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More than a year after a BC Supreme Court ruling that provincial legislation violated teachers’ Charter rights, the BC Teachers’ Federation has had to go back to court seeking a fair remedy for the impact of the unconstitutional legislation.

In April 2011, Madam Justice Griffin ruled that provisions of Bills 27 and 28 and other government legislation were unconstitutional and invalid. The legislation stripped teachers’ collective agreement of class-size limits and guarantees for services for students with special needs, resulting in the loss of thousands of teaching positions, including many specialist teachers who work with our most vulnerable students. The legislation also prohibited collective bargaining on those issues into the future.  Justice Griffin gave the government one year to remedy the Charter violations.

“Because this government has completely failed to deal with the repercussions of last year’s ruling, we have to go back to court,” said BCTF President Susan Lambert. “Given the ruling, we believed that we had regained the right to bargain class size, class composition, and the provision of services by specialist teachers, and thereby drive much-needed funding back into our public school system. But government refused to recognize the decision and yet another year of cuts has further eroded the quality of services to students.”

Lambert said the BCTF was particularly troubled by the fact that, while Bill 22 purports to repeal certain unconstitutional provisions of the earlier legislation, it immediately reinstates these provisions in identical terms in the same section of the same law. The BCTF also asserts that government failed to address the repercussions within the time limit imposed by the court.

The BCTF is seeking restoration of the provisions that were unconstitutionally deleted from the teachers’ collective agreement, a declaration that the provincial government has failed to address the repercussions of the decision, and damages for losses suffered.

The case will be heard December 3–6, 2012 in BC Supreme Court. To read the full text of the notice of application, click here: http://www.bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/BargainingContracts/NoticeOfApplicationL021662.pdf 

 

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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