up salary increases in exchange for class size caps, specialist teacher levels and limits on the number of designated special needs students in each class.

The decision leaves in place efforts by the government to settle the bitter dispute, including a provision in the current contract to pay $105 million to the union to retire thousands of grievances filed over class size and composition.

The six-year agreement signed last fall also includes additional preparation time and a “learning improvement fund” to deal with special needs support.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Conservation officers relocate two grizzlies away from Bella Coola

Officers worried the bears would become reliant on human food sources

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Explosives, firearms recovered from weekend standoff in Hagensborg

A high stakes standoff ended peacefully last Friday when single male was arrested without incident

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

Most Read