British Columbia

B.C. teachers begin withdrawal from volunteer activities

Thousands of teachers across B.C. will no longer be volunteering in extracurricular activities, as they begin the next phase of their ongoing job action on Monday morning.

Thousands of teachers across B.C. will no longer be volunteering in extracurricular activities, as they begin the next phase of their ongoing job action on Monday morning.

Last week, the members of the B.C. Teachers Federation voted 73 per cent in favour of withdrawing the volunteer services such as coaching school teams, directing theatre productions and planning graduation ceremonies.

But some teachers have said they plan to continue their volunteer activities, and parents and school administrators may step in to volunteer to keep other activities running.

Surrey School District spokesman Doug Strachan says it isn't yet clear how widespread the impact will be.

"Certainly we expect there will be an impact, but we don't know is to what degree," said Strachan.

"We have parent volunteers, community coaches who can see through a number of events for athletics, but we don't know until it plays out."

'Unhappy students ... unhappy parents'

But Jameel Aziz, president of the B.C. Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, says there are just too many activities for administrators to cover the contributions of teachers.

"We are not able to step in and provide the support that all of those activities would require, because — No. 1 — we're just one person generally in each building — and No. 2 — we would have to prioritize the activities and we're not prepared to do that."

"We're going to have unhappy students, we're going to have unhappy parents."

Teachers will have some work to fill their schedules. Last week, the Labour Relations Board ruled teachers will have to issue spring report cards by April 27.

B.C.'s 41,000 teachers have been without a contract since last June and began limited job action in September. The government has appointed a mediator to try to find a solution to the ongoing contract dispute.

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