British Columbia

B.C. teachers' union launches grievance due to teacher shortage

The B.C. Teachers' Federation has launched a provincial grievance because it doesn't think the government has done enough to recruit teachers to fill the shortage.

B.C. Teachers' Federation wants to see government take 'bold' action on the issue

The BCTF says it has launched a grievance against the province due to the ongoing teachers' shortage. (Krit Kani/Shutterstock)

The B.C. Teachers' Federation has launched a grievance because of the province's ongoing teacher shortage.

President Glen Hansman said there are still significant teacher shortages in Vancouver, Victoria and several school districts in the Interior, such as Kamloops, Quesnel, and Salmon Arm.

"We have places that are relying upon people who aren't certified, individuals who have university degrees but don't have a teaching certificate," Hansman said.

"[There are] places where on a daily basis they don't have enough teachers on call to go around so the special ed teacher is redeployed and sent into a classroom position for the day.

"This means the kids who are supposed to be getting special education accommodations aren't getting them."

Hansman said these issues have led to a "disruptive" school year and could lead to more disruptions in September.

The BCTF has launched a provincial grievance, which is now in arbitration.

Listen to Glen Hansman on CBC's The Early Edition:

'Bold' action required: union

The government hired 3,500 teachers last year as part of its obligations stemming from a Supreme Court decision that favoured the union on class size and composition.

Earlier this year, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced another $571,000 to train more than 100 teachers in fields such as special education, French, math and physics.

British Columbia Teachers' Federation president Glen Hansman wants to see the province take bold action to address the staff shortage. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

But Hansman said it will be years before those teachers are trained and ready for the workforce.

He said he wants the province to take "bold" action — especially because the high cost of living is a significant hurdle to attracting teachers to B.C.

Some of the proposals the union has put forward include:

  • Housing and moving allowances accessible in all school district.s
  • Mentorship programs.
  • Waiving fees for retiring teachers who are trying to re-certify.
  • Expanding access to the current rural and remote allowance.
  • A student loan forgiveness program.
  • A shortened salary grid to make teachers' starting wages more competitive with other provinces.

Hansman said the province still needs thousands more teachers. The union is set to negotiate a new collective agreement in October.

With files from The Early Edition

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