B.C. Teachers Federation president Susan Lambert.

B.C. Teachers Federation president Susan Lambert.

Teachers to yank after-school activities, face LRB order on report cards

BCTF votes 73 per cent to withdraw extra-curricular activities as ruling orders teachers to complete report cards

Public school teachers have voted 73 per cent to withdraw extracurricular activities province-wide to intensify pressure on the provincial government in the continuing labour dispute.

The vote of the B.C. Teachers Federation could affect everything from high school graduation ceremonies to upcoming sports events.

Meanwhile, a decision of B.C.’s Labour Relations Board has ordered unionized teachers to prepare second term report cards immediately, something some had resisted as part of job action.

The ruling gives teachers until April 27 to have them ready.

Public school teachers briefly went on a limited strike in March until the provincial government passed Bill 22, legislating them back to work with a six-month cooling off period.

A total of 21,625 teachers voted yes, while 7,846 voted no.

BCTF president Susan Lambert said the vote was an emotional one for teachers because cancelling extracurricular activities was a wrenching choice.

“Teachers struggle with this because these activities bring so much joy to our engagement with students,” she said. “We know this will mean the loss of some highly-valued activities, and we sincerely regret that. But we have to look at the bigger picture and the longer term.”

It’s expected to pit teachers who still want to coach teams and run student clubs in defiance of the BCTF decision against more militant teachers who will be able to ask their union locals to take disciplinary action.

Lambert said the vote “sends a powerful message to government” to rethink Bill 22, which the federation says weakens limits on class size and composition.

Education Minister George Abbott told reporters the BCTF vote to ban extracurricular activities will divide teachers, punish students and leave parents overseeing functions like grad ceremonies.

“My hope is that the BCTF will not take any opportunity to insert so-called moral suasion to keep teachers from volunteering,” Abbott said.

“It’s their personal decision. And I don’t believe it’s appropriate for the BCTF to be trying to interfere in that. This is going to be a big issue for them if they try to do that.”

Abbott also defended his choice of a mediator in the dispute, Dr. Charles Jago, who the BCTF alleges is biased.

“I could have asked the Dalai Lama,” Abbott said, adding he likely would have drawn the same complaints.

He said he hopes teachers sit down and negotiate through Jago.

If talks with the BCTF fail to reach a mediated settlement, Abbott said, the government would likely legislate a two-year contract, ending June 30, 2013.

Abbott said he can’t guarantee that the dispute won’t disrupt the start of the school year next fall.

The action plan approved by the BCTF membership also calls for a public awareness campaign to mobilize public opposition to Bill 22, a possible future vote on a full withdrawal of services and work in advance of the May 2013 election “to bring in a new government” that will repeal the legislation.

Just Posted

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read