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B.C. government failed to comply with court order on class sizes, union alleges

British Columbia teachers protest for better student learning conditions outside the cabinet offices of the provincial government in Vancouver on March 18, 2013.

Andy Clark/Reuters

The head of the B.C. Teachers Federation says the provincial government didn't comply with a court order and students in B.C. are still being taught in overcrowded classrooms without the help of specialized teachers.

In 2011, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the government violated teachers' bargaining rights in legislation that stripped them of their constitutional right to bargain for issues such as class size and class composition.

Justice Susan Griffin gave the province a year to address her decision, but BCTF president Jim Iker says the government failed to repeal or amend the legislation, forcing students to learn in crowded conditions without access to specialist teachers.

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New legislation the government brought in that included $200-million in added funding has been rejected by the union.

The provincial government has pegged the cost of reinstating the provisions of the contract at $6-billion. While Iker insists that figure is unrealistic, he refused to provide an estimate of costs to taxpayers.

Teachers have been without a contract since June, and negotiations are expected to begin in October.

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