The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is asking the courts for an order compelling the Government of Saskatchewan to do its job by naming representatives to an important labour relations board.
Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said they want to have a productive and respectful relationship with government.
"The decision to go to the courts was not taken lightly," said Maze. "These actions are never our first choice. This shows how deeply concerned we are with the government's delays."
The Educational Relations Board is charged with overseeing the implementation of collective bargaining agreements at the local and provincial levels. Saskatchewan’s Education Act gives the Board authority to authorize mediation services, arbitrate disputes, establish conciliation boards, and settle grievances.
"We identified our nominees months ago and worked with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association on a joint nominee for chairperson, yet the government continues to drag its feet,” Maze said. “We’ve asked for an explanation for the holdup and recently wrote the new Minister of Education expressing our grave concern. And still nothing."
The Board consists of five individuals appointed by Order in Council. Two are nominated by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation; two are nominated by the Saskatchewan School Boards Association with a jointly nominated chair. The Board is intended to always be in place. In the words of the legislation, it is to be “continued.”
“This situation is unacceptable,” said Maze. “Without the Board in place, there’s simply no way to guarantee the fair implementation and monitoring of collective agreements with teachers. The solution is quite simple; government needs to make the appointments to the Board as required by legislation.”