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

Repairs underway to West Kelowna road after flood damage

A portion of Lower Glenrosa Road will be closed until at least Monday says the city

Rally in Kelowna to protest pipeline

Forty people gather outside MP’s office to protest Trans Mountain pipeline project

Protect the Water rally today in Kelowna

The rally will be held at No. 102 – 1420 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Feature Friday: Is the sky the limit for downtown Kelowna construction?

City building up, not out, as high rise living becomes more popular

Free theatre performance for Lake Country families

Robinson Crusoe + Friday will be performed at Creekside Theatre April 14

What’s happening

Find out which events are taking place in the Okanagan and Shuswap this weekend

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read