Thank you to all who took the time to participate in the Extended Health Benefits Plan vote that took place over the past two days, and those who attended information sessions and talked with colleagues about this important decision.
The result of last night’s vote, in which 43% of members participated, was a solid mandate to remain in the current VTF Extended Benefits Plan. The vote was open to all VTF K-12 and Adult Education members, including TTOCs and members on leave.
The number of votes were as follows:
Remain in the local Vancouver EHB plan 1295 (74.9%)
Move to the standardized provincial EHB plan 435 (25.1%)
While a significant majority voted to stay in the VTF plan, we know that it continues to be insufficient to address many member’s needs. Please remember that while current legislation does not allow Vancouver to negotiate improvements to our local plan, we can, through upcoming rounds of provincial bargaining, continue to seek improvements to the provincial plan.
VEAES and VSTA each recognize that many members will feel disappointed that the immediate needs of themselves and their families will not be improved by this vote, while others will feel great relief that their current necessary benefits will continue to be provided, and together, we will continue to represent all members’ voices when it comes to working conditions and our negotiated benefits.
The 2022-2025 collective agreement also includes provisions for small improvements (1.5 million) to the provincial EHB plan over the remaining two years of the agreement. These improvements are currently being negotiated at the provincial level. Further information will be made available when those negotiations are concluded, and we will reach out to members for advice and direction at that time.
The decision to remain in our current plan at this time does not end our conversation about benefits, however. We continue to have the right to “opt-in” to the provincial benefits plan at any time in the future.
We know that for many members, the counselling provisions in the provincial plan were very compelling, and this, is in part, connects to our untenable working conditions. This will continue to be the basis of our advocacy in Vancouver, and at the provincial level as well.
If affordability of counselling is an issue for you or your family, we encourage accessing supports available through the BCTF, funded by member dues and free to access, such as the Health and Wellness Program, the Well Teacher supports, and, if necessary, the Short Term Indemnity Plan, as well as the VSB’s Employee and Family Assistance Plan. You can find information about these in the links below.
Thank you for including your voice in this most recent referendum on our Extended Health Benefits Plan.
Jody (VEAES) and Carmen (VSTA)
BCTF Health and Wellness Program – This confidential BCTF program pairs members who are returning to work from medical leave, need a medical accommodation, or are using sick leave to manage wellness with an Occupational Therapist, who will support members to achieve wellness goals including support with medical processes and potential cost-sharing of medical needs not covered by our plan.
BCTF Well Teacher Groups – Well Teacher groups are free groups led by a wellness facilitator and focused on the needs of teachers, specifically related to the challenges of our profession and focused on strengthening resilience and developing better work-life balance. These groups are based on the book “The Well Teacher”.
Starling Minds Online CBT Therapy – This free Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is aimed at supporting members who are dealing with anxiety and depression, and is designed for teachers. This is a self-paced program that members can complete as needed. More than half of all BCTF members have accessed this program!
BCTF Short Term Indemnity Plan – If you are considering a medical leave or a medical accommodation, but are concerned about your sick leave use, remember that the BCTF has a member-funded program to provide benefits for up to 120 days. Please review the links or contact your local if you have questions about this program, about a potential medical leave or disability.
VSB Wellness and EFAP programs – Resources for teachers provided by the VSB can be found on the VSB Staff website