In Saskatchewan we have what is known as “Provincial Level Bargaining;” some items are bargained for at the provincial level (big money items such as salaries, benefits and pensions, etc.) while others are addressed locally (leaves, substitute pay, noon-hour supervision, etc.)
Elsewhere in Canada
some bargaining is done exclusively at the provincial level or at the local level, while in some cases a mixed process similar to Saskatchewan’s exists
i. everyone has the right to refuse to work under unfair or unsafe working conditions
ii. boards can avoid bargaining in good faith, knowing that teachers really can't do anything which would bring sufficient pressure to force compromise
iii. in some provinces, "work-to-rule" is included in the definition of a strike; therefore, teachers do not have an intermediate level of job action; they only have two choices, work or strike
i. strikes harm students and parents, neither of whom are directly involved in, or directly responsible for, the dispute
ii. the teachers and innocent third parties bear the brunt of the direct effects of the strike; school board members are relatively unaffected - at worst, they lose political points
The decision to fire is the Board's, but the Act , Regulations, and frequently the collective agreements provide procedural controls. These controls include the following:
termination must be by notice in writing, giving reasons, and in accordance with agreements.
the standard contract stipulates the date for termination; May 31.
there is also provision in the Act for firing teachers at other times: s. 210(1)(a) for “gross misconduct, neglect of duty or refusing or neglecting to obey any lawful order of the board . . . .”
In general, performance appraisal procedures are often provided for in collective agreements; these require, as a minimum, that a teacher get a copy of any appraisal AND, that BEFORE recommending demotion or dismissal of a teacher because of poor work or attitude, a principal MUST:
PERMANENT teachers who are dismissed or terminated have the right under §§216-230 of the Act to request that the Minister of Education set up a Board of Reference. The teacher must apply in writing stating disagreement within 20 days. The Minister of Education must act fairly in deciding whether to set up Board of Reference; he/she can refuse.
COMPOSITION OF BOARD - Tripartite Board with Board of Education nominee, a teacher nominee, and a third person nominated jointly, as chair.
ROLE OF BOARD OF REFERENCE
Ensure procedural fairness has been afforded by Board of Education, e.g., notice provisions, reasons stated to teacher, opportunity to show cause, etc.
Ensure there is evidence of the cause for dismissal
As it is the Minister who grants certificates, it is within his/her authority to suspend or cancel them. s.4(1)(d)
The STF, normally, will investigate cases where decertification is possible, hold hearings and recommend to the Minister whether to decertify - the Minister usually follows recommendations but does not have to.
Grounds for decertification - obviously very serious conduct because decertification results in legal disqualification from teaching - the level of proof of wrongdoing required for this type of action is usually described as “a preponderance of evidence.”
Cases usually involve criminal activity by teachers where the Minister concludes that the teacher is no longer morally fit to teach - usually sex, drug or violence related crimes - but sometimes incompetence.
The Minister must tread carefully - Arguments might be made that decertification interferes with Charter Rights, especially if the action is being taken for reasons of lifestyle, belief, physical handicap, etc.