Issues Board of Education Issues BC Teachers Strike / Government Lockout

BC Teachers Strike / Government Lockout

The province is in the middle of a BC teachers strike. Rotating strikes began in late May,. Schools have been
closed since mid June due to full strike action and subsequent lockout.

bc teachers strike at bc legislature

A negotiated settlement in time for September is the preferred solution, but is very unlikely. The government can force the issue by passing back-to-work legislation, as has been done many times in the past. However, this time the government has stated that it will not do this, and, in fact, has offered parents $40/day per child under 13 who is affected by the strike, from September, on. The BC teachers strike is expected to last at least into October.

There are three ways to resolve the BC Teachers Strike:

  • Negotiation – The two sides are far apart, with no middle ground in sight.
  • Mediation – The two sides are too far apart for mediators to agree to take on the task. Two mediators refused: Labour mediator Vince Ready and B.C. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher. Later, in mid-August, Vince Ready agreed to monitor the talks. This is a positive sign. Let’s hope it becomes a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Legislation – The government has ruled this one out.

The Richmond Board of Education, along with other school boards in the province and the BCSTA, have
advocated with letters, meetings and phone calls to MLAs, the minister of education and the BC treasury
board. The effect of this advocacy on the government is minimal. As trustees, we are responsible for
our students receiving a quality, uninterrupted education. The two sides in this labour dispute do not
seem to be coming to a common ground. Given the two choices…

  • Delay the start of school, perhaps into October, or
  • Prepare legislation for return to work in September, if needed.

We ask the people of Richmond whether the government should reconsider the possible use of
legislation to end the BC teachers strike. Trustees across the province will continue to advocate for a negotiated
settlement. We, at RITE Richmond, also strongly prefer a negotiated settlement, but we also appreciate the
hardship that the BC teachers strike brings to students and their families, and we would like to hear your opinion.