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

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 16

First diesel train, bitterly cold weather and testing a magnetometer

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Scared by my latest hydro bill

Luckily I have set up an equal payment plan with BC Hydro… Continue reading

Snow, snow and snow for Revelstoke

The white stuff will continue to fall into next week

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

Have your say on what it takes raising toddlers in Revelstoke

The study started collecting data last summer and is expected to continue until at least May

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read