Who We Are
The BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) supports public education through innovative human resource practices, services, and partnerships. As the employers’ association and accredited bargaining agent for the province’s 60 public boards of education, we provide a full range of human resource services with a focus on the development, coordination and facilitation of human resources best practices.
On March 6, 1992, the provincial government established the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service and Public Sector with mediator/arbitrator Judi Korbin as commissioner. The mandate of the commission was to:
- examine the human resource practices of the public sector; and
- propose a new framework of human resource management that allowed government to meet the public's demand for services within fiscal limitations.
Human resources, with specific emphasis on labour relations in the public education sector, were among the areas of inquiry and recommendation by the Commission. On July 9, 1993, the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service and Public Sector was released, establishing the basis for legislation to change the structure of the public sector. Soon after, on July 27, the Public Sector Employers Act (PSEA) was passed, establishing the Public Sector Employers' Council (PSEC) and employers' associations in six sectors of the public sector:
- K-12 public education
- social services
- colleges and institutes
- crown corporations, agencies and commissions.
As a result, BC's K-12 sector changed significantly. In May 1994, BCPSEA was formed. On June 7, the Public Education Labour Relations Act (PELRA) was passed, which established BCPSEA as the accredited bargaining agent for all school boards and the BCTF as the certified bargaining agent for all public school teachers in the province. PELRA also established, in general, the scope of teacher bargaining, with all cost provisions to be negotiated at the provincial level, such as salaries and benefits.
From May through August of 1994, the BCPSEA Constitution and Bylaws were developed in accordance with the provisions of PELRA.
In September 1996, a question arose as to whether the BCPSEA's accreditation also covered support staff. On July 29, 1998, the Public Education Labour Relations Act was amended to affirm BCPSEA's accreditation status relating to support staff.
BCPSEA now operates as a full service employers' association for the K-12 sector.
What We Do
Representatives from the 60 boards of education elect nine school trustees to the Board of Directors including the Chair and the Vice-Chair; they are joined by four government representatives and a non-voting representative each from the BC School Superintendents' Association and the BC Association of School Business Officials.
The Chair of BCPSEA is Melanie Joy from School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake). Hugh Finlayson is the association's chief executive officer.
As the employers’ association, we have responsibility for:
- Promoting effective and cooperative human resources practices in the public school system that contribute to the betterment of public education.
- Coordinating benefits administration among the various school districts in order to maximize coverage in the most cost-effective manner.
- Coordinating compensation for employees who are not subject to collective agreements; in most cases, these are the administrative and management staff in school districts.
- Providing labour relations advice and services to boards of education, including contract interpretation and grievance/arbitration case management.
- Determining collective bargaining objectives for the public education sector.
- Negotiating provincially with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (the teachers’ union) for a provincial teachers’ collective agreement covering the 60 public boards of education and their employees, for coordinating local bargaining between the school boards and their local teachers’ associations.
- Providing assistance, resources and coordination for support staff collective bargaining in our capacity as the accredited bargaining agent for all 60 public boards of education. While bargaining is done at the local board of education level, approval of the negotiated compensation provisions is required by our association.
- Leading the K-12 public education sector in the development and implementation of strategies and resources to address labour market trends and demands to ensure the maintenance of a sustainable, qualified workforce.
- Facilitating the development and implementation of public policy through advice to government and services to school districts. Provide insight and advice on the human resource implications of legislative and policy initiatives.
As a way of facilitating these responsibilities, BCPSEA (along with the other employers' associations in the public sector) is a member of the Public Sector Employers' Council (PSEC), established by the provincial government to provide a link between the government and public sector bodies on compensation and other human resource management issues.