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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 3, November/December 2005

Fine disbursement

by Jinny Sims

Thank you to all local leaders and members who put forward suggestions for groups to receive donations from the $500,000 fine. The BCTF considered over 50 organizations that had either sent a request directly to the Federation or had been suggested by members. The process that the BCTF had to follow required that:

  • the Federation seek BCPSEA’s agreement to any recipients being proposed.
  • the list agreed on between the parties be submitted to court.
  • the judge make the final determination.

The full-time table officers used the following criteria to select eight organizations to propose to BCPSEA:

  1. The donations should:
    a. have a province-wide or broader impact.
    b. advance the key elements of the stand that teachers took.
    c. acknowledge the support teachers received and build on alliances.
    d. be consistent with the BCTF commitment to social justice.
  2. Key elements of the Taking a Stand action were:

    a. standing up for improvements in learning conditions for students.
    b. standing up for bargaining rights.
    c. standing up for the teaching profession.
    d. standing up for a strong and stable public education system.
    e. standing up for justice and equality.

The Federation proposed the following groups to BCPSEA:

  1. United Way, specifically province-wide projects helping children
  2. The organizations that belong to the BCTF Special Education Partners’ Group (Autism Community Training Society, BC Association for Community Living, BC Branch of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Down Syndrome Research Foundation and Resource Centre, Family Network for Deaf Children, Family Support Institute, Federation of Invisible Disabilities, Learning Disability Association of BC, Special Needs Adoptive Parents’ Association)
  3. Kids Around the World Museum
  4. RR Smith Memorial Foundation Fund (directed to scholarships and bursaries for education students, foundation run by the Retired Teachers’ Association)
  5. Labour Heritage Centre
  6. World Peace Forum
  7. Public Education Research Foundation (foundation attached to the Charter for Public Education)
  8. International Writers’ Festival

BCPSEA agreed to the United Way, RR Smith Memorial Foundation Fund, the organizations in the Special Education Partners Group and the Kids Around the World Museum.

On Friday, Judge Brown approved the following:

  1. United Way—$175,000
  2. Special Ed Partners Group Organizations—$175,000 to be divided equally among the nine groups
  3. RR Smith Memorial Foundation Fund—$150,000.

The lawyer for the Attorney General’s office, which had intervenor status in the case, made it clear that the ministry did not want the BCTF to appear to earn goodwill from this fine. He suggested that the money should not go to charities, it should not fund any pet projects that the BCTF already support, and the BCTF should not be getting its name on any plaques as a result of the donations. He also suggested that the fine should be contributed to the premier’s literacy initiatives.

The BCTF Executive Committee is pleased with the judge’s decision to allow the donations to go to the charities listed above and is confident that the fine money will be put to very good use.

Jinny Sims is the BCTF’s president.



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