Veteran labour mediator Vince Ready has declined to mediate the dispute between the B.C. government and the province's teachers' union.

Ready's reason for declining both sides' request to work as a mediator is simply that he is too busy.

Ready has been working in mediation for more than 30 years and has worked on more than 7,000 labour and commercial disputes in Canada.

He was recently retained for another 90 days to help resolve the ongoing dispute between truck drivers and Port Metro Vancouver.

After announcing on Thursday that there had been no progress in the previous two days of bargaining, the B.C. Teachers' Federation had called for Ready's appointment.

Mediator Vince Ready

Veteran labour mediator Vince Ready is seen here greeting representatives of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association during the Port Metro truckers' strike in March. (CBC)

The union had said Ready was the only hope for a timely solution, and on Friday the provincial government agreed to accept Ready as mediator.

Earlier this week, Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the government and the teachers' union weren't "even close" to a deal.

Despite months of bargaining and ongoing teachers' strikes, the two sides are still far apart on the monetary aspects of a deal, including the key issues of wages, class size and composition.

The provincial government claims the union's latest proposal equates to double the cost of the average public-sector contract in combined wages, benefits and signing bonus.

With files from the CBC's Stephen Smart, Chad Pawson and the Canadian Press