B.C. government to fund up to 1,100 new teachers with a $50 million instalment - InfoNews

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B.C. government to fund up to 1,100 new teachers with a $50 million instalment

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January 05, 2017 - 9:00 PM

VANCOUVER - Money will be made available to immediately hire about 1,100 teachers in British Columbia after a Supreme Court of Canada decision last year ruled in favour of the teachers' union.

The British Columbia government said Thursday it is providing $50 million as a first instalment for new teachers in an agreement with the B.C. Teachers' Federation.

The government said the funding will go towards hiring additional teachers and speciality teachers, including speech-language pathologists and behaviour intervention specialists, aboriginal support specialists and counsellors.

The Supreme Court ruled in November that a law imposed by the province that blocked teachers' ability from bargaining class sizes was unconstitutional.

The decision ended a 14-year legal battle over bargaining rights for B.C.'s teachers that began when the province imposed legislation that blocked discussions of class size and composition in 2002.

The funding is in addition to the $100 million learning improvement fund that the government already put in place last year to help hire more teachers and education assistants.

The government said in a news release that the measures were hammered out this week between the province, the B.C. Public School Employers Association and the teachers' union, and is the first step in responding to the Supreme Court ruling.

It said negotiations continue on the restored collective-agreement provisions.

Education Minister Mike Bernier said in a news release that the new funding will help kick-start changes that are required after the court's decision.

"While the positive negotiations continue, we're going to keep focused on solutions that work for kids in their classrooms," he said.

Union president Glen Hansman said the $50-million funding is just the first step.

"The second and most important goal — full implementation of the 2002 collective agreement language — will now be the focus of talks between the two parties," he said in a statement.

Hansman said it's going to take a much higher investment to undo the damage the government has done to a generation of students.

"It has been almost 15 years to the day since then-education minister Christy Clark first brought in the unconstitutional legislation. The work to repair the damage to public education has only just begun."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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