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The ticking clock on B.C. education Add to ...


For the teachers:

Strike vote: Polls closed at 8 p.m., Feb. 29; results announced Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

Notice: If union members vote in favour of a strike, the union must provide two school days’ notice to employers to be in a legal strike position. The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association says it would consider notice given at 9 a.m. a full day’s notice. So if notice were given at 9 a.m. Thursday, teachers would be in a legal walkout position by Monday, March 5.

Walkout: Under an interim order issued by the Labour Relations Board on Feb. 28, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation can escalate its job action up to a complete withdrawal of services for three days in a row during the first week of stepped-up strike action and for one day a week after that. The order is to be reviewed weekly from March 12.

For the government:

The legislation: Bill 22, the Education Improvement Act, received first reading on Feb. 28. It does not impose a new contract, but provides a cooling-off period to Aug. 31, suspends any strike and lockout activity and installs a mediator, who must work within the government’s net-zero mandate. Before coming into effect, the bill must go through second reading, committee and third reading. The timing of the legislation coming into effect will depend on Opposition tactics and whether the government imposes a time limit on debate. But the process could take more than a week – providing a window for a legal strike.

Wendy Stueck

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