$40 a day for parents if BCTF strike drags on

Finance Minister offers payment for each child under 13 to cover tutoring or daycare if more school days lost in September

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – If the teacher strike isn’t settled by September, the B.C. government will use the payroll savings to pay $40 per missed school day to parents of children under 13, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Thursday.

Negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation remain stalled after a two-week strike in June that cost the province’s 40,000 public school teachers $12 million a day in salary. That’s the estimated cost of the support program aimed to go toward tutoring or daycare for younger children if they can’t go to school.

De Jong said older children don’t require as much supervision, and have online options to maintain their studies if the labour dispute takes more instructional time away. The amount was chosen to compensate families of 300,000 children up to age 12 in public school at no net cost to the provincial budget.

Parents would have to register online to be eligible for compensation, to be paid by October.

De Jong said there are five weeks remaining in the summer break for most public schools to reach a settlement with the BCTF, and he hopes the program won’t be needed.

BCTF president Jim Iker termed the move “a blatant and divisive attempt to prolong disruption in B.C. schools” and renewed his call for a mediator to help bridge the differences between the government and the union.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender and school district negotiators say the BCTF’s contract demands are far out of step with other unions, particularly on increased classroom preparation time and other benefit improvements. The long-running dispute over class size and special needs support is headed back to court this fall.

De Jong reiterated that there is no plan to recall the B.C. legislature before a fall session scheduled to begin Oct. 6. He said the history of imposed of settlements on the BCTF may have contributed to the chronic failure to negotiate agreements with the union.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming called the announcement a “trial balloon” that suggests the dispute may be months away from resolution.

“I think parents are going to look at this and say, ‘you know what, school is not daycare’,” Fleming said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

Chris testing out the potential new van with his caregiver Kerry. Photo submitted.
Kimberley man starts GoFundMe for urgently needed wheelchair accessible van

Christopher Green, a Kimberley native currently residing in Tata Creek, has launched… Continue reading

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

An acclaimed Paralympic champion with local roots has been named to a… Continue reading

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

What's happening at the Cranbrook Public Library
What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with some… Continue reading

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read