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Government puts politics before students with appeal

February 4, 2014

Christy Clark’s decision to appeal Justice Griffin’s latest ruling suggests she and her government think they are above the law. Read BCTF President Jim Iker’s full statement here or watch the news conference here.

Teachers win restoration of class-size and composition provisions, $2 million in damages

VANCOUVER – Teachers across BC are celebrating today’s ruling by the BC Supreme Court, reaffirming that provincial legislation limiting teachers’ bargaining rights is unconstitutional, restoring collective agreement provisions stripped in 2002, and ordering the province to pay $2 million in damages plus court costs. Read more... 

Class composition in BC worse than ever

January 8, 2014

Data on BC’s education system released by the government shows our province’s class composition is worse than ever before, said BCTF President Jim Iker. There are over 16,000 classes with four or more children with special needs. More...

Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)

January 6, 2014

The provincial government has been administering the Foundation Skills Assessment tests to all students in Grades 4 and 7 since 2000. This test does not help students learn or teachers teach. It takes valuable time and much needed resources away from the classroom learning and undermines the ability to provide meaningful learning experiences for all students. The FSA results are misused by a private organization to rank schools based on a very narrow measure. The FSA tests do not result in any additional funding or support for students. More...

James Moore needs an education about hunger in neighbourhood schools 

“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.”

Industry Minister James Moore recently had to apologize for this heartless statement he made in response to a reporter’s questions about the federal government’s role in addressing child poverty.

Moore, who is MP for Port Moody–Westwood–Port Coquitlam, could learn from what teachers have to say about hunger in BC public schools. More... 

Draft Curriculum Feedback Form now on ministry website

November 29, 2013

Teachers, parents, students, and other interested parties can now respond and give their feedback directly to the Ministry of Education. The ministry’s feedback form involves answering a series of questions about the draft curriculum and includes a comments section. Feedback is anonymous.

The BCTF has also organized a draft curriculum discussion forum on the BCTF website and welcomes all members to share their thinking with one another on this critical topic. Access the discussion page here. Please note: you will need to log into the member portal to access the forum.

2012 Poverty and Education survey:
A teacher’s perspective

November 14, 2013

A provincial survey of BC teachers revealed current resources are not adequate to support the needs of students experiencing poverty. Eight in ten (80.6%) teachers said they have students in their class(es) who start the day hungry while only 42.9% indicated the school has a breakfast program. Very few teachers rated the overall adequacy of resources at their school to address the poverty-related needs of students as “Quite adequate” (10.4%) or “Very adequate” (1.8%). More...

New BCTF curriculum discussion forum now open

October 31, 2013

The new draft curricula for K–9 English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies are now available. To help teachers share their thoughts and ideas about the process, content and impact of curriculum change in their classrooms, the BCTF has created an online curriculum discussion forum for members only. It is part of a comprehensive page of web resources relating to these important changes. See the draft curricula and join the online discussion here. Please take the time to send your feedback to the Ministry of Education at  

New BC curriculum drafts just posted on ministry website

October 22, 2013 

This past spring and summer, 62 BCTF members were involved in drafting new curricula for K–9  English Language Arts, Français langue premiere, Français langue seconde immersion, Arts Education, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Health & PE. These teachers invested a tremendous amount of knowledge, time, and energy, while taking on the significant responsibility of representing the professional voice of the Federation. See the draft curriculum and get more information here. 

Why we believe that together FAIRNESS WORKS 

October 7, 2013

The 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress and its affiliates stand up for fairness in ways that benefit all Canadians, whether you belong to a union or not. By working together, we have won decent wages, safer workplaces, and other good things such as paid vacation time, public health insurance and pensions. We know that the vast majority of Canadians share the values of the labour movement.

Please watch for television ads during October and November 2013 showing how the work of unions benefits our society. You can find out more about the CLC’s together FAIRNESS WORKS campaign here

Teachers’ plea: Bring BC’s education funding up to national average

October 4, 2013

In presentations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance, teachers representing the BCTF and its locals are urging the provincial government to bring public education funding at least up to the national average. Right now, BC lags behind all other provinces on seven key indicators. For example, in terms of per-student funding, BC is $1,000 per student below the Canadian average.

Click here to read the BCTF’s 2013 Funding Brief in full.

BCTF endorses suicide prevention report

September 27, 2013

Teachers across BC are painfully aware that students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning (LGBTQ) are at greater risk of committing suicide than other youth. For this reason, the BC Teachers’ Federation heartily endorses the 20 recommendations included in a new report launched today by the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.

It states that every year about 500 Canadian youth take their own lives, and LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable: 33% of LGB youth have attempted suicide in comparison to 7% of youth in general, and 47% of transgendered youth have thought about suicide in the past year alone.

“Egale’s important report outlines the crucial steps we must take to prevent the needless and tragic loss of so many young lives,” said BCTF President Jim Iker. “The teachers of BC call on our provincial government to promptly implement these recommendations to help end youth suicide.”

Iker noted that the Egale report is echoed by a call today from the British Columbia Coroners’ Service, which acknowledges the need to collect more and better information on young people who die by suicide, including whether they were bullied, what their sexual orientation was, and how they used social media.

2013 Education Funding Brief

September 24, 2013

BCTF to the Legislative Committee on Finance: Increase funding levels to the average in Canada over three years. That will require $1,000 per student more, just to reach the average. Click here to see the brief.

BCTF reinforces support for Truth and Reconciliation events with $100,000 in grants

September 16, 2013

VANCOUVER – As part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the legacy of residential schools, including the effects and intergenerational impacts on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, the BC Teachers’ Federation established a $100,000 grant program to help teachers from all over BC participate in this week’s national Truth and Reconciliation events in Vancouver. More... 

BCTF heads back to BC Supreme Court over constitutional rights

September 9, 2013

VANCOUVER—Today the BC Teachers’ Federation is back in BC Supreme Court to present its case that the BC government has not respected the landmark decision from 2011 that the province violated teachers’ constitutional rights. The BCTF is seeking restoration of provisions like class-size limits and specialist teacher guarantees that were unconstitutionally stripped from the collective agreement in 2002. The union is also seeking a declaration that the provincial government has failed to address the repercussions of the 2011 decision, and is requesting damages for losses. More... 

Back to school message from Jim Iker

In a letter sent to all BC teachers marking back-to-school week, President Jim Iker provided an update on bargaining, an upcoming court case, and thanked teachers for all the work they do in BC’s classrooms, schools, and communities. He said, “as teachers and as a strong union, we make a real, constructive, and positive difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids and their families. Be proud of the work you do.” Read the full letter here.

Meet Jim Iker

Jim Iker, a teacher from Topley, is the new BCTF President. He sat down for a simple Q&A session to help members get to know a little bit about him. Watch the video here

Teachers vote 96% against government interference in bargaining

June 28, 2013

In a province-wide vote conducted June 26–28, 2013, 96% of BC teachers expressed support for their bargaining team and opposition to government interference in the negotiation process.

A total of 20,664 teachers voted yes, and 898 voted no. more 

Teachers disappointed government orders employer to leave bargaining table

Representatives of the BC Teachers’ Federation were disappointed, but not surprised, to learn yesterday that Education Minister Peter Fassbender has directed representatives of the BC Public School Employers’ Association to break off negotiations and leave the bargaining table. More... 

Teachers worry government aims to lock in cuts for another decade

Representatives of the BC Teachers’ Federation are urging newly appointed Education Minister Peter Fassbender not to break off the current round of constructive negotiations in order to impose a 10-year term with no new money. More... 

BC teachers congratulate new education minister 

June 7, 2013

The teachers of BC want to congratulate Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender on his appointment to serve in cabinet as minister of education. 

“We look forward to working with Minister Fassbender as we continue our efforts to negotiate a collective agreement that meets the needs of students and teachers across BC,” said Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation. More... 


Premier’s 10-year proposal concerns teachers

May 28, 2013

Premier Christy Clark’s 10-year bargaining plan for public school teachers is flawed in a number of significant ways. It ignores court rulings, contradicts government’s own legislation, and puts at risk the current round of provincial bargaining. More...

Once again, courts rule in favour of teachers’ right to free expression

May 22, 2013 

In a significant decision issued May 21, 2013, the Court of Appeal for BC ruled once again that school districts must not unduly restrict teachers’ right to express their concerns about education issues in schools.  More... 

A plan for better schools in BC

by Jim Iker, BCTF President-elect

This article was published in The Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2013.

British Columbians should be very proud of our public education system. Teachers and other educators work hard to help B.C.’s children gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to take on the world. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, engineers, and loggers. They deserve a government that will invest in their education to ensure B.C.’s social fabric and economy stay strong.  More...

International solidarity from BC teachers touches lives in Salvadoran classrooms

 April 17, 2013

Almost 100 proud Salvadoran teachers crossed the stage Tuesday to receive their diplomas in Non Sexist and Inclusive Education, a groundbreaking new program created by the Salvadoran teachers´ union ANDES, with support from the BCTF and CoDevelopment Canada. More...

Two years later, teachers are still seeking redress for rights’ violations

April 12, 2013

April 13 marks two years since the BC Supreme Court’s landmark decision ruling that legislation the BC Liberals enacted in 2002 violated teachers’ Charter rights, and therefore is unconstitutional and invalid. More... 

PSA membership now online

April 2, 2013

Looking to join one of the BCTF’s 33 Provincial Specialist Associations? For the first time, you can now register or renew your membership online. Our PSAs engage teachers in valuable professional development and serve as channels for members to exchange ideas on research, teaching strategies, curriculum development, and other shared interests. Join a PSA now.

Teachers call for conflict-of-interest regulations for school district officials

March 19, 2013

Worried about increasing encroachment of private interests in public education, delegates at the Annual General Meeting of the BC Teachers’ Federation have voted to call on the provincial government to establish conflict-of-interest regulations governing school district dealings with corporations. More...

Lambert to step down, new leaders to take helm of BCTF

March 18, 2013

At the end of this school year, Jim Iker, an elementary teacher from Burns Lake in northern BC, will take over from current BCTF President Susan Lambert as leader of the 41,000-member BC Teachers’ Federation. More...

Aboriginal activist affirms teachers’ role in helping students fulfill their dreams

March 18, 2013

In a keynote address Sunday that brought tears to the eyes of many at the BC Teachers’ Federation Annual General Meeting, Mi’kmaq lawyer and comedian Candy Palmater described the powerful and enduring legacy of teachers who encouraged her to overcome significant obstacles in her life. More...

Teachers tackle funding, bargaining, election issues and more at AGM

 March 15, 2012

After a decade of cuts, BC now ranks last in Canada on seven key measures of education funding, according to the latest Statistics Canada data. Per-student funding in BC is almost $1,000 below the national average. More...

97th BCTF Annual General Meeting upcoming

March 8, 2013

About 700 teachers from across BC will gather at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver between March 16 and 19, 2013 for the 97th Annual General Meeting of the BC Teachers’ Federation. Delegates will address a wide range of issues including underfunding of public education, teacher collective bargaining, political action, Aboriginal education, privatization and commercialization in schools, health and welfare of students and teachers, and much more. Details of the agenda can be found here

BC Budget 2013 offers no help for cash-starved school system 

February 19, 2012

With the education budget frozen for another three years, BC schools will get no relief from chronic underfunding. Once again this year, block funding for public education is flat at $4.7 billion even as costs rise significantly across the system.  More...

Throne Speech ignores real needs in classrooms 

February 12, 2013

Teachers are concerned that the dire needs in public education are being ignored by the BC Liberals, even as they prepare to intervene once again in the collective bargaining process.

In today’s pre-election Throne Speech the government called for labour peace in BC schools, but offered nothing to deal with the consequences of a previous decade of underfunding. More...

Teachers ratify framework agreement on bargaining process

January 26, 2013

Members of the BC Teachers’ Federation Representative Assembly have voted unanimously to ratify the Framework Agreement on the 2013 round of collective bargaining reached with the BC Public School Employers’ Association. More...

Premier’s plan for 10-year deal ignores court rulings, again

January 24, 2013

Premier Christy Clark’s proposed plan for a 10-year deal with public school teachers  ignores court rulings, contradicts government’s own legislation, and risks scuttling a positive bargaining framework on the eve of its expected ratification by  the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association. More... 

Parents can withdraw children from FSA

January 8, 2013

In recent years, BC teachers have been encouraging parents to withdraw children in Grades 4 and 7 from the annual Foundation Skills Assessments because they are both educationally unsound and socially damaging. The FSA comprises four and a half hours of standardized tests that don’t provide accurate assessments of individual student performance. Even worse, FSA data are misused by the Fraser Institute to produce their spurious elementary school rankings. 

NDP leader Adrian Dix has long said that if his party forms government they will do away with the FSAs and work with teachers and other education partners to develop an appropriate replacement. The BCTF welcomes this position, and the BC School Trustees Association recently passed a motion endorsing a similar course of action.

Meanwhile, the testing will begin later this month in schools across BC. Here's a letter that parents can use to request withdrawal of their children from the FSAs.

School boards resist latest cost-cutting demand

December 19, 2012  

Already facing significant downloaded costs, school boards are unhappy with Education Minister Don McRae’s latest demand that by mid-January they find savings to pay for 1.5% wage increases this year and next for support staff under the government’s “Co-operative Gains” mandate.

Trustees in Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops, and elsewhere have told Victoria their budgets are already cut to the bone and there’s no way to make additional cuts without impacting classrooms and kids. More...

BC Supreme Court rules teachers’ claims of mercury poisoning must be reheard 

December 5, 2012

A long legal struggle by six Cranbrook teachers is one step closer to a just resolution after Tuesday’s BC Supreme Court ruling in their favour. 

In 2004 and 2005, six teachers at Mount Baker Secondary School applied to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) for benefits on the basis of having been poisoned by long-term exposure to mercury in science labs in the school. The mercury levels in their blood were elevated far above normal and they experienced classic symptoms of mercury poisoning including: profound fatigue, headaches, joint pain, respiratory problems, tremors, weight loss, memory loss, insomnia, and irritability. 

Nonetheless, the WCB, the WCB Review Division, and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) dismissed all six claims. More... 

It’s time to take action:
119,000 BC children growing up in poverty

November 21, 2012

The 2012 Child Poverty Report Card once again documents British Columbia’s shameful record of broken promises and failure to meet the needs of our province’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

BC’s overall poverty rate of 15.5% is the worst in Canada, and its child poverty rate of 14.3% is the worst of all provinces except Manitoba. In addition, BC has the dismal distinction of having the most unequal distribution of income among rich and poor families with children.

Produced by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, the report contains 10 fact sheets and 15 recommendations to help end the scourge of child poverty in BC.

Read the full report here.  

BCTF Teachers celebrate Supreme Court ruling on special education

November 9, 2012

BCTF President Susan Lambert’s statement on Supreme Court’s Moore v. BC Government (Education). Teachers in BC are grateful to Rick Moore. Rick’s son Jeff and his entire family were tireless and courageous and won a significant victory for all students, not just in BC but all across Canada. Their perseverance and commitment these long years has been inspiring. No family should have to fight so hard to get their children the education they deserve. More...  

BC students are short-changed

October 25, 2012

British Columbia scores well below Canadian averages for several key education funding indicators, according to a BCTF brief presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance. More...

Stop and think about pipeline impacts

October 24, 2012

Concerned citizens throughout BC will be rallying at the offices of their MLAs today, urging them to oppose construction of pipelines across the province. BCTF President Susan Lambert told demonstrators in Victoria this week that we, as a society, need to urgently stop and think about the complexity of this issue. More...

Read the October Teacher online 

October 19, 2012

In an effort to save money and reduce our environmental footprint, the October edition of the Teacher will not be printed and only available online. The format is consistent with other digital magazines in which readers can turn pages on a screen and employ a number of other functions that enable individuals to adjust the presentation to suit their needs.

View the October edition of Teacher here

Teachers create professional learning opportunities province-wide 

October 17, 2012

Once again this year, the 33 Provincial Specialist Associations within the BCTF are offering a rich array of learning opportunities for teachers across BC. Through PSAs, teachers exchange ideas on research, teaching strategies, curriculum development, and other shared concerns. The province-wide professional development day is this Friday, October 19, 2012 and most events continue through the weekend.  More...

BC students are short-changed

October 5, 2012

British Columbia scores well below Canadian averages for several key education funding indicators, according to a BCTF brief presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance. More...

Provincial government’s latest try at “gag law” ruled unconstitutional 

October 4, 2012

The BC Court of Appeal today has ruled that it’s unconstitutional for the provincial government to impose limits on freedom of political expression prior to an election campaign period.

After its controversial 2008 “gag law” was ruled unconstitutional, the government redrafted its amendments to the Election Act and asked the Appeal Court to rule in advance of bringing them into law. The issue was whether limitations on freedom of political expression before the election campaign period are reasonable and “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” as required by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. More...


BC students short-changed compared to elsewhere in Canada

October 1, 2012

British Columbia scores well below Canadian averages for several key education funding indicators, according to a brief to be presented today by the BC Teachers’ Federation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance.

BCTF President Susan Lambert will urge the provincial government to adopt a plan to begin to bring BC’s education funding and services at the very least up to the national average. 

“We know these changes will take time, and they will require significant reinvestment in public education,” Lambert said. “While we would obviously like to be above average, it is a realistic goal to begin to move up at least to the Canadian national average in the various indicators of educational effort.” More...

Classroom investments 

September 17, 2012

At every level, there’s so much intellectual, physical, and emotional energy invested in making public education great. And there’s so much students, parents, and teachers get back.

Now it's time for government to do its part and give our kids the things they need: smaller classes, more one-on-one time, better resources, and increased support for students with special needs.

See our new TV ad in English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Punjabi.

Teachers won't accept extra cash for oversized classes

September 4, 2012

As the new school year begins, teachers across BC are anxiously wondering about their classes. How many students will I have? What gifts and challenges will they bring to my classroom? How will I be able to meet their diverse needs?

BC teachers have long advocated for smaller classes so they can give all students the individual attention they need, but this year’s concerns about class size are magnified by Bill 22, says Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation. More...

Crowds will welcome teacher as he completes 22 marathons against Bill 22

August 29, 2012

Teachers, parents, and other supporters of quality public education will gather at Canada Place at 4:00 p.m. this Friday afternoon to welcome North Vancouver teacher Ian Cunliffe as he crosses the finish line of his amazing 22 marathons against Bill 22.

The teacher-librarian from Canyon Heights Elementary School started his epic trek August 8 in Sparwood, near the Alberta border. Due to torn muscles and strained knees and Achilles tendons, he’ll be walking, not running, most of the last day. “We’re moving forward. The pace might be glacial but, like a glacier, I'm also hoping it will be unstoppable,” he told the North Shore News earlier this week.

Here is Cunliffe’s rough itinerary for Friday, August 31:

  • 10:30 a.m. Depart from the Burnaby Teachers’ Association office, 115–3993 Henning Drive. Proceed west on Broadway.
  • 2:00 p.m. Arrive at Broadway and Commercial Drive
  • 3:00 p.m. Arrive at Broadway and Cambie
  • 4:00 p.m. Arrive at Canada Place

Everyone is invited to join us to welcome Ian home and thank him for his enormous effort in standing up for BC students.


BC teacher runs 22 marathons in 22 days against Bill 22

July 26, 2012 

His classroom may be closed for the summer, but North Vancouver primary teacher Ian Cunliffe won’t be taking any time off. On August 8, Ian will begin in Sparwood, BC, to run and walk over 1,100 km across British Columbia. An incredible attempt of a marathon a day for 22 days to draw public attention to the decade of staggering cuts to BC public education by the Liberal government. More...

BC teacher runs 22 marathons in 22 days against Bill 22

July 11, 2012

His classroom may be closed for the summer, but North Vancouver primary teacher Ian Cunliffe won’t be taking any time off. On August 8, Ian will begin in Sparwood, BC, to run and walk over 1,100 km across British Columbia. An incredible attempt of a marathon a day for 22 days to draw public attention to the decade of staggering cuts to BC public education by the Liberal government. Follow his journey.