British Columbia

B.C.'s education minister may fire Vancouver School Board

B.C.'s education minister says the unprecedented situation of bullying allegations against Vancouver School Board staff could force him to replace the trustees.

Tough talk from Mike Bernier in light of bullying allegations against VSB

Education minister Mike Bernier says every single day he shakes his head at the VSB's lack of decision-making. (Genevieve Milord/Radio Canada )

B.C.'s education minister says the unprecedented situation of bullying accusations against Vancouver School Board staff could force him to replace the trustees. 

"That is something I will be seriously considering, but I don't want to jump to that, now that we have a situation with WorkSafeBC," said Bernier. 

WorkSafe is investigating allegations of a toxic work environment at the board office. 

Six senior managers are on medical leave. 

"Which is pretty well the entire senior staff of the Vancouver School Board off on sick leave. That's very disheartening. It's very troubling," said Bernier. 

No school closures 

Bernier is also puzzled the VSB has voted to suspend discussions about closing up to 11 schools in the city. 

"It's unfortunate, after all this time, after all of the stress they've put on students and parents, that they would really, out of nowhere, cancel that process," said Bernier. 

The VSB's consultation method has been under heavy criticism from the public. 

VSB chair Mike Lombardi says only three unoccupied school annexes are slated for closure. (Genevieve Milord/Radio Canada)

But that's just one reason why the schools won't be closed, according to VSB chair Mike Lombardi 

"We're in an election season. I expect we will be getting additional funding and so will other school boards that deserve it in British Columbia," he said.

"Schools will be able to carry on with planning activities, and what we'll be doing is waiting for reports to come from staff." 

Board in trouble

The minister says the board seems to be floundering on making good decisions. 

"If I was a parent here in Vancouver, I would really have to look long and hard at the decisions that the Vancouver School Board is not making at the detriment of programs for my children," said Bernier. 

"I think at some point parents have to start saying enough is enough." 

There's no word on how long WorkSafeBC will take with its investigation. 

Bernier hopes it won't be long, so he can make a decision on the board's fate.