The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has filed a labour dispute with the province over the government’s COVID-19 back-to-school plan.

In a statement posted to the BCTF website on Friday, the Federation says they have submitted an application under Section 88 of the BC Labour Relations Code.

Section 88 allows for applications to the Labour Relations Board under disputes arising from collective agreements.

Depending on the Board’s decisions, they can make recommendations for settlement, and order an arbitration process under collective agreement or a specially appointed officer.

“Our hope is to get the government to address the many communication, process, and health and safety problems of their restart plan,” said BCTF President Teri Mooring.

“Critically, our application seeks to enhance the enforcement measures to ensure school districts take all possible actions to keep teachers and students safe.”

In a letter addressed to Education Minister Rob Fleming on September 14, the BCTF outlined a list of demands they said would enforce consistency across the province’s K-12 system:

  • direct all school districts to provide every BCTF member a face shield.
  • direct all school districts to offer a remote learning option that is available to all students.
  • direct all school districts to provide dedicated staffing for remote option learning programs, rather than adding this work to the existing workload of classroom teachers.

During a press conference on Friday, Fleming deflected questions about the dispute as the matter is before the Labour Relations Board.