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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 4, January/February 2007

UN body offers to help BC government

The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, has issued another rebuke to the BC Liberal government for ignoring international standards to which Canada is a signatory and has offered to help the government bring its laws in line with international standards. In referring to the imposition of a contract through Bill 12, the ILO stated "...the Committee is particularly concerned at this latest unilateral intervention on the part of Government despite previous recommendations of the Committee to avoid doing so." It goes on to quote a previous ruling against the BC Liberal government, "The Committee also points out that repeated recourse to legislative restrictions on collective bargaining can only, in the long term, prejudice and destabilize the labour relations climate if the legislator frequently intervenes to suspend or terminate the exercise of rights recognized for unions and their members."

The ILO calls on the provincial government to amend its laws to conform to the international standards that Canada has agreed to uphold. In light of the government ignoring its previous rulings, it offers the government assistance to bring its laws in line with international standards.

One of the panel members reminded the Government of Canada that it is "accountable [for] upholding the freedom of association throughout the whole territory of Canada..."

The ILO is jointly run by representatives of government, business, and labour and promotes internationally recognized human and labour rights.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the joint ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The joint committee issued a statement for World Teachers’ Day this year restating the importance of the teaching profession and calling on governments and others support a high status for teachers and quality education.

"At all levels of education, teachers are the very heart of the efforts made to establish the common foundations for the acquisition of skills, knowledge, lifelong learning, culture, respect for constructive achievements, and regards for codes of conduct that are essential for the economic, social, and cultural progress of society. In so many respects, the future of the world is in the hands of teachers.

"Accordingly, on this special day, the Joint Committee urgently appeals to all members of the educational communities throughout the world to enter into frank and honest social dialogue in support of a high status for teachers and the promotion of quality education at all levels of education."

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