Public Affairs Update Header
August 6, 2013
In This Issue
BC Chamber supports Core Review terms of reference
Christy Clark sworn in as MLA, gets down to business
Teachers’ Right to Strike with 10-year agreement
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

BC Chamber supports Core Review terms of reference
The BC Chamber has announced its support for the just-announced  terms of reference for the B.C. government’s Core Review process.The terms of reference were announced last week by Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines and minister responsible for core review.

The Core Review will encompass the mandates and program delivery models of all ministries, boards, commissions, Crown agencies as well as schools, universities, colleges and hospitals. The government’s goal is to save $50 million in each of the next two years, in addition to $30 million this year.

The Core Review will include industry and stakeholder consultations with recommendations expected to take place before the end of fiscal year 2013-14, and the review will be implemented the end of 2014.

Bennett outlined the objectives of the Core Review to include:

  • ensuring ministry programs and activities are focused on achieving government’s vision of a strong economy and secure tomorrow;
  • confirming government’s core responsibilities and eliminating programs that could provide better service at less cost through alternative service delivery models; and
  • ensuring public-sector management wage levels are appropriate.

The Core Review working group expects it will have a plan approved by summer’s end.

Christy Clark sworn as MLA, gets down to business
Premier Christy Clark was formally sworn in as MLA for Westside-Kelowna at a ceremony in Vancouver this week, marking her official return to elected office as the leader of the BC Liberal government.Premier Clark marked her return to office by making good on a by-election promise to help fund flood mitigation measures in Kelowna.

But with the by-election over, the premier is turning her attention to the government’s broader goals of LNG development, controlling government spending, reducing the size of government and long-term labour peace with teachers.

Teachers’ Right to Strike with 10-year agreement
In a letter to school board chairs and superintendents this week, Minister of Education Peter Fassbender proposed giving teachers the right to strike as part of a series of legislative amendments the B.C. government intends to introduce in the next session. Additionally, the legislative changes will include a more direct role for the government in negotiating agreements with the BC Teachers’ Federation, which will resume this fall.As a temporary measure, the government has appointed a public administrator for the BC Public School Employees Association (BCSPEA), the accredited bargaining agent for boards of education. The government states that appointing a public administrator is the most transparent and effective means to implement BCPSEA’s new bargaining mandate, which emphasizes the need for a long-term collective agreement that is aligned with the province’s education policy goals.The appointment follows a number of other measures taken by the government in pursuit of its election commitment to bargaining directly with the BCTF toward a 10-year agreement.
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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.