Bulletin – Benefit improvements taking effect July 1

CLICK HERE for a summary of the Standard Plan improvements or at bcschools.cupe.ca.

In addition to improvements to the Standard Plan, all dental plans will be updated to provide a minimum level of coverage as outlined here.
If your current dental plan provides a lower coverage level, the increase will be effective July 1, 2023. If your current dental plan provides a higher coverage level, there will be no change to coverage.

As the benefit improvements will happen within the calendar year, it is important to note that any eligible expenses incurred before July 1, 2023, will be adjudicated by Pacific Blue Cross based on current plan provisions. Any eligible expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2023, will be adjudicated based on the maximums outlined in the improvement summary.

For example, the current Psychologist maximum is $850 per calendar year. If a member has already been reimbursed $850 for this service, any further Psychologist services incurred on or after July 1, 2023, would be eligible up to an additional $650 for the remainder of the year (as the calendar maximum for this service will be increasing to $1,500 per person per calendar year).

In addition, on or after July 1, 2023, the $1,500 benefit will represent a combined maximum for Psychologist, Clinical Counsellors, and Social Workers. Please note, any expenses over $850 that were incurred prior to July 1, 2023, are not eligible to be reimbursed with the additional $650, nor can you claim for any expense incurred prior to July 1, 2023, for Clinical Counsellors or Social Workers.

These benefit improvements were made possible by the support and solidarity of our K-12 school support members throughout bargaining. Working together, we were able to make real gains for members and their families.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact your Local President.

View PDF here.

Bulletin – 25 % increase to LIF funding for 2023/24

CUPE has successfully advocated for a significant increase to Learning Improvement Fund (LIF), going up 25 percent for the 2023/2024 school year.

LIF provides an ongoing multi-year commitment from the provincial government for additional resources to the K-12 public education system, specifically targeted to support students with diverse needs.

All B.C. School Districts are required to engage in genuine consultation with locals on how its LIF allocation will be used. School districts must meet with locals, and report back to the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) by June 2, 2023.

For it to be a genuine consultation the district must meet with the school support staff union local in an honest and respectful manner. Consultations between respective school districts and locals must:

  • consider background information, including the amount of the LIF available to the district,
  • make appropriate suggestions for use of the LIF,
  • be able to express opinions freely,
  • carefully listen to differing points of view,
  • give input about suitable alternate options,
  • thoughtfully address concerns raised by the other party.

School districts are required to confirm with BCPSEA that consultations were (i) held with mutual respect and cooperation, and (ii) there is legitimate intent to take into account the concerns of both parties.

It is important to note, that while school districts are required to confirm genuine consultations took place, school districts are not required to confirm that the parties have agreed upon the usage of the LIF.

School districts are required to complete a Confirmation of Genuine Consultation form and submit to BCPSEA by June 2. To be complete, the form must be signed by a representative of the school support staff union local. By signing this form, the union will be confirming that genuine consultations took place that met the required criteria.

Information of the LIF allocations for each B.C. School District can be found on the provincial government website, and bcschools.cupe.ca.

View PDF here.

Recognizing excellence in B.C. schools

Nominations for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education are open. These awards are a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate the vital role support staff play in delivering quality public education in the province. There are three specific awards that are particularly relevant to K-12 school support members.

Outstanding Support – School Community

This category is open to individuals who provide support in a broader school setting. School support workers are eligible for nomination, including bus drivers, crossing guards, student supervisors, Indigenous cultural facilitators, custodians, maintenance/trades, and clerical.

Outstanding Support – Teaching Assistant

This category is open to Educational Assistants (including Indigenous Education Support Workers and Indigenous Youth Workers) who provide support within a classroom setting.

For these awards recognizing outstanding support, nominees will have:

  • Contributed to a healthy, safe and productive school community by creating inclusive, connected and engaging experiences for students, parents and the community.
  • Created an exciting and engaging environment for individual students or a group of students through innovative techniques.
  • Built strong collaborative relationships with other education professionals to support a student or group of students, in the school or community.
  • Supported students in their intellectual, human and social, or career development through individualized support and encouragement.

Outstanding Team Collaboration

This category is open to a team of at least three members (one of whom must hold a valid B.C. teaching certificate).  Criteria for nominees include:

  • Team members have collaborated on an exceptional initiative that has positively impacted student learning.
  • The success of the initiative is a result of a true collaboration among team members, not simply a collection of individual accomplishments.
  • The initiative addresses student needs.
  • The endeavors undertaken go above and beyond regular work or involve innovative approaches to curricular programming.

The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education (PAEE) were created to recognize the exceptional contributions of B.C.’s teachers, administrators and support staff that are vital to the cultural, economic and social well-being of the province. The PAEE provide students, parents, teachers and other members of the community with an opportunity to celebrate those who make a real difference in B.C. schools.

This year, three award recipients will be chosen for each of the ten categories below. Each recipient will receive a taxable personal bursary for professional learning and a contribution to their school community for professional learning.

Information on how to nominate a school support worker for one of these awards can be found on the B.C. government website.

Nominations for the 2023 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education will be accepted until May 5th. Nominations need to have the support of a superintendent or designate.

View PDF here.

Bulletin – 6.75% wage increases starting July 1

New inflation figures released this week confirm that the maximum wage protections in our K-12 Provincial Framework Agreement will be triggered, and members will receive the full 6.75 percent wage increase starting July 1, 2023.

This brings the total general wage increases for the first two years of the agreement to well over 10 percent for most members.

BCPSEA will be providing school districts with updated wage grids as soon as possible. Wage grids will also be sent to locals to share with their membership.

The Provincial Framework Agreement also includes a cost-of-living wage protection for July 1, 2024. We expect to have information on this increase this time next year.

View PDF here.

Bulletin – K-12 bargaining concludes in B.C.

All K-12 school support locals in the province have ratified renewed collective agreements with their respective school districts as of this week. This caps off a very successful round of bargaining that saw significant gains – and no concessions – for the provinces over 40,000 school support workers.

Some of the improvements K-12 school support locals achieved include increased hours for Education Assistants, market adjustments to address recruitment and retention challenges, and other gains utilizing local bargaining table funding.

The successful local bargaining built on the Provincial Framework Agreement, reached with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association in September 2023. The 3-year PFA gained new commitments for support staff education, a new Provincial Joint Health and Safety Taskforce with a mandate that includes supporting measures to address workplace violence prevention, and $3 million in annual funding for benefit enhancements (more details on these enhancements will be released shortly).

The PFA also included general wage increases and cost of living adjustments. Thanks to unprecedented cooperation and solidarity between public sector unions in B.C., these increases exceed those seen in most other Canadian jurisdictions.

The biggest factor to the success of this round of bargaining sits with the support, involvement, and mobilization of school support members across the province. Members across B.C. stood strong with their union, at the local and provincial levels. Several locals across the province were faced with concession demands by their respective school districts. But members stepped up with mobilization efforts, participating in strike training and kept united fronts across the province.

The K-12 Presidents Council would like to thank all members for their extraordinary support and solidarity during this round of bargaining. The gains we’ve made recognize the crucial role your work means to B.C. students, families, and communities.

View PDF here.