As he prepares to introduce legislation Tuesday to enforce a contract between teachers and the school boards, Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson says his next job will be to fix the bargaining process.
A deal brokered in March between the province and the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) was set to expire on Monday afternoon unless all 62 school boards and union locals ratified it.
The Calgary Board of Education and two ATA locals were the only holdouts.
Bill 26, the Assurance for Students Act, set to be tabled Tuesday, will legislate the deal into force.
The fact that opposition from just the Calgary board and a couple of locals could have scuttled the deal indicates something must change, Johnson said
"The bargaining process in this province is broken," he said.
"You know school boards are incredibly valuable in this province they do a lot of great work. But I would submit to you that negotiating their local teacher contract is not the most important thing they do," Johnson said.
Trina Hurdman, a parent and a member of the Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Calgary Schools said she’s relieved the province is going to legislate the deal into effect.
"I think parents will be very happy that we have four years of labour peace and that we won't have to worry about any strikes or job actions," she said.
Johnson noted that B.C. and Saskatchewan have already changed the way they reach teacher contracts.
He said he will meet with teachers and school board associations to come up with a new model.
"The role of school boards has evolved over time but the bargaining structure has not evolved. So one of the next things we have to do is have a discussion … so we're not in a situation in the future where one school board can hold the entire province hostage and hold up a deal for 600,000 kids ," he said.