Students head into a portable classroom in Chilliwack. Some urban centres are seeing rising enrolment. (Greg Laychak/Black Press)

No more teacher shortage, B.C. education ministry says

‘Further action considered’ on rural, specialty school jobs

Staffing rural schools and recruiting specialty teachers continues as B.C.’s school year gets underway, but the “vast majority” of vacant positions have been filled and job vacancies have returned to normal levels, the education ministry says.

“We have contacted all 60 school districts and there is no overall teacher shortage in B.C.,” the ministry said in a statement Wednesday. “The vast majority have now been hired, including 390 special education teachers and 140 more teacher psychologists and counsellors. As well, districts have hired an additional 1,000 education assistants over the last year.

“Overall job postings have generally resumed to normal levels, but there are some acute pressures that are long-standing, such as French immersion, indigenous education and special education.”

The ministry is “considering if any further action is required to support specialized positions as well as rural and remote” districts, the statement says.

Nechako Lakes school district began the year with about 10 full and part-time positions vacant, one of a number of B.C.’s 60 school districts still looking to fill jobs. Teacher-on-call positions are a key shortage in that and other districts, as many of the substitute teachers have taken full-time positions and aren’t available to cover for illness and other absences.

More than 3,700 teaching positions were funded last year in the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada decision reinstating class size and special needs formulas removed from the teacher contract in 2002.

RELATED: BCTF says outdated classroom equipment a problem

RELATED: More students, more pressure on B.C. schools

Enrolment is up in 35 out of 60 B.C. school districts as more than 530,000 students head back. The net increase province-wide is about 1,700 additional full-time equivalents, including adult education students. The other 25 districts are predicting declines, but many are seeing small fluctuations in a stable student population.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation filed grievances in the spring over the hiring of non-certified staff to fill the gaps. In the Quesnel district, the union says there were nine full-time teaching jobs filled by non-certified people, and in urban areas, classrooms with four or more students identified as having special needs continued due to a shortage of special education teachers.

Education Minister Rob Fleming says the previous government wasn’t interested in hiring special education teachers, and those with qualifications who are not teaching are being recruited.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii Funeral Services gets support

Village of Queen Charlotte donates storage facility to non-profit group

Community dinner set to honour responders who handled Q.C. explosion

Potluck-style dinner set for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Tlell Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday until Thanksgiving

The Observer mistook the final day for the farmers market – don’t miss the harvest!

Masset dodges empty-ballot bullet

After an extended deadline, Masset now has enough candidates for council

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

First court date for B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Pot, cash, mansions: Judge divvies up illegal estate of divorcing B.C. couple

The Smiths ran a multi-million marijuana operation that spanned three counties

Around the BCHL: Nanaimo Clippers acquire defenceman from Langley Rivermen

Around the BCHL is a look at goings on around the BCHL and the junior A world.

B.C. co-op develops tech to help prevent ODs, especially for alone users

Brave Technology has been awarded $200,000 in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge

Recent jump in U.S. butter imports? All smooth, says Canadian dairy farmers

U.S. farmers recently enjoyed extra access to the Canadian market

Potential replacements for Phoenix pay system to start testing soon: Brison

Testing of prototypes to replace troubled federal pay system will begin within weeks

Nanaimo’s Tilray Inc. briefly the world’s largest cannabis company

The company, only listed in the US, nearly reached $300 in afternoon trading on Wednesday

Most Read