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

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

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

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read