BC education minister doesn't expect permanent teacher layoffs as a result of COVID-19

Jun 5 2020, 1:08 am

While there’s been some talk about BC teachers in some districts receiving layoff notices due to a drop in student enrolment – primarily when it comes to the number of international students and concerns around COVID-19 –BC Education Minister Rob Fleming said this week he doesn’t believe any of these layoffs will be permanent.

Districts that are doing this “are doing so in accordance with the collective agreement,” Fleming said during a press conference this week. “We’re working very closely with the districts that do have a fairly significant international student population.”

At the same time, he noted that the province is “also awaiting further instructions from the federal government about what student travel visas are going to look like, and what international airline commercial activity is going to look like.”

And for those “who can’t return to Canada at this time,” Fleming said discussions with districts are in place about what a remote learning program might look like.

At this point, though, Fleming said it’s his expectation “that every teacher, according to process, who is receiving a technical layoff notice [will] be rehired.”

He added that “most of them will teach domestic BC kids next year, where we have growing enrolment in about 55 of 60 districts in BC.”

Therefore, he said, “when you take out retirements, and factor in enrolment growth, we don’t expect any layoffs of BC teachers will be permanent.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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