BCTF Online Museum

Defending bargaining rights at the table, in the streets, and in the courts

Collective bargaining 2001–2016: A timeline

March 5, 2001

Provincial bargaining between BCTF and BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) begins prior to the expiry of the 1998–01 collective agreement.

May 16, 2001

BC Liberal government is elected. Campaign included promise to make public education an essential service.

August 16, 2001

Bill 18
BC Liberals pass essential service legislation, reducing teachers’ full and free collective bargaining rights including the right to strike.

October 2001

Teachers participate in first ever province-wide strike vote with 91.4% voting “Yes.” Teachers begin limited job action in November.

Negotiate Don't Legislate buttonJanuary 25, 2002

“Black Friday” 
BC Liberals table Bills 27 and 28 (enacting them only two days later), imposing a three-year collective agreement (2001–04) that strips provisions and forbids negotiations on:

  • Class-size and teacher-workload provisions
  • Specialist-teacher ratios
  • Guaranteed support for students with special needs.

The legislation also vaporizes 10 collective agreements in amalgamated school districts.

  • Bill 29 is also tables, stripping many provisions from health care workers’ collective agreements.

January 28, 2002

Teachers around the province walk out in a day of political protest over Bills 27 and 28, then reluctantly return to work.

May 2002

Court Challenge
BCTF files a legal challenge in BC Supreme Court alleging Bills 27 and 28 violated teachers’ charter rights to free collective bargaining.

January 22, 2004

BC Supreme Court rules that the process used by BC Liberals to strip provisions via Bills 27 and 28 was invalid.

March 2004

Provincial bargaining begins for the 2004–2006 collective agreement. Negotiations drag on for the next 15 months with very little progress.

Fair Deal for Teachers buttonApril 22, 2004

Bill 19
BC Liberals pass legislation that removes all collective agreement provisions involving class-size limits, services to students with special needs, and support from specialist teachers.

September 23, 2005

Teachers vote 88.4% in favour of starting Phase 1 of job action.

October 3, 2005

Bill 12
BC Liberals impose a collective agreement to end teachers’ job action and roll over all existing contract provisions into the 2004–06 collective agreement.

October 7, 2005

Teachers vote 90.5% in favour of province-wide strike and defy subsequent return to work order. Strike fund is frozen by court order and no strike pay is issued. Vice Ready is brought in to mediate an end to the dispute.

I am the BCTF buttonOctober 24, 2005

Members reluctantly accept Ready’s interim recommendation with 77% approving a return to work.

April 2006

Bargaining resumes between BCTF and BCPSEA using the framework recommended in the Ready report.

June 9, 2006

Teachers vote 85% “Yes” in a province-wide strike vote in order to back their demand for a fair and competitive salary increase.

June 30, 2006

A five-year agreement is reached (2006–11) that includes up to 17% salary increase, grid harmonization, and a $4,000 signing bonus.

February 2007

Ready’s “Final Report for Collective Bargaining Options” is released but options are not implemented. BCTF’s legal challenge of Bills 27 and 28 at the Supreme Court of BC is held in abeyance pending the outcome of the health care unions’ challenge to Bill 29.

June 8, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada rules in favour of the health care unions: that BC Liberals did not have the right to strip provisions from their collective agreements via Bill 29 in 2002. As a result, BCTF proceeds with its legal action on Bills 27 and 28.

November 2010

BCTF presents its legal challenge to Bills 27 and 28 in BC Supreme Court.

March 2011

BCTF and BCPSEA begin next round of negotiations. Little progress is made due to “net zero” mandate of BC Liberals.

April 13, 2011

Supreme Court of BC’s Justice Griffin finds Bills 27 and 28 unconstitutional and gives BC Liberals one year to fix. BC Liberals choose not to appeal the decision.

March 2012

After a year of negotiations, including more than 70 bargaining sessions and months of limited job action, 89% of teachers vote “Yes” in a province-wide strike vote and strike for three days.

Kill Bill 22 buttonMarch 2012

Bill 22
BC Liberals repeal and reintroduce the parts of Bills 27 and 28 that were ruled unconstitutional in 2011, impose two-year wage freeze and appoint mediator, Dr. Charles Jago.

June 26, 2012

A retroactive deal for 2011–13 is reached despite the “net zero” mandate. It includes improvements to leaves of absence and a provincial extended health plan. Twenty locals successfully negotiate local provisions.

December 2012

BCTF submits brief to BC Liberals outlining potential changes to bargaining structures.

January 26, 2013

Agreement on bargaining structures is reached to facilitate next round of bargaining. It includes: model timeline, process facilitator Mark Brown, media blackout, shared data resources, and additions to the list of matters that will be bargained locally (post and fill, layoff and recall).

February 2013

Provincial bargaining begins. Locals prepare to begin bargaining local matters.

June 2013

BC Liberals appoint negotiator Peter Cameron and subsequently dismiss BCPSEA board. Teachers teake a province-side vote to oppose BC Liberals’ interference in bargaining.

January 27, 2014

Justice Griffin rules that BC Liberals failed to fix constitutional violations in Bills 27 and 28. Griffin also rules that Bill 22 is unconstitutional. Documents reveal BC Liberals had an intentional strategy to interfere in 2011–13 round of bargaining. BC Liberals appeal this decision to BC Court of Appeals.

March 2014

After a year of bargaining with little progress, a province-wide strike vote is taken. Teachers vote 89% in favour of taking strike action.

May 2014

Province-wide rotating strikes begin. BCPSEA initiates partial lock-out of teachers.

June 2014

Teachers vote 86% to begin full-scale province-wide strike, and BCPSEA imposes full-scale lockout. This lasts 26 working days and continues into September.

September 16, 2014

A six-year deal is reached for 2013–19 that includes a 7.25% salary increase plus “economic stability dividend” increases, as well as improvements to extended health benefits, elementary prep time, TTOC pay, and the Education Fund. It also includes $105 million settlement to compensate teachers for class-size and composition grievances.

April 30, 2015

BC Court of Appeals sides with BC Liberals and overturns Justice Griffin’s decision. BCTF later appeals decision to Supreme Court of Canada. Appeal is granted on January 14, 2016.

November 10, 2016

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upholds Justice Griffin’s 2011 ruling, that BC Liberals repeatedly violated teachers’ charter rights when they passed unconstitutional legislation that stripped provisions on class size, class composition, specialist-teacher ratios, and guaranteed support for students with special needs.