On Monday, March 14, delegates at the annual general meeting of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation voted 61 per cent in favour of having their organization rejoin the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
After an eight-year absence, teachers in British Columbia will once again be members of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).
On March 14, delegates at the annual general meeting of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) voted approximately 60 per cent in favour of having their organization rejoin the CTF.
“We’re very pleased about that because now the CTF will represent teachers from coast to coast to coast, which we feel is essential,” said CTF president Heather Smith.
While having B.C. teachers back in the fold will improve the solidarity of Canadian teachers, it will also strengthen the CTF due to the BCTF’s solid reputation within Canada and internationally.
“It certainly strengthens the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. They have great research assets and others that we can share more openly,” Smith said.
Alberta Teachers’ Association president Mark Ramsankar, who is also a CTF vice-president, said B.C. has common issues related to the western provinces.
“Rejoining the CTF unifies the west and helps carry the voice of western provinces to the national stage,” he said.
It was a narrower vote at the 2008 AGM that led to the BCTF leaving the CTF. At that time, it was felt that the CTF wasn’t a progressive or responsive enough voice for teachers, students and public education, said BCTF president Jim Iker, who was a vice-president in 2008.
The recommendation to rejoin was brought forward by BCTF’s executive, following months of exploring the pros and cons, and a couple of years in discussions with the CTF, Iker said. Factors that contributed to the return were the CTF’s support during the last two rounds of bargaining in B.C. as well as its advocacy work in recent years.
“The direction that the Canadian Teachers’ Federation has been moving in the last number of years is basically aligning with our values, becoming a much more progressive federation in terms of the issues,” Iker said.
“I’m very happy and proud that we are going to be back in the CTF.” ❚