OTTAWA – Leaders of 17 provincial and territorial teacher organizations are pleased that clauses and provisions in signed collective agreements cannot be removed at the whim of legislative powers as a result of a landmark decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada on Nov. 10.
The teacher leaders, in Ottawa on Nov. 15 and 16 for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) board of directors meeting, were buoyed by the court’s decision in favour of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), whose legal battles date back to 2002.
Leaders hope the decision will help to realign the actions of the Nova Scotia government, which is currently embroiled in a labour dispute with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, a CTF member organization. Teachers in the province have given a strong strike mandate and are in a position to take job action as early as Dec. 3 after rejecting two tentative agreements that failed to address deteriorating classroom conditions, the quality of education, more efficient and effective investment in the public school system, or fair compensation for the important role teachers play in our society.
The Supreme Court’s decision prompted teacher leaders to issue the following statement:
“Teacher leaders of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) applaud the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision of Nov. 10, 2016, which reaffirms the right to collective bargaining as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Respecting the tools and mechanisms readily available in the collective bargaining process to resolve disputes would avoid legislation aimed at limiting or stripping away bargaining rights.
“Our freedom to associate has long been recognized internationally and in Canada as an important aspect of a fair and democratic society. Our collective action helps protect individuals from unfairness in one of the most fundamental aspects of their lives, their employment.
“CTF and all member organizations will collectively and vigorously oppose any attempts by governments and employers of teachers to unilaterally determine working conditions for teachers or to otherwise undermine the principles of collective bargaining.” ❚