Not a Love Story: The shared history of Christy Clark and the BC Teachers’ Federation

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Calling it “Christy Clark’s lockout” in a news conference earlier today, BC Teacher’s Federation President Jim Iker blasted the government’s latest move to cut teachers wages and lock them out.


Iker directly blamed Clark for the fallout from any lockout action over the next month.

“In adopting this strategy, Christy Clark could be the cause of many cancelled field trips, sports tournaments, theatre productions, music concerts, and many other events that BC kids were looking forward to.”



So what is the relationship between Christy Clark and the BC Teachers’ Federation? It dates back to 2002, shortly after the BC Liberals beat the BC NDP in the 2001 provincial election and Gordon Campbell was elected Premier.


Timeline of Dispute 2002 – 2014

January 2002:
Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government, with Christy Clark as Minister of Education, tears up teachers’ collective agreements.
**This move cuts $336 million annually from public education.
Bills 27 and 28 are enacted and do the following:
  • eliminate protections on class size and composition
  • cut support for kids with special needs
  • strip teachers of bargaining rights.
Sept-Oct 2005:
Teachers vote to begin job action. Teachers vote 90.5% in favour of withdrawing services. Teachers’ protests last two weeks.
September 2006:
A new five-year agreement is reached. It gives teachers a very modest salary increase. Lowest paid districts receive slightly more.
2006–2011 percentage increases for BC teachers’ pay:
minimum: about 14.0%
maximum: about 21.5%.
June 2007:
The Supreme Court of Canada declares the BC Liberal government’s 2002 Bill 29 unconstitutional and affirms that workers’ rights to collectively bargain their working conditions are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
April 2011:
BC Supreme Court rules 2002’s Bills 27 and 28 unconstitutional for removing teachers’ right to bargain on class size and composition, while also stripping guarantees for class size and support for students with special needs. The government is given one year to remedy and reinstate bargaining rights.
June 2011:
90% of teachers vote “yes” in a province-wide vote to begin job action and withdraw administrative work in September
February 2012:
The Liberal government introduces a new Bill 22. The new legislation suspends teachers’ strike action, establishes a “cooling off” period and appoints a mediator to work with the parties toward a negotiated agreement.
The government threatens to impose contract conditions and prevent further job action.
March 2012:
Teachers begin three-day strike to protest the government’s refusal to negotiate class size and other key issues.
April 2012:
Bill 22 passes. Government imposes fines that threaten to cost the teachers more than $20 million a day for any additional striking. But the key issues teachers are standing up for remain unresolved. Teachers vote in favour of suspending their volunteer work on all extracurricular activities.
June 2012:
BCTF files court action over the failure of government to address the BC Supreme Court’s ruling that they restore bargaining rights on key issues like class size, composition and staffing levels.
June 2013:
Teachers’ contracts expire.
January 2014:
A BC Supreme Court ruling finds government’s Bill 22 on classroom composition was unconstitutional. Bill 22 was enacted by the government after  Bill 28 was ruled unconstitutional in 2011.
Justice Susan Griffin ordered the government to restore teacher’s bargaining rights and pay the teacher’s union $2 million in damages.

Read the BC Supreme Ruling

In her ruling,  Madame Justice Griffin sets out a detailed account of the history between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the government.

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