On Monday, B.C.’s Ministry of Education unveiled a new website that is meant to inform and update parents on the progress of negotiations to end the ongoing teachers’ strike.
The website provides further details on the “Temporary Education Support for Parents,” a child care subsidy program that was first announced last month to assist parents with the costs of tutoring or child care should the teachers’ strike extend into the new school semester.
Each parent or caregiver is eligible to receive $40 per child for each day a child under age 13 is not in public school during the teachers’ strike beginning Tuesday, September 2. As usual every year, schools are currently scheduled to reopen after Labour Day.
The subsidy will be a one-time payment, however, those who are looking for immediate assistance once school resumes will be out of luck. The cheques will not be sent out until 30 days after the month in which the teachers’ strike ends.
Parents will also have to register into the program in order to receive the subsidy, a process that will begin in September and can be done either online via the website or paper registration form.
“Eligible primary caregivers will have four months from the end of the month in which the disruption is settled to register for assistance,” says the website. “No new registrations will be accepted after this date.” For more information on eligibility and applications, visit: http://www.bcparentinfo.ca.
The government says the entire program costs approximately $12 million per day – the same daily cost of running the school system for children of these ages.
Meanwhile, there is a media blackout over the progress of negotiations. Both the BCTF and the provincial government’s bargaining team have agreed to not share information with the public so that focus can be placed on the bargaining table. Mediator Vince Ready is also facilitating talks between both parties.
A large pay raise over multiple years as well as the issue of class size and composition remain as the major obstacles with concluding the ongoing labour dispute.
Feature Image: child care via Shutterstock