It remains to be determined who will be mediating the B.C. teacher's contract dispute or when talks will resume, after veteran labour mediator Vince Ready turned down the job on Sunday.

Officially, Ready has said he is too busy to mediate a solution to the strike by the province's teachers' union, but political insiders say he likely avoiding the difficult dispute.

Former NDP labour minister Moe Sihota told the CBC "the parties are too far apart" for Ready to get involved.

"He doesn't think can bring them close enough to bring forward a resolution," said Sihota on Monday morning.

Former B.C. Liberal finance minister Colin Hansen agreed.

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)

"I suspect that's the real reason Vince Ready would not take on this particular challenge."

Hansen says the BCTF will likely continue to look for a new mediator, but he doesn't think mediation will ultimately lead to a settlement.

The BCTF called for Premier Christy Clark to appoint Ready as a mediator in the dispute on Thursday, after two days of fruitless bargaining talks with the government, saying Ready was the only hope for a timely solution.

That prompted the original appointed facilitator Mark Brown to resign.

Then, on Friday, the provincial government agreed to accept Ready as mediator, but on Sunday the CBC learned from government sources he was not available.


Speakers at a rally in support of B.C.'s striking teachers called on the provincial government Thursday to appoint a mediator to try and bring an end to the dispute. (CBC)

BCTF will continue to look for a new mediator, but he doesn't think mediation will ultimately lead to a settlement.

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

There are no talks scheduled between the two sides and it remains unclear when they will resume.

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