The collective agreement between the British Columbia Teachers' Federation (BCTF) representing the province's public school teachers, and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) representing the province's 60 public boards of education, expired on June 30, 2019.
The parties commenced collective bargaining for a renewed Provincial Collective Agreement on February 19, 2019.
After over 50 bargaining sessions, and in an effort to move the parties toward meaningful and productive discussions, in June BCPSEA applied to the Labour Relations Board (LRB) to appoint a mediator. The LRB appointed David Schaub as mediator and the parties continued to meet on dates during July and August with the assistance of Mr. Schaub, meeting a total of 69 times since bargaining commenced through to October 1, 2019.
Having made no further progress at the table, on October 1 BCPSEA asked the mediator to file a report under Section 74(5) of the Labour Relations Code in relation to the negotiations between BCPSEA and the BCTF for a renewed Provincial Collective Agreement.
Mediator David Schaub presented his Report and Recommendations for Settlement Between the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation to the parties on November 1. The mediator provided clear direction that the details of the report remain confidential and asked that both parties advise him by the end of day Friday, November 8, 2019 whether their respective executives would make a recommendation to their members to endorse the recommendations for settlement contained in his report.
In a statement released November 8, BCPSEA Board Chair Alan Chell stated that the "...BCPSEA Board of Directors was surprised and disappointed to be advised that the BCTF Executive had rejected the mediator's recommendations for settlement and would not take them forward for a vote of the BCTF membership. In our view, this is a missed opportunity to work with the mediator to create a pathway to move forward."
Statement from BCPSEA Board Chair Alan Chell
The Mediator’s Recommendations for Settlement: At a Glance
BCPSEA and the BCTF met with Mediator David Schaub on December 10 and 11 and engaged in discussion focused on identifying topics that the parties would discuss in the new year.
Mediator David Schaub left the parties with some concepts to consider and indicated that he would contact the parties in the new year to determine availability to meet.
The mediator has now scheduled meeting dates for the parties on February 27 and 28, 2020, with further meeting dates identified for March.
The mediator requested - and BCPSEA is respecting - a media blackout while the mediation process is underway.
Conclusion of Bargaining
On March 26, 2020, in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Public School Employers' Association and the BC Teachers' Federation announced that they had reached a tentative Provincial Collective Agreement.
The parties announced that the agreement is for a three-year term and further details would be released after ratification by public boards of education and public school teachers.
After completion of their respective ratification processes with their members, BCPSEA and the BCTF both announced on May 1, 2020 that their respective members had ratified the Provincial Collective Agreement reached on March 26, 2020.
The proposed agreement, achieved with the assistance of mediator David Schaub, is for a three-year term July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022. The agreement includes general wage increases of 2% on July 1 in each year of the agreement; a 1% increase to the top step of the teacher salary grid in each district effective July 1, 2020; an increase to the starting rate for teachers in a contract position; and a one-time amount of $12 million to provide mentorship opportunities for early career teachers.
In addition, during the term of the collective agreement and with the assistance of a mediator appointed by the Labour Relations Board, the parties will engage in a process under section 53 of the Labour Relations Code, which will include discussion of the bargaining structure.