Members of the B.C. Teachers' Federation have voted to ratify an agreement with the province
The BCTF said 94 per cent of ballots were cast in favour of the deal, which union president Clint Johnston said offers significant salary gains and other important benefits.
Johnston said there is a teacher shortage in the province and the new contract will help B.C. recruit and retain more teachers.
"This new deal will help B.C. be more competitive in terms of salary, but we need the government and school districts to do more, as the employer, to ensure our schools are properly staffed and students get the support they need," Johnston said in a statement.
Negotiations between the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association, which negotiates on behalf of the provincial government, began on March 15. Both sides met a total of 47 times before announcing a tentative contract agreement last month.
Johnston said at the time the tentative deal was announced that it includes, in addition to wage increases, 10 more minutes of preparation time for elementary teachers, better health and maternity benefits and minimum standards across the province for professional development funding.
The union said negotiating teacher workloads was challenging and frustrating, but the bargaining team felt the agreement is the best it could get.
News of a ratified deal between teachers and the province comes on the heels of deals with the Hospital Employees' Union, which represents the majority of 60,000 hospital and long-term care workers, and the B.C. General Employees' Union, which covers 33,000 public service workers.