The Province will be providing the BC Teachers’ Federation $50 million to hire approximately 1,100 new full-time teachers, after the two sides struck a deal today.

Education Minister Mike Bernier announced this afternoon that the money will first and foremost be used to hire classroom teachers this school year. Where feasible, the money can also be used to hire additional specialty teachers this year like speech, behaviour intervention, and special education teachers, as well as aboriginal support, librarians, and mental health counselors, among others.

If it’s not feasible to hire new teachers, based on things like timetables and physical space, the money can be put toward things like recruitment and mentor programs and upgrading existing teacher qualifications.

All the money will be distributed among the school districts based on things like student enrollment numbers.

Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s November decision to again give the BCTF the right to bargain classroom and composition size,¬†Minister Bernier calls it this the first step towards a new collective agreement.

“We know there’es more steps to come and that’s why we’re going to continue meeting collectively with the groups to jointly review the old contract language as well as current district level information to go forth. ”

Both sides are working towards a final agreement. Bernier says there’s no final date in¬†sight and talks are ongoing.

This new funding is in additions to the $5.1 billion the Province is investing into public BC education.