$40 a day for parents if BCTF strike drags on

Finance Minister offers payment for each child under 13 to cover tutoring or daycare if more school days lost in September

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – If the teacher strike isn’t settled by September, the B.C. government will use the payroll savings to pay $40 per missed school day to parents of children under 13, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Thursday.

Negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation remain stalled after a two-week strike in June that cost the province’s 40,000 public school teachers $12 million a day in salary. That’s the estimated cost of the support program aimed to go toward tutoring or daycare for younger children if they can’t go to school.

De Jong said older children don’t require as much supervision, and have online options to maintain their studies if the labour dispute takes more instructional time away. The amount was chosen to compensate families of 300,000 children up to age 12 in public school at no net cost to the provincial budget.

Parents would have to register online to be eligible for compensation, to be paid by October.

De Jong said there are five weeks remaining in the summer break for most public schools to reach a settlement with the BCTF, and he hopes the program won’t be needed.

BCTF president Jim Iker termed the move “a blatant and divisive attempt to prolong disruption in B.C. schools” and renewed his call for a mediator to help bridge the differences between the government and the union.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender and school district negotiators say the BCTF’s contract demands are far out of step with other unions, particularly on increased classroom preparation time and other benefit improvements. The long-running dispute over class size and special needs support is headed back to court this fall.

De Jong reiterated that there is no plan to recall the B.C. legislature before a fall session scheduled to begin Oct. 6. He said the history of imposed of settlements on the BCTF may have contributed to the chronic failure to negotiate agreements with the union.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming called the announcement a “trial balloon” that suggests the dispute may be months away from resolution.

“I think parents are going to look at this and say, ‘you know what, school is not daycare’,” Fleming said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public weighs in on Sooke municipal budget

Homeowners face 6.58% tax hike

PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

The ferries will run two gulf island routes in upcoming months

Expansive bike park, skate park coming to Topaz Park

City approves $8 million-investment in park’s revitalization

Saanich, West Shore see rise in break and enters to start winter

Other Greater Victoria numbers remain stable

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en activists say Victoria arrests a ‘perpetuation of violence’

Group demonstrating in Victoria in protest of Coastal GasLink pipeline

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Dashcam records driver’s near-miss near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Most Read