Education Minister Jeff Johnson is drawing fire from the Alberta Teachers' Association after he sent an email to trustees of the province's 62 school boards on Friday night, an email teachers believe interferes with local contract negotiations.
The email said contract negotiations are over, and the province won't budge on what it's already offered.
A spokesman for the teachers' association, Jonathan Teghtmeyer, claims the minister is interfering with local decisions.
"He's ignoring with this directive what the role of school boards is. As the funder [provider of funds], he gets to determine how much money gets granted to boards. But boards need to make decisions based on their local area, on how to spend that money," Teghtmeyer said.
In his email, Johnson said school boards must negotiate a three-year wage freeze with teachers, and a salary increases of no more than two per cent in the fourth year.
He said the government won't pay for anything more.
"This is a minister who seems completely set on dictating what is going to happen in local negotiations. It is standing in the way of settlements and standing in the way of stability," Teghtmeyer said.
It's not the first time Johnson has been criticized for sending emails.
He is being investigated by the province's privacy commissioner for sending emails to teachers about contract negotiations, which in some cases were sent to their private email accounts.
Commissioner Jill Clayton said she will investigate to see if Johnson's email to the teachers complied with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
She said she will make recommendations to make sure the provincial education department collects, uses and discloses teachers' contract information in accordance with the act.
Once the investigation is complete, she will make public her report, she said.