Jump to content
The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks
Canucks Community

B.C. must pay $2M to teachers over class-size court battle


Heretic

Recommended Posts

Thank you.

About time this was settled.

Taxpayers can thank Christy Clark and the Liberals for this mess.

The K-12 education in BC is close to if not the worst in all of Canada thanks to all of the cut backs.

An entire generation of children has been affected by this.

VANCOUVER -- A judge has ruled that the British Columbia government was so hung up on provoking its public school teachers into strike action that it failed to negotiate in good faith, costing the province $2 million in damages.

In a 12-year battle over legislation that eliminated teachers' rights to bargain on issues such as class size and composition, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has concluded -- for the second time -- that the law is unconstitutional.

Justice Susan Griffin said in a 115-page ruling released on Monday that the government didn't bargain in good faith with the BC Teachers' Federation after a court decision struck down the legislation, Bill 28, in 2011.

"One of the problems was that the government representatives were pre-occupied by another strategy," Griffin wrote.

"Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike by the union. The government representative thought this would give government the opportunity to gain political support for imposing legislation on the union."

The judge said that the government's extension of legislation that was already declared unconstitutional was so "fundamentally unfair" that awarding damages of $2 million against it is warranted.

But Education Minister Peter Fassbender denied wanting to goad teachers into a strike, saying the government is focused on students and long-term stability in schools.

"Those kinds of comments just inflame the situation," he told reporters. "The reality is every meeting I've had with the BCTF, it has been about finding collaboration and co-operation."

Fassbender said the government will be reviewing the court decision, and it is too early to make any statements about a possible appeal.

"As government, we're disappointed in the ruling, but what we need to do is to sit down and look at the implications," he said. "We're really concerned about student outcomes and that's where our focus has been and that's where it's going to continue to be."

Opposition New Democrat education critic Rob Fleming said the ruling hurts the government's credibility on its education agenda.

In 2002, Bill 28 removed issues such as class size and class composition from the teachers' collective agreement. It also stripped their rights to negotiate them in the future.

In April 2011, Griffin ruled the legislation was unconstitutional and gave the government a year to address the repercussions of the ruling.

The government did not repeal the legislation, but instead enacted "virtually identical legislation" after the 12-month period expired, Griffin said in the most recent ruling.

The new legislation, Bill 22, still eliminated class size and composition from the contract and prohibited teachers from bargaining those terms, but the prohibition would expire by June 30, 2013.

The law sparked a three-day walkout by teachers in March 2012, and also prompted the federation to return to court last September.

The government, in its defence, said the new legislation is valid because of its time-limited nature, and because it negotiated with the union in good faith before enacting the new rules.

But Griffin found Bill 22 just as unconstitutional as Bill 28.

"The court concludes that there is no basis for distinguishing the new legislation from the previous findings of this court," she said.

Griffin also wrote in her decision that the negotiations that took place between the province's team and union representatives were "largely a waste of time."

The government's team, led by former president and CEO of the Public Sector Employers' Council Paul Straszak, believed the legislation was legitimate, just that it had failed to consult with the union prior to introducing it. It thought all that was needed to make the legislation constitutional was consultation -- a conclusion condemned by Griffin as incorrect.

"A party cannot say it is consulting if it starts from the position that its mind is made up no matter what the other side presents by way of evidence or concerns," she said.

The decision means terms such as class size and class composition are retroactively restored to the terms of the contract and can be the subject of future bargaining.

BCTF president Jim Iker called Monday's ruling a triumph for teachers who have fought long and hard against a law that shortchanged a generation of children in B.C.

"These kids have gone to school in larger classes, and they've had less access to specialists like learning assistance teachers ... and special education resource teachers," he told reporters.

"Their entire education, 12 full years, has been in an era of cutbacks, reduced services and underfunding."

Iker said he expects the province to respect the court's ruling and bargain in good faith from now on.

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-must-pay-2m-to-teachers-over-class-size-court-battle-1.1658562

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, hopefully, the Liberals will be shamed enough to do something about this besides appealing it to the next level.

hahaha Thanks for the laugh. This is not the first or second time they've been sued by the bctf and they lose everytime. Total and colossal waste of money but they do it on purpose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not surprising that the court ruled in favour of the teachers when it is the SAME judge, Susan Griffin, that ruled in favour of the teacher in a earlier court decision that overturn the ripping up of contracts. I question the impartiality of judges who have personal biases. If I was the government I would appeal the decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not surprising that the court ruled in favour of the teachers when it is the SAME judge, Susan Griffin, that ruled in favour of the teacher in a earlier court decision that overturn the ripping up of contracts. I question the impartiality of judges who have personal biases. If I was the government I would appeal the decision.

What gives you the impression the judge is biased?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not surprising that the court ruled in favour of the teachers when it is the SAME judge, Susan Griffin, that ruled in favour of the teacher in a earlier court decision that overturn the ripping up of contracts. I question the impartiality of judges who have personal biases. If I was the government I would appeal the decision.

Appeal for what? That BC is only the 2nd worst province for education and not the worst?

Doesn't matter who the judge is - the result is the same.

Over crowded classrooms and lack of funding is what the Liberals/Christy did to this Province.

The teachers didn't do that.

BTW: Since 2002, more than 200 public schools in BC have been closed. This number of closures in such a narrow space of time is unprecedented in our province’s public school history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the government lost their court case versus the HEU due to not bargaining in good faith

lost to the teachers for not bargaining properly and the bcfmwu (ferry workers) court case is slowly making it's way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

I'm starting to see a pattern here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Appeal for what? That BC is only the 2nd worst province for education and not the worst?

Doesn't matter who the judge is - the result is the same.

Over crowded classrooms and lack of funding is what the Liberals/Christy did to this Province.

The teachers didn't do that.

BTW: Since 2002, more than 200 public schools in BC have been closed. This number of closures in such a narrow space of time is unprecedented in our province’s public school history.

That's not entirely true. Both sides are at fault for basically ruining our education system.

Until both sides are willing to actually start from scratch, compromise and create a modern, properly functioning education system and pull their heels out of their dug in positions designed to "screw" the other side, the education system will continue to be a mess regardless of political parties etc at the expense of our children's education and our society as a whole.

Also the simplistic "school closures" argument is not the problem and is highly reductive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's not entirely true. Both sides are at fault for basically ruining our education system.

Until both sides are willing to actually start from scratch, compromise and create a modern, properly functioning education system and pull their heels out of their dug in positions designed to "screw" the other side, the education system will continue to be a mess regardless of political parties etc at the expense of our children's education and our society as a whole.

Also the simplistic "school closures" argument is not the problem and is highly reductive.

How are the teachers at fault for crowded classrooms and lack of funding?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's not entirely true. Both sides are at fault for basically ruining our education system.

Until both sides are willing to actually start from scratch, compromise and create a modern, properly functioning education system and pull their heels out of their dug in positions designed to "screw" the other side, the education system will continue to be a mess regardless of political parties etc at the expense of our children's education and our society as a whole.

I agree the BCTF is horrible, but it was the Liberals and Clark specifically who did this. This is at least the third time the teachers have had to sue the government because they negotiate in bad faith and break their own contracts. Each time they sue they win. The Liberals know what they are doing is illegal and do it anyway as it makes the teachers look bad. They know it will get bogged down in the courts for years but it's worth it. It's a total waste of money to have to sue your own government because they tore up the contract they signed.

Class composition is they key thing here, the thing teachers have really been arguing for. Basically for each kid identified as special needs of whatever type counts for 2 kids. So if your class size is 30 and you have 2 special needs kids your class size should actually be 28. Now, it is common for classrooms to have 5 or more kids with needs but the class size is still 30. Couple that with ongoing cuts to assistants/other specialists and we wonder why teaching quality drops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How are the teachers at fault for crowded classrooms and lack of funding?

Because it's not as simple as "da evil govermentz cut our fundingzzz and make big classezzzz!".

The entire system is broken and needs an overhaul from the ground up. That includes things teachers are at fault for as well as the government.

We need FAR less school districts for example. A greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Interior, Coastal and Northern district give or take a few, would clear up a TON of redundancy and expensive, not necessary bureaucratic jobs that would mean more funding going to actual teachers and kids.

Actual teacher performance reviews and the ability to clear out both bad and old "retired" teachers would clear up further funding AND open up job spaces for the thousands of qualified, energetic (and cheaper) young teachers looking for work. Win, win.

That's just two of the larger examples of things the teacher's union has a death grip on that need to be fixed before we can fix the system. This isn't JUST an "evil" government problem. BOTH parties are at fault for the sad state of the system.

I agree the BCTF is horrible, but it was the Liberals and Clark specifically who did this. This is at least the third time the teachers have had to sue the government because they negotiate in bad faith and break their own contracts. Each time they sue they win. The Liberals know what they are doing is illegal and do it anyway as it makes the teachers look bad. They know it will get bogged down in the courts for years but it's worth it. It's a total waste of money to have to sue your own government because they tore up the contract they signed.

Class composition is they key thing here, the thing teachers have really been arguing for. Basically for each kid identified as special needs of whatever type counts for 2 kids. So if your class size is 30 and you have 2 special needs kids your class size should actually be 28. Now, it is common for classrooms to have 5 or more kids with needs but the class size is still 30. Couple that with ongoing cuts to assistants/other specialists and we wonder why teaching quality drops.

Fully aware. Like I said BOTH parties are full of self-serving scumbags and it's our kids and our society who pay the price for their shortsightedness and the public's unwillingness to not hold them both accountable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Far fewer school districts? ;)

I take your point, I guess my point is don't lump teachers in with the BCTF. They just want to do their jobs. But if I had to regularly sue my employer just to get them to do not only what they are contractually obligated to do but what they claim was negotiated in good faith...well, that makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Far fewer school districts? ;)

I take your point, I guess my point is don't lump teachers in with the BCTF. They just want to do their jobs. But if I had to regularly sue my employer just to get them to do not only what they are contractually obligated to do but what they claim was negotiated in good faith...well, that makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

Those same teachers elect the head of their union, the BCTF, to speak on their behalf.

And yes, fewer...lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those same teachers elect the head of their union, the BCTF, to speak on their behalf.

And yes, fewer...lol

True, but not all vote nor all vote for whomever is elected.

Just like not everyone voted Liberal.

Yes, I agree, the system is a mess.

As far as larger but fewer districts - how about the same for government?

Anyways, that won't work very well - example, look at Teachers On Call.

Let us go with your "Interior District".

So, my wife is now in the "Interior" district instead of SD22 (Vernon) and receives a call @ 7Am "Mr's Heretic, can you please TOC our class in Cranbrook?"

My wife " sure, I'll be there in 5 hours and 52 minutes".

My wife has taught in 5 provinces now, BC being the latest and by far the worst in her opinion as far as resources, class sizes, teacher's pay, etc.

Sorry, that's not the teacher's fault. Blaming the union is a cop out - they don't run it. It's the government. Yes, I think the BCTF is waste as well - but they aren't the reason the education in BC has been sucking for 12 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True, but not all vote nor all vote for whomever is elected.

Just like not everyone voted Liberal.

Yes, I agree, the system is a mess.

As far as larger but fewer districts - how about the same for government?

Anyways, that won't work very well - example, look at Teachers On Call.

Let us go with your "Interior District".

So, my wife is now in the "Interior" district instead of SD22 (Vernon) and receives a call @ 7Am "Mr's Heretic, can you please TOC our class in Cranbrook?"

My wife " sure, I'll be there in 5 hours and 52 minutes".

My wife has taught in 5 provinces now, BC being the latest and by far the worst in her opinion as far as resources, class sizes, teacher's pay, etc.

Sorry, that's not the teacher's fault. Blaming the union is a cop out - they don't run it. It's the government. Yes, I think the BCTF is waste as well - but they aren't the reason the education in BC has been sucking for 12 years.

Never said "all teachers". That's how elections work...the majority chose the message they want to send to the government and people of this province. The majority are sending a crappy message.

You honestly don't see a work around for that point? Pretty sure teachers are smart enough to work out how to get TOC's within a large district to schools within a reasonable distance.

They're not the reason it's not sucking either. "Be the change you wish to see." "Be a part of the solution, not the problem." You can't sit there and solely blame the government with a straight face and not recognize the BCTF's role in the failure of the system. It takes two to tango and both parties have two left feet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never said "all teachers". That's how elections work...the majority chose the message they want to send to the government and people of this province. The majority are sending a crappy message.

You honestly don't see a work around for that point? Pretty sure teachers are smart enough to work out how to get TOC's within a large district to schools within a reasonable distance.

They're not the reason it's not sucking either. "Be the change you wish to see." "Be a part of the solution, not the problem." You can't sit there and solely blame the government with a straight face and not recognize the BCTF's role in the failure of the system. It takes two to tango and both parties have two left feet.

I guess for me it's the issue of having to sue your employer just to get them to do what they said they would. However bad the BCTF is for this or that, it's disgusting that you have to sue your employer, repeatedly. And now we're heading into more negotiations where they Province has already said they are going to impose a 10 year contract...it's a recipe for utter failure on the part of the Province.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never said "all teachers". That's how elections work...the majority chose the message they want to send to the government and people of this province. The majority are sending a crappy message.

You honestly don't see a work around for that point? Pretty sure teachers are smart enough to work out how to get TOC's within a large district to schools within a reasonable distance.

They're not the reason it's not sucking either. "Be the change you wish to see." "Be a part of the solution, not the problem." You can't sit there and solely blame the government with a straight face and not recognize the BCTF's role in the failure of the system. It takes two to tango and both parties have two left feet.

Tell me again how the BCTF or the Teachers or both played a role in fewer schools and larger class sizes and while we're at it, less technology and resources than other provinces as well as less Teacher's Aids (for helping with special needs)?

You can NOT change that which you can NOT control.

Something like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...