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Over the last two weeks I have received many hundreds of emails from the constituents of Oak Bay Gordon Head as well as from ridings across British Columbia. The message is abundantly clear, British Columbians want the government to end the teachers’ labour dispute and get children back in the classroom.

The BCTF opened the door to finding a deal. They agreed to seek binding arbitration, a position I advocated for at the end of August, and one they have never agreed to before. Binding arbitration is a time-tested means of ending labour disputes once face-to-face meetings and mediation have failed. This is clearly the case in the present dispute.

Saturday’s announcement by Minister of Education Peter Fassbender rejecting BCTF’s proposal to seek binding arbitration demonstrates a clear lack of leadership, an inability to compromise and a fundamental lack of support for public education.

But it’s not too late for the government to change their mind. That is why today, in response to your comments and concerns, I put together a petition that I hope you will consider signing.

A downloadable copy is available here.


The petition states:

Whereas a stable and robust public education system is essential for the social, economic and environmental future of the province;

and Whereas there is much to be proud of in our public schools including well-educated, hard-working teachers; parents who advocate passionately for their children; and students who consistently perform strongly in the Programme for International Student Assessment;

and Whereas the education and livelihood of BC children, their parents, their teachers and school support staff and many others throughout BC are being adversely affected by the ongoing labour dispute;

and Whereas the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation has agreed to seek binding arbitration to settle their labour dispute;

and Whereas face to face negotiations and mediation have broken down;

Therefore, be it resolved that the BC government reverse its decision and agree to binding arbitration in order to settle the labour dispute with BC teachers.


  1. Ian-
    September 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Binding arbitration is fair. It is obvious that the government doesn’t want it because they are in the wrong.

  2. Randy-
    September 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

    No money for teachers, but enough to give an 18% increase to government management! Take that back and give it to the teachers where it will be put to better use.

  3. Bruce Hart-
    September 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I agree with Raffi’s comment to the BC government: “Nobody believes you”. For that reason, I fully support binding arbitration.

  4. Peter Fassnacht-
    September 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Get this province back in school. Drop E80 (which is bound again to be unconstitutional) and agree to arbitration as an unbiased approach towards resolution. It’s a fair process.

  5. Dana MacDonald-
    September 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I support binding arbitration without E 80. It would be the fairest and fastest way to get kids back in the classroom. I appreciate all of the sacrifices that the teachers have made.

  6. Jen Broughton-
    September 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Drop E80 and accept binding arbitration.

  7. Derek Smith-
    September 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Given that the BCTF recently stated that they would not accept binding arbitration whereas now they say that they will, it seems that they are only using this as PR posturing because they knew the government wouldn’t accept this offer.
    Also, would teachers actually be satisfied with the resolution of the 3rd party arbitrator? It seems highly likely that the result of arbitration will be settlement somewhere between what the 2 parties want, not massively in any ones parties favour. This then would only lead to short term resolution which is not what BC needs.
    I think that the top officials from the BCTF and from the government need to be let go as both parties have acted poorly. Then hire an independent contractor to determine the actual numbers (salaries, benefits, etc.), not the crap figures reported by the government or the BCTF. Then sit both parties down with these numbers and arbitrate (not biding) until they come to a resolution. My 2 cents

  8. Laura Shantz-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Binding Arbitration now and drop E80. Enough empty rhetoric. I want my tax dollars to go to public education. Isn’t this what tax dollars are for?

  9. Deep Sandhu-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Christie Clarke, it is time to use simple common sense. Teachers have moved forward and now it’s your turn after 18 months of stalling. Simply say YES to binding arbitration and get the kids back to their classrooms.

  10. Bruce Thomas-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Ongoing excessive corporate salary increases attests to the imbalance of this government’s priorities as they favour minimum corporate taxation at the expense of our children’s education and their future. So much for ‘family first’ lip service.

  11. Ross Gilbert-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Explain your missed mention of E.80, please.

    • September 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Ross, the parties would chose terms, arbitrator etc (e.g appeal to Supreme Court Justice for arbitrator). Not my job to do that. I am providing avenue for voices to be heard that recognize binding arbitration is the final stage of a three-step negotiation process. It is used when face-to-face and mediation have failed. BCTF have said they would go there. Government have said they wont.

  12. Charles Jungclaus-
    September 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Way to go! Some of you have said exactly my thoughts@Scarlett @Sheryl @bobby. Thanks Dr. Weaver for standing up! …and we aren’t asking for twice what other unions have received. Might as well have binding arbitration since government won’t negotiate.

  13. Karen-
    September 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Children are the future. This present government is not.
    Can we also ask for pay decreases for our politicians??
    Please Canada, show our politicians they need to listen
    to who they represent.

  14. Scarlett-
    September 9, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Who does this government think they are? Their arrogance and flippancy is reproachable, and their unwillingness to resolve this longstanding issue is shameful. Not only do they believe the court system does not apply to them, they also don’t seem to care too much about the future of our province. Is it okay that we are setting up an educational system that produces mediocre thinkers and problem-solvers? Do we really need to learn that you can’t eat money? I work in criminal justice and mental health (I’m not a public teacher) with all the folks who were failed one system or another. We know that cheap kids make for expensive adults. This is bigger than the current education debacle; as we enter an unknown era with so much promise, the least we can do is prepare our young people for the sometimes scary future we created for them. Government needs to listen and be held accountable us, their employers! Eliminate E80 and go to binding arbitration already. Thank you for listening.

  15. Mike Derucci-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:41 am

    The BCTF already publicly stated that the government wouldn’t accept binding arbitration (Glen Hansman September 3) before they came out with this as a “strategy”. Which means the BCTF obviously is not interested in getting students back into classrooms, at least not while there are political points to be gained. A massive PR sham – the vote tomorrow and this petition are empty, meaningless posturing only serving to extend the length of time students are out of school.

  16. Peter Churcher-
    September 9, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Drop E80 and arbitrate. Refusing to come to the table only proves you’re trying to bleed the teachers.

  17. sheryl hare-
    September 9, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Take the binding arbitration . Raise corporate tax.

    • Pat Provencal-
      September 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      I second your suggestion. Probably as little as 1% would make the difference

  18. September 9, 2014 at 5:51 am

    We should try! Hurry up and make the petition!

  19. Bobby Arbess-
    September 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    A break in this stalemate is urgently needed to get our children back to school and to support the teachers who have done what is within their power to advocate for the best education possible for the half a million children of British Columbia in public school. Binding arbitration allows an independent third party to decide for themselves, without political interference, what is best for the public interest. It is worrisome that the government is backing away from that: a signal to me that they are afraid of being exposed once again, as they have been twice in court, that they are wrong and their agenda is not in the interests of our kids and for public education. Shame on the low-down, corporate ass-sucking, swine. Enough B.S. Wear Red for Public Ed and get the Binding Arbitration done and our wonderful, dedicated and creative teachers and kids back to school for a great new year, NOW!!!!!!

  20. Denise Moedt-
    September 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Drop E80, go to binding arbitration and get kids back in school!

  21. Maia Swenson-
    September 8, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for putting this together Dr. Weaver. I remember how widely respected you were at UVic – glad to see your continued leadership. I hope that you’ve has the chance to try to speak with some of you Liberal MLA colleagues – surely some of them must see the benefits of proceeding with arbitration.

    • September 8, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Hello Maia, I have emailed all of them and will definitely talk to them face to face if I see them in the halls of the Leg. I am there every day but it is rather quiet.

  22. Wing Yeung-
    September 8, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Binding arbitration is the best way to end this dispute-fairly.

  23. Jen Clarke-
    September 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Binding arbitration now…drop E80

  24. ej-
    September 8, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    This petition is not bad clear as it needs to be.
    The ‘Whereas’ phrases and lawyer-feel to it don’t make me want to sign something because it is not as everyday people friendly as it could .
    Make the petition one where we don’t feel we need to navigate the wording to make sure there is no ‘slight of word’ as many legal documents seem to have if you don’t speak lawyer.

    Of course the kids and teachers back in school would be best for everyone!

    • September 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Hello EJ, thanks for the feedback. The language is typical of legislature petitions. Hope that it isn’t a barrier for you.

  25. Tanya Shymko-
    September 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I support the BCTF’s original proposal for binding arbitration.

  26. judi sommer-
    September 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Mr Fassbender has been disingenuous about the perils of binding arbitration and seems to imply teachers will get everything they want.Wrong. An arbitrator often splits things down the middle depending on what’s on the table. It’s worked for other provinces, why not here. He claims to be burned by the doctors deal. They as independent serice providers had and have far more clout than teachers.They are not civil servants. Teachers have guaranteed classes will be up and running asap but Fassbender insists on hanging onto E80 as a club,What is he afraid of? he boasts they will win the next appeal so why does he feel he needs this in his backpocket?

  27. Mary Lightly-
    September 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Let’s get BC students back in class.

  28. Justin martin-wood-
    September 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I agree binding arbitration seems to be the only logical way to resolve this dispute

  29. Gilbert Falconberg-
    September 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks for doing this Andrew! This ridiculous battle needs to stop and it’s pretty clear which party is being unreasonable!

  30. Marilyn Lunde-
    September 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Our students and teachers should be in school. This government has set roadblocks that clearly need to be challenged.

  31. Travis-
    September 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    This is a very loosely worded petition. I don’t think it addresses the situation adequately. What does “BC government reverse it’s decision” mean? There have been many decisions made. Which one is the hurdle? It is the court case that is the biggest hurdle. E80 is the problem.

    This needs to read “The BC government admit defeat on E80 and remove it from the appeals process and remove it from the courts.”

    • September 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hello Travis, it seems pretty clear to me. The government said no to binding arbitration. That decision can be reversed.

  32. Eric Christou-
    September 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I support

    binding arbitration as the method to achieve a contract

  33. Jennifer Forbes-
    September 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    WHY? today we cannot “afford” to support our kids at the same level as 2002??! Shame!!

    • Janine-
      September 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Shame on you for not believing that our children deserve quality education like the rest of Canada. Supporting a government that funds $1000 less than other children in Canada as well as a government that pays their teachers 2nd lowest in Canada is unacceptable. Did you also know that British Columbia has the highest percentage of child poverty in Canada. That is what is shameful.

  34. Lisa Hamel-
    September 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Teachers want a fair deal for students. We want quality public education. Please drop E80, and bring in arbitration, so that we can be back in the classrooms as soon as possible. Our students deserve this.

    • Sher Goerzen-
      September 10, 2014 at 10:24 am

      I agree to binding arbitration as a fair process to move forward. Government needs to drop E.80 and hopefully too more funds can go into public education and less into the private schools