Teachers’ union files grievance over public school educator shortage in B.C.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation says shortages will hinder classroom learning in September if no changes

B.C.’s teachers’ union has filed a grievance due to the province’s ongoing shortage of educators in schools across the province.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Glen Hansman said in a news release this week that ongoing teacher shortages remain a significant problem for many schools and threatens to cause disruption in the next school year.

“It’s now June 1st and there are still reports of non-certified teachers working in classrooms, students with special needs losing out on their programs or being sent home, and hundreds of classes with class compositions that don’t meet the learning needs of students,” he said.

“While there were some announcements in February to slightly increase teacher education spots, the lack of bold action and provincial co-ordination means the shortage will make the next school year challenging as well.”

READ MORE: Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Classrooms impacted are in all corners of the province including Vancouver, Quesnel and Prince Rupert, Hansman said,

In Quesnel, the union says there were nine full-time teaching jobs held by non-certified people this spring. In Vancouver, it says there are 1,817 classes with four or more children with special needs, which means they aren’t getting the support they would with more special education supports.

The complaint is now in arbitration.

The union has proposed several recommendations, including making housing and moving allowances accessible in all school districts, mentorship programs to retain new teachers and waiving fees for retiring teachers trying to recertify.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

Other recommendations include expanding access to the current rural and remote living allowance, a student loan forgiveness program and changes to starting salaries and financial assistance for qualification upgrades.

A Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2016 forced the provincial government to restore staffing to 2002 levels after it ruled a former Liberal government improperly took away the union’s right to bargain class size and the composition of those classes.

An agreement was reached on class size and composition in March 2017.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the government knew there would be challenges as districts tried to hire the largest number of teachers in generations.

“We have some more work to do with additional teacher recruitment, that’s why we’ve funded more teacher-training spaces, that’s why we have 1,800 new graduates coming out of universities next year ready to be teachers.”

Fleming said he believes school districts are going to be able to complete their hiring and replenish teacher-on-call lists in time for the next school year.

Districts were recruiting across the country and 97 per cent of the hiring was completed this year, Fleming said, adding somewhere between 3,500 and 3,700 teachers.

The government hired 3,500 teachers last year as part of its obligations stemming from the Supreme Court decision.

Fleming announced another $571,000 in February to train 100 teachers in fields such as special education, French, math and physics.

Despite that, Hansman said bold action is needed.

“If the government and school districts don’t address these concerns urgently, students will keep losing out when the new school year starts.”

With files from The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Glam & Glitter’ ball, festival and more at Surrey Pride celebrations

Portland’s Caravan of Glam among performers from June 26 to 30

Alleged shoplifting incident no longer of public interest, Crown finds

BC Prosecution Service explains legal process after South Surrey sting operation

Meyer makes White Rock mayoral run official

Three-term councillor says other coalition incumbents to seek return as councillors

Surrey football streaker hires personal injury lawyer

BC Lions not commenting as matter is ‘now before the courts’

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

VIDEO: In Surrey, ‘The Magic Flute’ opera has makings of ‘modern-day superhero movie’

Show director Dolores Scott raves about young talent in weekend production at Surrey Arts Centre

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

Chilliwack city councillor’s expenses the subject of FOI request by mayor

Discussion about council expenses leads to broader call for more transparency and accountability

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck and killed by train in downtown Abbotsford

Person hit at West Railway and Gladys Avenue late Tuesday night

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Most Read