How the BC Teachers’ Federation helps
Structure, decision-making, and services
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM is the sovereign
decision-making body of the Federation. It is made up of Local Representatives
(see RA below), one or more delegates elected by each local on a per-capita
basis and the members of the BCTF Executive Committee, totaling approximately
680 voting participants. The AGM meets for 3.5 days during Spring Break and
decides the BCTF priorities, policies and procedures, elects the Executive
Committee, and sets the fees for the coming year.
Representative Assembly (RA)
The RA regularly meets three
times a year to advise the Executive Committee (EC), receive reports and adopt
a detailed budget based on the fee set by the AGM. The RA is made up of
approximately 120 voting Local Representatives, plus the Local Presidents and
the BCTF Executive Committee.
Executive Committee (EC)
The Executive Committee is
made up of 11 active members elected at the AGM. It is responsible for the business of the
Federation, between RA and AGM meetings and has other specific duties assigned.
The EC has one or two regularly scheduled meetings per month, with the
exception of July.
Full-Time Table Officers (FTTOs)
The president, first
vice-president, and second vice-president are released full time from their teaching
duties to represent the 41,000 members on a day-to-day basis. The president is
responsible for the general supervision of all matters and affairs of the Federation
and is the official spokesperson for the BCTF.
The Executive Director works
with the FTTOs and advises the Executive Committee, Representative Assembly,
and Annual General Meeting, and is responsible for assigning duties and
directing the work of the Federation’s administrative, support and excluded
Locals represent teachers in
each school district in the province with each local having its own elected
president and executive committee, constitution and procedures. Each is a local
of the BCTF but has a high degree of autonomy on local matters.
Advisory committees—are made up of
active members formally appointed by the Executive Committee. They provide
advice to the BCTF Executive Committee, play a leadership role within the
Federation, and, in a number of cases, provide support to local contacts.
- Committee for Action on Social Justice—CASJ
CASJ action groups
gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ)
and global education
- Professional Issues Advisory Committee—PIAC
- Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee—AEAC
- Adult Education Advisory Committee—AEAC
- Advisory Committee on French Programs and
- Provincial Specialist Association Council—PSAC
- Teachers Teaching on Call Advisory
- Pensions Committee—PC
- Finance Committee—FC
- Income Security Committee—ISC
Newsmagazine Advisory Board
- Health and Safety Advisory Committee—HSAC
- Working and Learning Conditions/Bargaining
- WR Long International Solidarity Committee.
Organizational divisions within the BCTF
The BCTF offices and programs
are organized into divisions and departments to provide effective services to
Field Service Division
(FSD)—supports locals in bargaining, contract implementation and defence of
member rights, assists locals with Federation campaigns and province-wide
actions, advances the broad range of Federation services and programs in
professional, health and safety, social justice, communications and outreach,
etc., with local members and leadership.
Department—has overall responsibility for Federation legal matters, including
court cases on a range of matters, constitutional challenges,
grievances/arbitrations, legal-aid provisions and teacher regulation
Professional and Social
Issues Division (PSID)—has responsibility for a wide range of professional
matters such as curriculum, education policy, professional
development, teacher education,
teacher inquiry, mentorship and peer support. Co-ordinates the Provincial Specialist
Associations (PSAs), the Social Justice Program, Aboriginal Education Program,
French Programs and Services, programs for teachers teaching on call, for teachers
new to teaching and for adult educators, organizes leadership training—Summer
Conference, Federation Leadership Institute, and Facilitators’ Institute Training.
The Training Department which is a component of PSID, offers an extensive
teacher workshop program. Administers the Code of Ethics and co-ordinates the
work of the Internal Mediation Service.
Communications and Campaigns Division (CCD)—has responsibility for BCTF campaigns, and internal
and external communications, using both traditional and social media
communication tools. Handles outreach to education partner groups, community groups
and other unions. Co-ordinates political action, lobbying and advocacy
initiatives. Co-ordinates production, mailing, and graphics.
Research and Technology Division (RT)—undertakes the Federation’s research projects and
works jointly with other institutions on research projects. Co-ordinates
information services and the website. Develops, implements, and supports the
Federation’s technology systems and tools. Co-ordinates the BCTF international
programs. Deals with education funding issues.
Income Security Division—has responsibility for the Salary Indemnity Plan, Health and Wellness Program
(rehabilitation) and the Living with Balance (preventative) program. Co-ordinates the pensions program, provides
information for members and fulfills the Federation’s obligations related to
the Teacher Pension Plan. Co-ordinates
the BCTF Health and Safety program for members and handles Workers’
Compensation appeals for members.
Finance and Administrative Services—has overall responsibility for the care of the Federation’s
resources, including the dues, investments, funds, property, etc. Administers the budget and handles the
accounting functions. Maintains membership records, handles reception, and the
care and maintenance of the BCTF offices.
Human Resources Department—deals with all of the Federation’s obligations as an
employer and handles the staff recruitment and training, salary/benefits,
personnel, collective agreement and other labour relations issues related to
this role. Handles the Federation’s privacy obligations and other
Provincial Specialist Associations (PSAs)
foster professional development through a variety of means and provide members
- teaching/learning materials
- information on new teaching methods
- support for new teachers
- a network via local chapters
- a collective voice to help shape BCTF direction and
influence curriculum policies
- specialty publications—journals and newsletters
- support for exemplary practice.
host for members:
- annual general meetings
- annual conferences
- local or regional conferences.
you are being inducted into the BCTF and your local, you are eligible as a new
teacher or new TTOC to receive a free year’s membership in one PSA.
PSAs within the BCTF bctf.ca/PSAs.aspx
ABCDE Association of BC Drama Educators
AEGTCCBC Association for Educators of Gifted,
Talented, and Creative Children in BC
APPIPC Association provinciale des professeurs
d’immersion et du programme francophone
Alternate Education Association
Art Teachers’ Association
Association of Mathematics Teachers
BCATML BC Association of Teachers of Modern
Business Education Association
Culinary Arts Provincial Specialist Association
BCCLPSA BC Co-operative Learning Provincial Specialist
Dance Educators’ Association
BCEDLPSA BC Educators for Distributed Learning
Music Educators’ Association
Primary Teachers’ Association
Rural and Small Schools Teachers’ Association
School Counsellors’ Association
BCScTA BC Science Teachers’ Association
BCSSTA BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association
Technology Education Association
BCTELA BC Teachers of English Language Arts
Educators of British Columbia
as a Second Language Provincial Specialist Association
Educators’ Provincial Specialist Association
Assistance Teachers’ Association
PAGE BC Teachers for Peace and Global
Education British Columbia
Intermediate Teachers’ Association
of Home Economics Specialist Association
may join as many PSAs as you wish. For a PSA online application, go to bctf.ca/JoinaPSA.
Professional and Social issues workshops
on a variety of topics are designed and delivered in English and French by BCTF
facilitators. See your school PD representative or visit bctf.ca/ProfessionalDevelopment.aspx#workshops
How your BCTF local helps bctf.ca/localwebsites.aspx
BCTF local is a source of support and information on professional, contractual,
and personnel matters. Find out who your school staff representative(s) are and
what services are available through your local. Locate and read the collective
and other material to find out how you can take part in your professional
organization. Information regarding local funding for PD and in-service activities
is available through your local. Talk to your local PD rep. Information
regarding health and safety concerns is available through your local and your
Health and Safety school representative.
Staying safe at work
matter how minor an injury might seem, it is important to document it with your
employer. For example, a paper cut can lead to a secondary infection and a
twinge in your back from lifting textbooks may be indicative of a more serious
procedure for reporting an injury is:
- Inform an administrative officer of this injury
or disease that you feel is work related. Make sure the information is
documented. WCB requires that you report your injury as soon as practical,
- Make sure the appropriate person has filled in
the first aid log at the worksite. Always get the log filled in no matter how
minor the injury, as it may develop into something more serious.
- File a Workers’ Report of Injury or Occupational
Disease to Employer. This is WCB Form 6A. The employer is required to file a
Form 7 within three days of receiving the report from the member.
- At the same time you file the report to your
employer, file an Application for Compensation and Report of Injury or
Occupational Disease, Form 6 to WCB. If you are not sure about the questions
- Always copy Form 6A and Form 6 for the local
union office. Always ask for help for the WCB claim’s process.
- Always report your injury or occupational
disease to your doctor and request that the doctor file a Physicians First
Report, Form 8 to WCB.
- A WCB officer should contact the worker after
they have received Form 6.
- WorkSafeBC regulations require that each worksite
must have a joint health and safety committee.
new and young workers are required by law to be given site specific
occupational health and safety training. During the new and young workers’
training, teachers should be instructed on emergency procedures, including
evacuation and lockdown; instruction on known hazards and risks; and
instruction on hazard reporting. If you have not received this training,
contact your staff rep or local president.
teachers in British Columbia are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act and have four basic health and safety
rights: the right to know, the right to participate, the right to refuse unsafe
work, and the right to no discrimination. These rights are essential in a safe
right to know
have the right to know what hazards are present in a workplace. Hazards can be
physical (from slippery floor to missing guards on equipment) to psychological
(including factors leading to stress or violence). The right to know is of a higher order than the student privacy rights.
If a student is a violent risk to a school employee, everyone involved with
that student has the right to know the risk that is posed. The right to know
also includes access to health and safety information such as inspections and
orders written by WCB on a workplace.
right to participate
have the right to participate in the activities of the Joint Occupational Health
and Safety committee. Participating in training as well as investigations and
inspections of the worksite is also included in this right.
right to no discrimination
right to no discrimination, also called the right to no retaliation, protects
the teacher from being disciplined from exercising their basic health and
go along with health and safety training and rights, all teachers have a duty
to work safely, report hazards, and conduct their work in a way which does not
create a risk to themselves or others.
How the collective agreement helps
The BCTF is a dynamic union of
professionals that has been shaped by its members for over 100 years. New
teachers are celebrated and welcomed into the union (the BCTF and your local)
usually at a general meeting or induction ceremony, although some locals hold a
social event. You will receive materials that help you to know your rights, the
Code of Ethics, and more. A great perk (limited to attendees) is a free
membership to a PSA (Provincial Specialist Association) which can save you up
to $80 and link you to a community of engaged, progressive professionals.
There is so much to learn when
you start out—every school district is a little different. New teachers are
encouraged to attend the orientation session, usually presented jointly by the
district and the union, where you can become familiar with people, places, and
processes that you are likely to need to know about.
Discrimination in the workplace
All public school teachers in the province are covered by
the collective agreement between BCPSEA and the BCTF at the provincial level,
and between their school district and their local at the local level. Every
BCTF member’s collective agreement contains an article that refers to the
employer’s obligation to ensure a non-sexist working environment. Likewise,
nearly every collective agreement contains a provision that states that no
employee shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, colour, ancestry,
place of origin, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital
status, disability, or family status. A few go a step further by specifically
mentioning gender identity.
This language was negotiated by BCTF locals on behalf of
their members so that teachers could be themselves in their workplaces without
being subjected to sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism or other
forms of discrimination. For example, Aboriginal teachers shouldn’t need to
hide their heritage, or put up with racist remarks. LGBTQ teachers should
expect to be safely “out” at work, acknowledge their families and loved
ones without fear of reprisals or discrimination. Likewise with women, people of
colour, and other equity-seeking groups.
The BC Human Rights Code also protects public school
teachers from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex, race, sexual
orientation, or other characteristics. Gender identity is also “read” into the
code (though having it specifically listed would be an important step at a
If you have a question about your collective agreement’s
non-discrimination clause, contact your local office.