B.C. Premier Christy Clark was questioned by reporters Friday in Pitt Meadows

LRB urged to make exams, grades essential in full teachers strike

Request by province comes ahead of BCTF vote on total walkout (WITH AUDIO)

The province wants completion of secondary school exams and report cards declared an essential service to protect students in the ongoing B.C. teachers strike.

The application to extend essential services and avoid “serious and immediate damage” to students was filed Friday with the Labour Relations Board by the B.C. Public School Employers Association.

The proposed widening of the existing essential services order so Grade 10 to 12 students can finish the school year and get their final grades would only apply if the B.C. Teachers Federation escalates to a full strike from one-day-a-week rotating strikes in each district.

Teachers are voting Monday and Tuesday on a move to a full strike, which could come as soon as June 16.

RELATED: BCTF rotating strike schedule for June 10-13

The requested order would cover not just teachers but support staff represented by CUPE and other unions that would not cross teachers’ picket lines.

That would also ensure new special needs students are designated and payroll processing continues.

The request covers all services needed to prepare, run and mark all provincial and school-based exams as well as compile and enter final grades.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender had previously insisted – without explanation – that exams and final grading would not be disrupted.

The application says failure to deliver final grades would leave graduating students ineligible for scholarships and potentially unable to apply to post-secondary institutions or employers.

“Depriving Grade 12 students of post-secondary opportunities which may not be replaceable would clearly threaten the welfare of these students.”

Grade 10 and 11 grades are also needed for access to bursaries or scholarships and appropriate placement in the next year’s classes, it said.

The BCTF has warned its members that its strike pay fund is virtually empty.

Teachers have already been subject to a 10 per cent pay cut as a result of a partial lockout restricting their hours that was imposed by school employers and upheld Wednesday by the LRB.

Premier Christy Clark, questioned by Black Press in Pitt Meadows Friday, said she first wants a settlement on wage increases for teachers ahead of further consideration of changes to class size and composition.

“Teachers deserve a raise too,” Clark said. “I think we can get there. But we have to decide we’re going to roll up our sleeves, be serious about bargaining and decide that there is a will to get this done without putting kids in the middle of the fight.”

– with files from Monisha Martins

Just Posted

Country and bluegrass festival returns to Quesnel next week

Seventeen bands will perform in the 22nd annual festival, from April 25-28

Learn more about the possibilities of CoWorking in Quesnel at April 23 meeting

Community Futures North Cariboo has started a CoWorking Takeover Challenge

Letter: Concerned about options considered for caribou recovery

“The exploding wolf population is the cause of the depleting caribou and moose herds,” writes Frank Dorsey

Forestry Ink: Eight companies control 50 per cent of B.C.’s public forest tenures

Columnist Jim Hilton looks at the apportionment of timber rights and Annual Allowable Cut

‘My life was saved at an OPS site’

CSUN raises awareness about Overdose Prevention Services sites on National Day of Action in Quesnel

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

Building a better learning environment for B.C. students

Minister’s message for Education Week, April 23-27

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Most Read