British Columbia

B.C. teachers' mediation request turned down

B.C. teachers' representatives will have to contiue to attend mediation sessions with government-appointed mediator for the time being, the province's labour board has ruled.

B.C. Labour Relations Board rules mediation sessions must continue for now

Sessions with mediator Charles Jago will continue for now, the labour board has ruled. (CBC)

B.C.'s Labour Relations Board has rejected a request by the teachers' union to temporarily suspend its sessions with a government-appointed mediator.

The B.C. Teachers Federation went to the board earlier this month asking it to fire Charles Jago, claiming he was biased in favour of the provincial government.

While the board was making its decision, the federation wanted it to suspend mediation sessions involving Jago, the BCTF and school employers.

The Labour Board's associate chair Michael Fleming said the BCTF won't be hurt if it has to attend the sessions, while the board contemplates removing Jago.

"I am not persuaded BCTF will suffer any irreparable harm if it attends mediation sessions with Jago, even assuming that ultimately its application to have his appointment quashed were to succeed," he wrote in his decision.

Fleming said granting the BCTF request to suspend the mediation could penalize the other parties if the board ultimately rejects the teachers' claims that Jago is biased.

Union President Susan Lambert said she was disappointed by the ruling because of the remaining uncertainty about Jago's position.

"This ruling kind of sets us into that skirmishing mode rather than going to the heart of the issue," she said.

"What we need to address is whether or not Dr. Jago can actually do the mediation," Lambert said.

The LRB ruling came as teachers wrapped up two days of voting on whether they want to stop taking part in extracurricular activities to protest the government's legislation banning further strike action and appointing Jago as mediator.