President’s Letters & News

June 2024 Report to the general meeting

by | Jun 11, 2024 | PRESIDENT’S LETTERS

Year in Review:

In the fall, our VCCFA Executive made the decision to give notice to leave FPSE. We then engaged in 5 months of conversations with members, leading to a vote March 20th. 76% of the membership voted to leave FPSE.

Audrey ( our office manager of many years) retired in December, and we hired Amarys in the fall to shadow her before taking over in December. Amarys is now the voice behind the phone and the email for She has settled into some big shoes very capably, and we are grateful to have her support in the office.

During the fall we came to an agreement with the college to bring the ECCE teachers into our union. This was after a group of ECCE faculty approached us about doing an organizing drive. That prompted a card signing campaign and an eventual mediation at the labour board. The result of all this was that we were able to bargain an “interim” agreement that sets out wages, conditions and benefits from now until we begin the next round of bargaining. We are excited to have the group among us, and we congratulate Daniel Lindskog-Wilson who was elected as the first department head for the group.

Since the March 20 vote, we have worked on preparing ourselves to be independent from FPSE. We have written and revised policy, researched and taken courses on grievance and arbitration handling, and worked with our investment firm to set up a separate legal fund as well as create a roadmap for building up our defence fund.

We attended the FPSE AGM in Surrey, our last participation in the federation. We were well received and believe we prompted important conversations about the state of the federation.

 We constituted a joint committee (made up of two administrators and two FA members) to investigate ways to Indigenize the collective agreement during the next round of bargaining. Thanks to Karen Brooke and Mae Bickley for taking on this work on our behalf.


Themes emerging from our work:

The college committed to 5 EAL support positions (to support international students and their teachers) back in the fall. It has taken us all year to get a signed letter of agreement. Soon the Expression of Interest will go out, and we hope the 5 additional EAL support positions will be in place for the start of the fall term.

Issues related to international students are a big theme this year. How do we support these students properly in terms of language support? What can be done about issues of hunger and housing precarity for these students? And what is the effect on workload for teachers that continue to be pressured to take more and more students, all with considerable needs, into their classes? And then of course are the caps introduced by the government. So far, VCC seems to be faring ok, but we will continue to monitor the situation.

AI is another complex issue. While some faculty embrace AI and its possibilities in the classroom, others are overwhelmed with trying to ascertain what aspects of AI generated work can realistically be called one’s own. The college has struck a committee, led by Emily Simpson and Fionna Chong from CTLR. The committee wants to try to have a set of guidelines for AI use as well as some practical workshop/drop-in style offerings meant to assist faculty who are struggling to make sense of it all ready for the fall.

We are engaging in a campaign to persuade the college to hire more counsellors. We have had this as a bargaining demand the last two rounds, and we have gotten nowhere. Now, the workload for counsellors is intense. In the month of March, our counselling department managed one mental health crisis every single day. Counsellors move from appointment to appointment all day, and the students are in crisis in record numbers. We have only 5.75 counsellors for both campuses. For the sake of the students and the counsellors themselves, we need to increase this number.


Thank you’ s: 

My thanks to Frank and John, to Amarys, to the members of the Executive, to the Stewards, to our reps on regular pd funds, AC/PD funds, SIEF funds, Education Council (and its sub-committees), Education Leave Committee, JOHS, Community Action, the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee, JEDI committee reps, and to our rep on the College Board of Governors –

My gratitude for your work on behalf of the VCCFA. 

Taryn Thomson