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

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read