British Columbia

B.C. teachers court ruling: Premier Christy Clark 'very pleased,' urges cooperation

The premier and education minister call today's court ruling an opportunity to "lay down the gauntlet" and work together with B.C. Teachers' Federation.

The B.C. Court of Appeal today ruled in the government's favour on class size and composition

Teachers union needs to make demands that are realistic, says B.C. premier 17:51

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said she's "very pleased" with the B.C. Court of Appeal decision in the government's favour in their long-running fight with the B.C. Teachers' Federation, and called it an opportunity for both sides to work together.

In a 4-1 decision Thursday morning, the court sided with the B.C. government and said the province did not violate teachers' constitutional rights when it introduced Bill 22 in 2012 that temporarily limited teacher bargaining on class size and composition.

Clark has previously said she expects the case would eventually land in the Supreme Court of Canada

"It was a very clear and unambiguous decision," she said. "My view has always been that the education system will work better for teachers and students and citizens if we could put the disputes of adults behind us." 

Following Clark's remarks, the teachers' union announced it will appeal the court decision. However, it's not clear if the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.

'Lay down the gauntlet'

The premier, who was education minister in 2002 when the union's bargaining rights were stripped, has been a polarizing figure in the ongoing bitterness with B.C.'s teachers.

But today she offered a conciliatory tone, calling teaching a "noble profession" and praising their work.  

"Our student outcomes in British Columbia are in the top three in the world. And they got there because of the hard work of teachers," said Clark.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender echoed her comments, saying his ministry is committed to working in the best interest of students and teachers.

"Today is another step where we can lay down the gauntlet to each other, and say we're going to focus on student outcomes, we're going to focus on the future of education."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said today's appeal court ruling found the government's actions in stripping teachers of the right to bargain class size and composition in 2002 was constitutional. In fact, the government's actions in 2002 were ruled unconstitutional in 2011, and the government did not appeal. It instead introduced similar legislation in 2012, which was the subject of today's court ruling.
    Apr 30, 2015 4:31 PM PT

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