It's nearly the end of the first semester of school and many districts around the province still face a shortage of teachers, prompting questions about the hiring process.  

The Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association says teachers have contacted the association, providing anecdotal accounts of applying for jobs but not being interviewed or hired despite the pressing need for teachers.

"This is something that we started hearing about last year," said Chloe McKnight, president of the teachers' association.

"[The teachers] were contacting us to see if we had any insight about why that might be happening."

The need for more teachers spiked after a Supreme Court of Canada decision last year on class size and composition.

The ruling meant more demand for teachers across the province and created hundreds of extra positions at Vancouver schools.

The association has put a call out to teachers who have applied for jobs with the Vancouver School Board and not heard back.

"We wanted to reach out and try to hear from the people themselves about what they had experienced and what they felt might have been any barriers or challenges to being hired in Vancouver," McKnight told CBC host of The Early Edition Rick Cluff.

The teachers' association hopes to work with the school board to make the application process as easy and accessible as possible, she said.

The association also recently filed a freedom of information request to find out how many people have applied for open teaching positions, how many have been hired and how many have declined job offers.

Recognition of problem

The Vancouver School Board says it does not keep track of the number of applicants, but has hired close to 600 teachers this year.

Chair Janet Fraser said the district recognizes the problem and is working to address it.

"Just because someone applies, it doesn't mean that they'll be offered a position," Fraser said. "We have to be sure that we get good qualified teachers in our classrooms."

Right now, there are about 50 open teaching positions at Vancouver schools.

It's not just openings created by the Supreme Court ruling that need filling, Fraser said. Issues like the cost of living in Vancouver make it particularly challenging to recruit and retain teachers.

"We've also had a significant number of retirements and a significant number of teachers who are resigning to move to other districts," she said. "We work hard to fill the positions and we have to keep doing that because there are continually new vacancies coming up."  

With files from The Early Edition.