In a ruling issued today from the BC Supreme Court, Madam Justice Griffin reaffirmed that Bills 27 and 28 are unconstitutional and invalid, but declined to offer further clarification.
The offending legislation eliminated class size, class composition, specialist staffing, and hours of work language from teacher collective agreements, and led to diminished services for students. The legislation also prohibited future bargaining on these issues.
The onus is now on government to address the court decision and provide the conditions that students need and have been waiting for since 2002 when provisions in collective agreements ensured adequate funding, class size, and limits on class composition and specialist services.
The ruling in April of this year confirmed our right to bargain these provisions. Despite this ruling, government has refused to negotiate the conditions of class size and composition or restore the language that was in collective agreements.
It was the union’s hope that by referring the decision back to Justice Griffin for clarification that this would speed the process of discussions with government.
Government could have acted to remedy the situation the day after Justice Griffin made her decision in April.
Teachers have a strong record of advocating for improved conditions for students, and are committed to engaging government in productive discussions on the expectation that a remedy can be found.