Friday, 15 December 2017


Health & Wellness

Our winter break will soon be here.
  We will have opportunities for a well-deserved rest, to reconnect with family and friends, travel, have outdoor adventures, read a book, and generally do just what we want!

Wintertime can also be a difficult time of year.  Many of us are affected by shorter daylight hours as well as often being more homebound.  

Please consider reading the article from


for information about Seasonal Affective Disorder and what you can do about it.  

http://www.reachoutpsychosis.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/archive/Professionals/20171215123617/

The PRNTA and BCTF are are focussing on Health and Wellness for teachers.  Please seek help if you, members of your family or a colleague are struggling with wellness.  Contact Michele or Mary  or visit the BCTF website (bctf.ca) to learn about supports that are available.

Stay well!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Our new melded Collective Agreement will soon be available!




Click the link to go to our CA:


A limited number of hard copies of our 'new' Collective Agreement will soon be printed.  Copies will be available in each school and for Staff Reps and new teachers.  

Tuesday, 19 September 2017




We want to wish you a heartfelt welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!
We hope that you have had a wonderful summer break and are looking forward to working with a new crop of students.

The PRNTA, BCTF and SD 60 are emphasizing wellness for all workers.  Please remember that we all have so much more to give when we take care of ourselves.  The PRNTA/BCTF and SD 60 have programs to help support us when we are struggling.  Please remember 'self-care' and reach out if you are in need.  It it seems that a family member, friend or colleague is in distress help them reach out.

We are very excited about our new PRNTA office at 9912 101st Avenue.  Renovations began in early July, and still continue, but we are determined to have our September meetings there!  Watch for information regarding an open-house soon.

Welcome back and all the best in the new school year!

Michele and Mary

Friday, 30 June 2017

Dear PRNTA members,
   We want to take a moment to thank you for your hard work this year and wish you a wonderful summer holiday.
   We've had a few amazing things happen this year.  Our Supreme Court of Canada win has been a historic achievement for all BCTF members.  We can be proud we belong to such a great organization!  The PRNTA will soon be the proud owner of an office building.  Michele and I will be spending part of the summer getting it ready for a new beginning in the fall.
   The news from Victoria today will make our summer more interesting and I'm hopeful that funding will be in place for all districts in the fall.  We are cautiously optimistic that we will have all our teaching vacancies filled by Sept.1st but the reality is there are lots of vacancies all over the province ... we’re still hopeful we will have a teacher in front of every class in the fall. 
   Lastly, we all must be vigilant in the fall to ensure our Collective Agreement is upheld in all areas - especially for class size and composition.  We will be working set up effective and functioning School Education Committees in all schools.
Thank you again for your work with students and fellow teachers and know that it is appreciated!
Have a lovely summer,

Michele & Mary :)

Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday, 8 May 2017

May 3, 2017

Dear Peace River North Teacher’s Association,

            Hello, my name is Kelly Snow. I am the Local Election Contact for the Peace River North Teacher’s Association. I am writing to you today to share the views from our 2017 election candidates on education.
I would like to thank you for taking time to vote on May 9th.

Sincerely,
Kelly Snow

Contact Candidates:
jeff@voteforjeff.ca

michelle@electrobfraser.ca



Jared Giesbrecht
Campaign to Elect Bob Fedderly
campaign@fedderly.ca


PEACE RIVER NORTH TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION
Street Address: 10142 – 100th Avenue
Mailing Address: Box 6057
Fort St John, B.C., V1J 4H6
Phone/Fax: 250-785-8881
E-mail: lp60@bctf.ca


Questions for Candidates:  May 9 Provincial Election 

Children in poverty:
1.    BC ranks high in the numbers of children living in poverty.  Job losses, low wages, unaffordable housing and a high cost of living and child-care are some of the factors that contribute to the untenable situation many of our families face.  What will you do to change this situation?

Education Funding:
2.    The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services identified insufficient funding and downloaded costs for school districts as a major public education issue.  What specific measures will you support to address the committee’s recommendation to provide “adequate, stable, and predictable funding” for K-12 public education?
3.    Teacher recruitment and retention is a huge issue in Peace River North.  What steps will you take to address shortages?
4.    The repeal of the Education Guarantee presents a huge barrier for adults who can least afford high tuition fees. Will you commit to restoring funding to allow graduated students to take adult education programs free of charge?

Fair Bargaining Practices:
5.    The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision restored language illegally   stripped from collective agreements between teachers and their employers.  What assurances will you give that you will not unilaterally strip fairly negotiated provisions in collective agreements?

Response from Bob Fedderly

From: Jared Giesbrecht <jared.giesbrecht@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: Questions for Bob Fedderly
To: Kelly Snow <ksnow@prn.bc.ca>

Hello Kelly,

Thanks for your email.  Please see below for Bob Fedderly's answers: 

1.     Job creation is my #1 priority.  For too long we have seen a government that takes jobs in the North for granted.  I will work hard to ensure we diversity our economy and develop new markets.  This means building natural gas power generation in the North, developing LNG facilities for exports, investing in infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, schools, and seniors housing) and prioritizing jobs for British Columbians on all infrastructure projects. 

2.     Insufficient funding and the downloading of costs for school districts must be addressed by a total implementation of the class size and composition losses that were restored by the Supreme Court.  As an independent MLA not subject to the party discipline of either the Liberals or the NDP, I will be best able to work to address the committee’s recommendation.

3.     Recruitment and retention are significant issues in the North.  I will work to achieve regionally adjusted pay to address additional cost of living in the North.  This would need to be addressed through additional Ministry funding rather than from existing district budgets.  Pay isn’t everything, but it is essential to get it right and ensure northern teachers are adequately paid for their hard work.

4.     Adult education programs help create jobs by allowing people to achieve a trade or a better job.  I believe these programs are vital and should be funded though the Ministry. 

5.     The Supreme Court ruling speaks for itself.  The Liberal government wasted too much time, energy, and money on this battle with teachers.  Collective agreements are legally binding contracts and should be adhered to.  

Thanks again,

Jared Giesbrecht
Campaign to Elect Bob Fedderly
campaign@fedderly.ca
778-256-1613

___________________________________________________________________

Response from Rob Dempsey:

Hello Kelly!
Here's my position on education:
I am deeply committed to ensuring generous support for public education. That means that funding per student ratios need to be to highest in Canada. It also means that we need to strive to create ideal classroom size and composition levels that are based on what the educators of this province think are most advantageous for our students (not unqualified bureaucrats with no real classroom experience). Public education is the very foundation of our modern democratic society. Equality and justice stem from a healthy public education system. Our government needs to understand that truth. We need to say goodbye to the days where our system is starved of funds in the name of unjustifiable financial austerity. We need to say goodbye to the days where the relationship between teachers and government is based on hostility and acrimony. We need to act in the best interest of students instead of meeting the financial whims of a corporate agenda that does not serve the needs of the public as a whole. And finally, we need to support and listen to our teachers. What group better understands the needs of the system. Our public education will work best when it meets the needs of all of the important stakeholders including the public, the teachers and the students.
Robert Dempsey
Response from Jeff Richert

Children in poverty:
1. BC ranks high in the numbers of children living in poverty. Job losses, low
wages, unaffordable housing and a high cost of living and child-care are some
of the factors that contribute to the untenable situation many of our families
face. What will you do to change this situation?

The Rural Social Development Fund that I outline in my platform could
provide an opportunity for rural and northern communities to access
funding for social development. Child care facilities, food banks, low
income housing projects and many other social development agencies
and initiatives could utilize this funding in order to begin to help people
living in rural and northern communities who live in poverty. This first
step in education is ensuring our children have a good nights sleep and
adequate nutrition in order to aid in their educational experience and
this plan would help meet those fundamental needs.
Education Funding:

2. The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services
identified insufficient funding and downloaded costs for school districts as a
major public education issue. What specific measures will you support to
address the committee’s recommendation to provide “adequate, stable, and
predictable funding” for K-12 public education?

I think reducing the amount of funding provided to independent schools
would free up additional dollars that will provide adequate, stable, and
predictable funding for K-12 public education. School districts would
also benefit from dollars being redirected from independent school
subsidies and the cost downloading issue could be mitigated in short
order.

3. Teacher recruitment and retention is a huge issue in Peace River North.
What steps will you take to address shortages?

Retention and recruitment continues to be an ongoing problem for many
different employers in the Peace Region. To date, I am not aware of any creative
or effective measures to address the issue. I am of the opinion that a blanket
approach to encouraging qualified workers including teachers is an approach
worth looking into. A significant and meaningful increase in the northern living
allowance on the federal tax form would be a good start to attract and retain
qualified workers as well as exploring more creative approaches such as
student loan deferrals or implementing a provincial northern living allowance
as examples.

4. The repeal of the Education Guarantee presents a huge barrier for adults who
can least afford high tuition fees. Will you commit to restoring funding to
allow graduated students to take adult education programs free of charge?

I really appreciated the Education Guarantee program and what it stood
for. I think it is very unfortunate that this situation has occurred and I
would advocate for the repeal to be reversed.
Fair Bargaining Practices:

5. The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision restored language illegally
stripped from collective agreements between teachers and their employers.
What assurances will you give that you will not unilaterally strip fairly
negotiated provisions in collective agreements?

The decision to fight a 15 year war with teachers was never in the
interest of British Columbians. I would never support any measure in the
legislature that would strip fairly negotiated provisions in collective
agreements and would be a loud voice against any action taking place in
the future.


Response from Rob Fraser

Questions from PRNTA

1. Poverty in our province is a growing issue and we are no exception in the Peace River North. I do not have all the answers to this issue but I do have some ideas that can be worked on locally. Poverty needs to be addressed in part by growing, diversifying and adding value to our economy. Having family supporting jobs is the first line of dealing with poverty. This can be done in various ways; we can grow and diversify our economy by investing in the development of industries in the north that are not currently being considered. Industries like: horticulture, expanding the electrical grid to our remote industries, construction of necessary road and highway infrastructure, value added forest products, energy production through, biomass, cogeneration and geothermal, and petrochemicals. We can also grow the economy by modernizing our tax system. A value added consumption tax combined with a flat income tax will put more money into the hands of the consumers. This has many benefits while growing the economy.

I also believe we can work locally to address both affordable housing and daycare. I am promoting the idea of a not for profit housing and development corporation that can work with the different stakeholder groups on the affordable housing situation. This corporation will support volunteer organizations, industry and local government with the design, finance, construction, and ongoing operation of affordable housing complexes. These complexes can be designed to provide opportunities across the spectrum of housing needs including: homeless, social assisted, seniors, gap housing for necessary professionals and industry requirements. Daycares for children and seniors can be designed into these complexes. Tele-health facilities could also be provided. Rental rates will be established by market rates adjusted for need.

2. I believe there needs to be a province wide discussion about the desired outcomes of our education system. Provincial outcomes need to be established. The one size fits all funding mentality does not work in a province as large and diverse as British Columbia. Once we establish agreed upon objectives, the province needs to fund the realization of those objectives. An example is the bussing situation. The provincial outcome could be: Every child in BC will be provided access to public education. If this is the desired outcome then, the province funds the school boards according to the most relevant and cost effective manner available. If transit systems are available then the district may choose that, if bussing is the only option then the province will fund that. In order to understand what adequate, stable, predictable funding is, we need to know what we are funding. There will be many provincial desired outcomes from our education system and that is why we need a dialogue.

3. Teacher recruitment and retention starts with recruiting local students and educating them at home. Incentives need to be considered such as graduated tuition and reduction or elimination of interest on student loans based on whether the student lives in a rural or remote community. Assistance with repayment of student loans in return for term service contracts may be another opportunity. Affordable housing and daycare as discussed in my answer to question number 1 is another way to both attract and retain teachers and their families. Finally, ensuring that teachers are supported in their careers with teacher mentoring programs will also help.
4. I must admit that I do not know enough about this topic to offer an informed opinion. On the surface I believe that education is a worthwhile investment in our society. However, without having the facts in front of me to outline the expected outcomes and costs of the program, I would only be guessing at an answer. I will say however that when elected I will work with interested constituents to form an MLA advisory committee that will discuss and research issues like this one to develop solutions that I can present on behalf of the riding to other MLAs, government committees and Minister of Education. Good ideas matter regardless of where they come from or who presents them.

5. I believe that collective agreements bargained in good faith need to be supported. I have been trained at the Canadian Labour College as a shop steward. I have worked and regulated in both union and non-union shops. I have seen firsthand the results of poorly managed union workplaces that do not abide by the terms of a fairly negotiated collective agreement. The agreement belongs to both parties and should be administered accordingly. If not then workplaces erode into divided labour nightmares. On the other hand I have seen workplaces with progressive management that seem to thrive in a labour environment of cooperation and goodwill. Collective Agreements are negotiated well in advance of the term and both sides work together with very little conflict. As MLA, I will strive to build a relationship between the government and the unions representing the workforce working with it that reflects goodwill and good faith. I will vote against any legislated move to unilaterally strip provisions from fairly negotiated collective agreements.


Response from Dan Davies

Children in poverty:
1)   BC ranks high in the numbers of children living in poverty.  Job losses, low wages, unaffordable housing and a high cost of living and child-care are some of the factors that contribute to the untenable situation many of our families face.  What will you do to change this situation?

Our plan starts with a strong, diverse, growing economy that gives British Columbians the opportunity to look after the people they love  - and provide government with the resources to support the most vulnerable.  The BC Liberals have recently created a program called the Single Parent Employment Initiative that allows single parents to access training and job opportunities while still receiving social assistance and getting free child care - a real hand up - this is benefiting 4,600 single parents right now!  The BC Liberals have invested $20 million to create 2,000 more childcare spaces this year alone. We have invested almost $5 billion in affordable housing and are assisting 104,000 families.  When the BC Liberal formed government, child poverty was over 14% and now is at 9.7%.  We have committed $10 million in funding to food banks in BC and will be working with farmers markets to provide local grown food for those in need through tax credits. I am committed to working to reduce child poverty and will work with local organization to increase funding and find opportunities to reduce child poverty in the North Peace through our new $7 million Community Poverty Reduction Fund.

Education Funding:
2)   The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services identified insufficient funding and downloaded costs for school districts as a major public education issue.  What specific measures will you support to address the committee’s recommendation to provide “adequate, stable, and predictable funding” for K-12 public education?

As an educator myself, I want to bring my experience to the government table in Victoria and ensure a strong educators voice at the table. The BC Liberal Government will spend a record $5.9 Billion in the 2017/18 year, and will provide an additional $740 Million increase over the next 3 years, with a special focus on rural schools. We will also invest another $2 billion in capital spending over the next 3 years for new schools and renovations. We are very happy to see the construction on the Ma Murray School in Fort St. John and I will be working hard to move us forward to another new school in the near future.


3)   Teacher recruitment and retention is a huge issue in Peace River North.  What steps will you take to address shortages?

As a teacher and life-long resident of Fort St. John, I know that rural school districts can experience challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers. I was happy to see the BC Liberal Government invest $2 million in rural teacher recruitment and retention programs. This funding was used to support:
·      free job posting services and access to an online teacher application management system;
·      coordination of national and international recruitment efforts; and
·      local incentives, such as enhanced funding for travel expenses for professional development, relocation expenses and transitional housing assistance.

In addition to this funding, the BC Liberal government began an engagement process to create a rural education strategy by the summer of 2017.
Going forward, Today’s BC Liberals will commit an additional $5 million over the next two years to fund teacher retention programs in rural school districts. We will also establish a student-teacher loan forgiveness program in rural districts with extreme teacher attraction and retention challenges. I will continue to be a voice for students and families in the Peace.

4)   The repeal of the Education Guarantee presents a huge barrier for adults who can least afford high tuition fees. Will you commit to restoring funding to allow graduated students to take adult education programs free of charge?

Again, I am a huge proponent on education.  As an individual with post secondary education, I can attest to the cost.  I am committed to looking at and helping devise a plan to make post secondary accessible to graduated students in northern communities, especially when it comes to needed professions in the north, like teachers and health care professionals etc.

Fair Bargaining Practices:
5)   The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision restored language illegally   stripped from collective agreements between teachers and their employers.  What assurances will you give that you will not unilaterally strip fairly negotiated provisions in collective agreements?

I certainly recognize the relationship between government and teachers needs work, as a teacher that was in the middle of the last labour dispute.  I am committed to building mutual respect and trust, and feel that by having a teacher at the table can only strengthen these relations.  I will be an advocate.    

EXTRA INFO:

Answers to Fort Nelson Teacher’s Association Questions
Below are my answers to the questions you have proposed.  Thanks, Jeff.
1.    We face significant issues with retention and recruitment of qualified and specialist teachers in our region. This has a direct and detrimental impact on student learning. What policies would you implement to ensure our districts our adequately staffed, and that our students are not getting short-changed?
Retention and recruitment continues to be an ongoing problem for many different employers in the Peace Region. To date, I am not aware of any creative or effective measures to address the issue. I am of the opinion that a blanket approach to encouraging qualified workers including teachers is an approach worth looking into. A significant and meaningful increase in the northern living allowance on the federal tax form would be a good start to attract and retain qualified workers as well as exploring more creative approaches such as student loan deferrals or implementing a provincial northern living allowance as examples.
2.    How will you make sure educational inclusion is done effectively in our region. What is your view on class size and composition? How will you fight to make sure teachers have sufficient specialist support and all students are given the support needed to reach their potential?
With the recent funding increases as a result of the Supreme Court decision, I think the issues surrounding class size and composition are finally starting to be addressed and will take time to integrate into the daily operations of schools as staffing levels increase. My view is that smaller class sizes result in a better learning environment for the teachers and all students. For the Peace Region it is important for school districts to attract and retain teachers especially given the lack of TTOC’s in order to create a more stable system. Preventing turn over has been a long-standing issue and proper incentives to live and work in the north are an important foundation of stability. I would be a willing advocate as MLA to help address these issues.

3. BC is undergoing a massive shift in its curriculum. What is your view on provincial assessment practices and how they fit with this new curriculum? How should student progress be reported to parents, guardians, post secondary institutions and other stakeholders?
I am not a fan of a one size fits all assessment policy when the shift in curriculum is moving towards individualized learning. This approach will definitely be problematic for teachers, support staff and students because assessment policy should evolve to align with the changes at the same time. With regards to provincial assessments, I question what the long term value of FSA’s are when they are utilized to rank schools. Last I checked the public interest is not for schools to be in academic competition with one another. When it comes to reporting of student progress, I do not have any opinion or preference and would leave that up to the school districts.

4. Over the last 10 years funding to independent schools had increased 92%, while funding to public schools has only increased by 19% (from
cbc.ca, Vancouver Sun and Ministry of Education). What is your position on the use of public funds for independent schools?
My position on the use of public funds for Independent schools is that the full cost of enrollment should be covered by the parents of the enrolled students, not by the taxpayer. With the option of public schooling or home schooling already accessible to parents and funded by public dollars, the decision to enroll a child in an Independent school should not cost the tax payer anything further and the parents should pay 100% of the costs of such a decision.