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March 22, 2017

  1. Highlights from the 101st BCTF Annual General Meeting
  2. New BCTF ad campaign targets BC Liberal record
  3. BCTF presses for more recruitment and retention resources and strategies
  4. Important information about the Teacher Regulation Branch

Highlights from the 101st BCTF Annual General Meeting

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At the 101st BC Teachers' Federation Annual General Meeting (AGM), Glen Hansman of Vancouver Elementary was re-elected for a second one-year term as President. In addition, First Vice-President Teri Mooring from Quesnel and Second Vice-President Clint Johnston from Chilliwack were also re-elected to continue in their respective positions. 

Elected to serve as Members-at-Large on the BCTF Executive Committee were:   
Rory Brown, Vancouver Secondary
Rae Figursky, Burnaby
Shawn Gough, Vancouver Island North
Carolyn Pena, North Vancouver
Jody Polukoshko, Vancouver Elementary

They join current Members-at-Large Carole Gordon from Central Okanagan, Kip Wood from Nanaimo, and Robin Tosczak from Victoria.

Delegates at the Annual General Meeting carried numerous motions related to recruitment and retention, privacy of student information, and appropriate use of technology in schools, as well as a statement of principles on protecting rights of transgender students and teachers. 

The AGM also carried structural changes to the provincial Executive Committee that will take effect at next year's meeting: designated equity seats have been created for members self-identifying as Aboriginal and as racialized. 

The creation of these two Executive Committee spaces came two days before the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As BC Federation of Labour and former BCTF President Irene Lanzinger said marking this important day, “We need to make space for people of colour in our unions and governing bodies. Through inclusion we can hear the stories of people of colour, and learn from them what strategies to use to tackle racism in our society.”

Our Federation took an important step in that direction at this Annual General Meeting and will keep working hard to improve equity and inclusion in our union, schools, and communities. 

New BCTF ad campaign targets BC Liberal record

SameerThis week, the BCTF launched a new ad campaign with a commercial on television and social media. The ad is the first part of the BCTF's campaign leading up to the provincial election and the period when school district budgets will be set for the coming school year. It can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube

“On May 9, we're asking British Columbians, especially teachers and parents, to vote for candidates who can be trusted to put BC kids and their education first,” said BCTF President Glen Hansman at the campaign launch. “For 15 years, our schools and our students have been short-changed by government underfunding. An entire generation of BC kids lost out because of Christy Clark's unconstitutional legislation that stripped teachers' working conditions from our collective agreements.”

The BCTF's campaign also puts pressure on the BC Liberal government to follow through on its commitment to fully fund the costs of restoring teachers' working conditions. “After 15 years of waiting, BC students and teachers are finally on the verge of getting the smaller classes, better class composition, and more specialist teachers they need,” said Hansman. “Teachers and parents must continue working together to make sure it happens.”

BCTF presses for more recruitment and retention resources and strategies

Recently, the BC government announced a $2 million initiative to help school districts and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) with recruitment and retention challenges in rural and northern communities. The BCTF welcomed the announcement as a first step, but is pushing the government to be much more proactive. With the implementation of our restored collective agreement language moving forward, recruitment and retention in these communities will become more challenging unless the government and employer take more action.

That's why the BCTF Executive Committee passed a motion asking BCPSEA to meet and discuss increasing the scope and monetary value of Letter of Understanding #5 (Teacher Supply and Demand Initiatives). The Federation has also asked BCPSEA to explore other recruitment and retention mechanisms including, but not limited to, student loan forgiveness programs, housing allowances, provision of housing, greater flexibility in mid-year personal leaves, improved access to travel for medical purposes, increased professional development funds, teacher classroom resource funds, and increased access to education leaves. 

Important information about the Teacher Regulation Branch

Recently, BCTF members received communications from the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) about potential changes to the Standards for the Education, Competence and Professional Conduct of Educators in BC. The most significant change is a new ninth standard focused on Aboriginal education. The BCTF will make a formal response indicating the Federation agrees in principle with the proposed addition. The Federation will also communicate suggestions on wording and the need for proper in-service training and resources. The BCTF's position is that the Ministry of Education and school districts need to ensure certificate holders are provided with a wide range of opportunities, regardless of where they work in the province, to access accurate, up-to-date, and culturally appropriate professional development opportunities reflective of local First Nations communities.