The Supreme Court of Canada issued a rare verbal decision Thursday on the union rights case that involved federal and provincial governments.

B.C. teachers celebrate top court ruling on class size

Supreme Court backs union on class size, special needs, overturning 2002 legislation introduced by Christy Clark as education minister

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation and other provincial unions are celebrating victory in their long-running legal battle with the B.C. government over control of class size and special needs support in public schools.

BCTF president Glen Hansman was at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa for the decision Thursday, which was delivered verbally in an unusually short time.

“We are jubilant to say the least,” Hansman told Global TV.

Hansman said the decision upholds a 2012 B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the legislation violated the union’s constitutional right to collective bargaining, and will compel the B.C. government to add as much as $300 million to the education budget to hire more teachers.

Education Minister Mike Bernier was not immediately available to comment on the ruling.

When the Supreme Court of Canada agreed in January to hear the appeal, Bernier said it wouldn’t disrupt the school system because of a five-year settlement negotiated with the BCTF in 2014.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Thursday the court’s seven-to-two decision came more quickly than anyone expected, leaving the government more time to negotiate a settlement based on the contract language removed by legislation in 2002.

It also leaves time for the cost of a settlement to be included in the 2017 budget, to be tabled in February. De Jong would not comment on the BCTF’s estimate of the cost of adding more staff to classrooms across the province.

The 2014 contract settlement came after a long, bitter strike that saw the government send out $40-a-day child care payments to 230,000 families for 13 school days lost due to strike action in the fall.

NDP leader John Horgan said the decision puts public education back into the spotlight for the May 2017 provincial election, since it ends a bitter dispute that began in 2002 when Premier Christy Clark was the education minister who removed class size and special needs support provisions from the BCTF contract.

“After 14 years of disrespect for classrooms, the end of the road has finally arrived for Christy Clark and her war on public education,” Horgan said. “This is a great day for public education  in British Columbia, and it is a day for some accountability from the B.C. Liberals.”

B.C. Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger, a former BCTF president, posted a picture celebrating the decision, which came less than a half an hour after the nine judges of the Supreme Court of Canada heard from an array of union and government lawyers in Ottawa Thursday.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

Loretta Hibbs (right), founder and president of Surrey-based City Dream Centre, with Kelly Voros (foreground), the organization's executive administrator. (submitted photo)
‘Pumpkin patch’ brought to Surrey inner-city schools where COVID cancelled field trips

Work done by volunteers with Surrey-based City Dream Centre

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Most Read