Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

GOOD NEWS: Funding for Adult Basic Education and English Second Language programs restored

Aug 9, 2017 FPSE News

After years of lobbying, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) is delighted with news that Premier John Horgan has restored funding to Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in B.C.

Cuts to ESL education announced by Ottawa in late 2013 led to huge tuition fees for ESL students, and provincial cuts to adult basic education, starting in January 2015, shut the door on post-secondary ambitions for many adult learners. The introduction of fees for ESL and adult basic education disproportionately affected low income earners, single parents, newcomers, refugees, and aboriginal students.

FPSE President George Davison attended the funding announcement Tuesday, August 8, at Camosun College in Victoria, where he met with Premier Horgan, Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark, and Education Minister Rob Fleming.

“Premier Horgan’s announcement marks the end of a three-year campaign to ensure that adult learners and newcomers have access to basic education and language training in B.C.” said Davison. “Our members were clear that adult basic education and English language programs provided foundational skills essential to secure employment and further post-secondary learning.”

The premier’s announcement is a victory for our members. Our Open the Doors campaign resulted in pre-election commitments to restore funding for these essential programs from the BC NDP and BC Greens, and from the BC Liberals in their aborted Throne Speech. The announcement is an important step in making sure that our education system is more affordable and accessible for all.

“This is good news for our members, and for anyone who cares about education in our province. But our work isn’t over,” said Davison. “There are a number of serious issues still facing our members in both public and private institutions throughout B.C., and we will continue to press the new government on those issues, including improving the trades training system, addressing affordability for students and student debt levels, the casualization of precarious academic work, and fulfilling the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Statement on new BC Government

Jul 18, 2017 FPSE News

On July 18, 2017, Premier John Horgan and his cabinet were sworn-in and are now the official new government of British Columbia. Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC President George Davison was in attendance to witness this historic moment, and had the following to say on behalf of the Federation:

“Over the past 16 years, government funding of post-secondary education has massively declined, placing an unsustainable burden on students and families across BC. On behalf of the member locals of our federation, we welcome The Honourable Melanie Mark, M.L.A., to her new role as Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. We are confident that the new government is committed to improving the lives of all British Columbians with a renewed commitment to providing better choices and opportunities in post-secondary education.”

We look forward to working with the minister on issues such as free access to Adult Basic Education and ESL, reducing student debt including the elimination of interest on student loans, support for rural colleges, and indigenization of the curriculum.

FPSE has always worked to ensure post-secondary education remains affordable and accessible and that it meets the needs of people throughout the province. We look forward to working with Premier Horgan and his government to address the challenges ahead.

Stronger Together: Highlights from FPSE’s 47th Annual General Meeting & Convention

Jun 5, 2017 FPSE News

Delegates to FPSE’s Annual General Meeting and Convention, held May 15-18, 2017, demonstrated their ongoing support for FPSE’s leadership by acclaiming all four executive officers to their positions. Returning to their roles for another one-year term are President George Davison, Secretary-Treasurer Terri Van Steinburg, First Vice-President Frank Cosco, and Second Vice-President Leslie Molnar. Presidents’ Council also elected two Members-at-Large to serve on the Executive, Tim Walters (Local 9) and Shirley Ackland (Local 16), at the post-Convention meeting.

“I’m humbled to have once again received the support and confidence of the members of our Federation,” said Davison. “We have an exciting year ahead of us, full of opportunity with a new government poised to take office. We look forward to increased consultation with faculty and staff at our public post-secondary institutions, and working together to improve affordability and accessibility for post-secondary students.”

“It’s an honour to have been re-elected to the role of Secretary-Treasurer. Being part of our Federation’s leadership has been an incredible privilege,” said Van Steinburg. “FPSE is growing rapidly, taking on exciting projects and campaigns, and I’m committed to ensuring we have the necessary resources to support all our Locals and members across the province.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Jane McAlevey, who gave a rousing talk about the importance of building high-participation unions. McAlevey, an organizer, negotiator, author, and educator, works with unions all over the world to make a shift to more participatory approaches to our traditional work. “I want to talk about winning, because winning matters,” McAlevey said. “Some things that we do lead to winning, and some things that we do don’t. Taking risk is connected to winning.”

Delegates also heard from Aaron Ekman, Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour; Paul Faoro, President of CUPE BC; Anna Beukes, President of Alberta Colleges & Institutes Faculties Association (ACIFA); and Simka Marshall, Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students.

The convention featured robust and healthy debate on a variety of topics. Among the resolutions passed was a bylaw amendment creating a seat for the Chair of the Non-Regular Faculty Committee at Presidents’ Council, which governs FPSE between AGMs. Like the Executive Committee members, this position will have full voice but no vote. Delegates also voted to continue FPSE’s advocacy for tuition-free Adult Basic Education and English as an Additional Language; to build upon the Open the Doors campaign; and to prioritize decolonization, reconciliation, and indigenization on our campuses and in Canadian society – including the creation of a new FPSE Standing Committee to further these goals.

The 48th Annual General Meeting and Convention will be held May 14-17, 2018 in Whistler, hosted by Capilano Faculty Association, FPSE Local 1.

Statement on BC NDP and Green Party Agreement

May 30, 2017 FPSE News

On behalf of 10,000 FPSE members, we want to congratulate John Horgan and Andrew Weaver on reaching their historic governing agreement, putting British Columbians ahead of partisan interests.

We are hopeful that this agreement will be transformative for BC, and that its spirit of compromise serve as a democratizing force encouraging cooperative and consultative governance far beyond the next four years.

We look forward to the opportunity to consult with a new government to discuss post-secondary education policy priorities, including a comprehensive review of the funding formula, tuition-free ABE and ESL programs, and student debt relief.

There is a great deal of work to be done in the coming weeks, months, and years, and we’re looking forward to being part of it.