$40 a day for parents if BCTF strike drags on

Finance Minister offers payment for each child under 13 to cover tutoring or daycare if more school days lost in September

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – If the teacher strike isn’t settled by September, the B.C. government will use the payroll savings to pay $40 per missed school day to parents of children under 13, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Thursday.

Negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation remain stalled after a two-week strike in June that cost the province’s 40,000 public school teachers $12 million a day in salary. That’s the estimated cost of the support program aimed to go toward tutoring or daycare for younger children if they can’t go to school.

De Jong said older children don’t require as much supervision, and have online options to maintain their studies if the labour dispute takes more instructional time away. The amount was chosen to compensate families of 300,000 children up to age 12 in public school at no net cost to the provincial budget.

Parents would have to register online to be eligible for compensation, to be paid by October.

De Jong said there are five weeks remaining in the summer break for most public schools to reach a settlement with the BCTF, and he hopes the program won’t be needed.

BCTF president Jim Iker termed the move “a blatant and divisive attempt to prolong disruption in B.C. schools” and renewed his call for a mediator to help bridge the differences between the government and the union.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender and school district negotiators say the BCTF’s contract demands are far out of step with other unions, particularly on increased classroom preparation time and other benefit improvements. The long-running dispute over class size and special needs support is headed back to court this fall.

De Jong reiterated that there is no plan to recall the B.C. legislature before a fall session scheduled to begin Oct. 6. He said the history of imposed of settlements on the BCTF may have contributed to the chronic failure to negotiate agreements with the union.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming called the announcement a “trial balloon” that suggests the dispute may be months away from resolution.

“I think parents are going to look at this and say, ‘you know what, school is not daycare’,” Fleming said.

Just Posted

Ministry denies request for air quality monitoring in Revelstoke

Revelstoke City Council’s request that an air quality monitoring system be re-established… Continue reading

More wildfires discovered near Lumby, Cherryville

Canadian Armed Troops in Okanagan, Mabel Creek blaze creeps towards lake

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

UPDATE: Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to pull herself from case

Judge Monica McParland has refused to pull herself off the case.

Okanagan water board seeks mussels funding

Okanagan Basin Water Board sends request to new federal fisheries minister

Armed Troops in Okanagan to help firefighters

Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Vernon Thursday, being deployed to West Kelowna fire

Cool Creek blaze near Princeton growing with “extreme fire behaviour”

The Cool Creek Fire burning 22 km east of Eastgate has merged… Continue reading

UPDATE: BC Wildfire boxes in Summerland blaze

A fire sparked earlier in the evening near Summerland is “completely boxed… Continue reading

New blaze near Summerland highly visible

Provincial crews are responding Friday evening to a new fire west of… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

Most Read