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December 7, 2016

  1. Important updates on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision
  2. Apply to be a BCTF representative on the British Columbia Teachers’ Council
  3. New BC Federation of Labour campaign, Together for BC
  4. CIVIX Canada launches program to help students engage in government budget setting
  5. Canada Games Activity Challenge

Important updates on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision

A message from the BCTF's Full-Time Table Officers: Glen Hansman, Teri Mooring, and Clint Johnston.

For a full week we have been meeting with representatives of the government and the BC Public School Employer's Association (BCPSEA). There have now been five meetings, with the parties together again today. The purpose of these discussions is to move forward on implementation of our restored language, in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada ruling. Your local will have provided you a copy of the language for your local, or will be soon. Please discuss it with your BCTF colleagues on your school staff.

The BCTF is pushing to get that language-and those supports for our students-implemented quickly. With a $2.24 billion surplus, the government has the financial capacity to get the job done.

The employer has asked superintendents across the province to do the calculations needed to determine where districts are falling short of the restored language. They have also stated a willingness to improve teaching and learning conditions “sooner, rather than later.” We are working on what that means in practice.

We have consistently said that this shouldn't be a long, drawn-out process. Teachers and students have waited long enough for our classroom conditions to be improved. By the end of January 2017, it will have been 15 years since the language was unconstitutionally stripped and five years since our first court victory. Tangible improvements in BC schools are long overdue.

As Justice Ian Donald wrote in his BC Court of Appeal dissent: “... allowing the Working Conditions to remain deleted would force teachers to continue to suffer from unconstitutional government action and legislation.” That's why he wrote that our working conditions language should be reinstated “immediately.”  We're optimistic that we can make that happen and determined to bring real improvements to our schools.

Over the last few weeks, we have heard Premier Clark say she is “excited” about improving working and learning conditions in our schools as a result of our court win. Over the next two weeks, it's important that teachers talk to parents and reach out to their MLAs. Let them know about the difference our restored language would mean for your work with your students. Talk to them about the impact smaller classes would have, the difference more specialists like teacher-librarians, counsellors, and special education teachers would make, and what faster diagnostic assessments would mean for kids.

When it comes to provincial government policy, teachers have freedom of expression. Let's use that right. Tell your students' parents what is going on in your classroom and how a quick implementation of our court win would help you as a teacher and the students in your school!

The two parties have agreed to meet again on Friday and have more dates set for next week. As these meetings continue, let's keep the public advocacy going! 

Apply to be a BCTF representative on the British Columbia Teachers’ Council

There is currently a 3-year term vacancy on the BC Teachers' Council to start in April 2017. The council is the body that establishes the standards for the education, competence, and professional conduct required of applicants and educators in BC, sets teacher education program approval standards, and determines if teacher education programs meet these standards. The spot available is one of three positions nominated by the BCTF. To be eligible, applicants must be a certificate holder, BCTF member, and reside in BC. Applicants must also provide consent, in writing, to be nominated and have willingness to serve on the council. The successful nominee will also be required to take and sign an oath of office.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. To apply send a completed curriculum vitae form to Chris Stewart, Director, Professional and Social Issues Division.

New BC Federation of Labour campaign, Together for BC

bcfed adAt its convention last week, the BC Federation of Labour launched its new election-focused campaign Together for BC. The campaign raises concerns about the government's record of putting the interests of insiders ahead of working people and highlights issues around precarious jobs, stagnant wages, rising costs, and attacks on important public services like education and health care. Through this campaign, the BCFED is calling for change and for union members to get engaged over the next six months leading up to the election in May 2017.

The kick off piece of the campaign is a brand new 30-second ad you can view and share with your friends, family, and networks.

It's a strong message for a better BC with a strong economy based on good jobs, good wages, as well as investment in key public services like health care, education, affordable child care, and better support for seniors.

CIVIX Canada launches program to help students engage in government budget setting

CIVIX Canada, the organization that runs Student Vote, has launched a Student Budget Consultation to provide youth with an opportunity to learn about the workings of government, discuss important issues facing the country, and offer their insights on the priorities of the upcoming federal budget. To facilitate the learning and debate, CIVIX Canada created a variety of resource materials, including a series of animated videos explaining the federal government's revenues and expenditures, interviews with experts and pundits, and representatives from the federal political parties. Lessons, worksheets, and slide decks are also available to guide students through the phases of the project.

The program should take between two to three classes and the consultation survey may be completed anytime up to the end of December. Already more than 340 schools have registered and we expect more than 5,000 students to participate from across Canada and share their opinions with the Department of Finance.

Classes can register now by visiting http://studentvote.ca/sbc/. As always, the program and non-partisan resources are offered free to schools.

Canada Games Activity Challenge

With a 50-year history of inspiring dreams and building champions amongst young Canadian athletes, the Canada Games is celebrating with a fun, interactive physical literacy app and mobile site: The Canada Games Activity Challenge. The CGAC app supports habit-forming behaviour through participation in physical activity every day. The program will launch in schools in February 2017, but teachers can sign up their class today: canadagames.ca/activitychallenge.


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