Chronology of education legislation and actions by the BC Liberal government since 2001
Description and impact of legislation and actions
August 9, 2001 (3rd Reading)
Bill 8 – Protection of Parent Volunteers Amendment Act, 2001
Authorizes parents to be volunteers at schools. (Source: B.C. Legislative Digest)
Undermined collective agreement provisions that differentiated between support staff roles and volunteers. The legislation was used to imply that volunteers were not welcome when in fact teachers encourage parents to be involved in schools. It was an attempt to create division between parents and teachers.
August 16, 2001 (3rd Reading)
Bill 18 – Skills Development and Labour Statutes Amendment Act, 2001
Makes education an essential service under the Labour Relations Code. (Source: B.C. Legislative Digest)
Limited teachers’ bargaining rights. The Liberals did not repeal the law despite a ruling by the International Labour Organization that declared their legislation to be in violation of international labour conventions.
October 3, 2001
Liberals announce they intend to freeze public education funding until 2004.
Liberals broke their campaign promise to protect education funding. Downloaded significant additional costs onto school boards, thus creating a total funding shortfall of over $300 million.
Resulted in cuts to programs and services for students, closure of 113 public schools, loss of over 2,500 teaching positions, fewer specialist teachers, and introduction of the four-day week in some areas.
November 23, 2001
B.C. unions challenge Liberals’ labour laws at the International Labour Organization.
Unions representing teachers, school support workers, health care workers, and nurses in British Columbia filed a formal complaint against the provincial government with the International Labour Organization. The unions asserted that Bills 15 and 18, the laws that imposed the nurses’ contract and made education an “essential service,” are contrary to Canada’s obligations under international labour standards.
In March 2003, the International Labour Organization ruled that six pieces of legislation imposed by the B.C. Liberals violate international agreements. As the United Nations agency responsible for upholding global labour standards, the ILO urged the Campbell government to repeal the law that made education an essential service, and to rewrite five other bills to bring them into accord with our obligations under UN conventions.
The B.C. Liberal government dismissed the ruling. Premier Gordon Campbell says he feels "no pressure whatsoever" to bring our province into compliance with an international convention to which we are signatory.