Extend Recall Rights for
Lively Rally in Vancouver Supports Teachers at International Language Schools Canada
Jean Ardila is Director,
Bargaining Unit 1, Education and Training Employees Association (ETEA)
Workers' Forum: We are
here at the International Language Schools Canada (ILSC) Vancouver
location where there was a very successful rally this morning. What are
the demands of the ILSC teachers?
Ardila: I have been a teacher at ILSC Vancouver for
17 years. I am the Director of Bargaining Unit 1 which represents the
teachers here. We held the rally today to tell ILSC to extend recall
rights for its teachers. Besides former and current ILSC teachers,
colleagues from other schools and other supporters were here as
Ardila addressing the rally at ILSC in Vancouver on March 16.
want ILSC to agree to extend our recall rights for as long as it takes
for the school to be back to full operation. In our contract we have a
provision for recall for 12 months and that was because our industry is
somewhat cyclical and historically there is a slowdown in enrollment
from November to March and teachers can be laid off for
several months. This language was not meant to deal with the
extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic. About 99 per cent of
our students are international students doing immersion courses,
preparing to go into post-secondary schools in Canada or elsewhere.
Because of the travel restrictions enrollment is down about 90 per
cent. A few
of our teachers were already laid off at the end of 2019 or beginning
of 2020, as usual, so their 12 months has already expired and they have
been terminated. By the end of April we could lose 31 teachers. We had
77 teachers at the start of the pandemic.
What has been the response to your campaign?
Today was our first physical manifestation. We have a marvelous online
social media campaign with a petition at change.org and a Facebook
page, Friends of ILSC Teachers Vancouver, where lots of long time
teachers and students, some from as long ago as 20 years, are posting
photos and messages of support. Speakers at
the rally today pointed out that we teachers have been the main factor
in the success of ILSC as a leading English Language school in North
America. The school was founded in Vancouver and it is our work that
has made it possible for the school to expand to Toronto, then
Montreal, now Australia and India.
What is the situation in other schools?
All the other language schools in Vancouver with ETEA contracts have
extended recall rights. In Toronto last June ILSC agreed to extend the
recall rights of our colleagues there who are members of the Ontario
Secondary School Teachers' Federation. What we are asking for is an
extension until international students are
able to fly into the country and things are back to the way they were
at the school.
What are you asking the community to do to support you?
We call what ILSC is doing COVID opportunism. We are teachers who have
been here for 10 to 18 years or more. We are in our seventh collective
agreement and because we have advocated for ourselves we have five to
six weeks paid holidays, extended benefits. We have a 10-stage pay
grade and many are at the top
level. By terminating teachers the school wants to wipe out all of
that. They have told the union in writing and told the teachers who are
being terminated that they can reapply for their jobs and will start
all over again, with a probation period, entry level wages and
benefits. With our campaign we are affirming our rights as workers, as
this school and calling on ILSC to do the right thing.
March 17 we have an informal mediation under the auspices of the BC
Labour Relations Board to hear the union's complaint that the company
is violating Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act which requires them
to negotiate a readjustment plan and act in good faith. We will see if
ILSC has heard our message or we have more work to
We want people to keep signing and circulating
the petition and posting on the Facebook page and we will keep everyone
informed about developments and further actions.
support the ILSC Teachers:
and circulate the petition.
Visit and post on the Friends of ILSC Vancouver Teachers Facebook
or Instagram pages.
This article was published in
March 19, 2021 - No.