Negotiations between the BC Teachers Federation and its employer continue as their current deal expires on Thursday.
If a new deal isn’t reached by then, more bargaining sessions are slated for late summer and into the early fall.
BCTF President-Elect, Clint Johnston told Vista Radio that higher salaries and more manageable workloads are the two biggest priorities.
“Everybody acknowledges that the cost of living increases right now are at levels we haven’t seen in decades so that’s a huge factor for us worth keeping an eye on when we are at the table so that our members don’t fall further behind their other colleagues across Canada.”
Last June, outgoing president Teri Mooring noted teacher mental health is declining at twice the rate of other BC residents.
Furthermore, a July 2021 study from UBC noted 81% of educators surveyed admitted to a decline in their mental health due to the pandemic.
In addition, 40% indicated they were more likely to seek to leave the profession.
“On the note of that burnout, that’s cumulative and supports are great but it’s also as I said, the workload and it’s the pay and those two things need to meet up to make it a sustainable profession and to make sure people can have a good 30-35 year teaching profession in BC.”
According to the latest numbers from Stats Canada, the starting teacher salary in BC is $50,300 – almost ten grand less than their neighbours to the east in Alberta where the entry-level threshold is $59,488.
After ten years on the job in our province, teacher salaries max out at $87,900, while an educator with the same experience level in Ontario earns $98,936.