A Look Back at 2017

FPSE Presidents' Council meeting with Minister Melanie Mark

This has been quite a year, for FPSE, and for BC. From our Open the Doors Days of Action in January, to a new government sworn in after 16 years, to Minister Melanie Mark meeting with our Presidents’ Council in Victoria, 2017 has been a whirlwind of activity and change.

Here’s a brief look back at what we’ve been able to accomplish together:

January – Locals in all corners of the province held Days of Action as part of our Open the Doors campaign. People signed our Education Pledge, and shared the campaign with their friends and colleagues.

February – Open the Doors ads circulated in newspapers, on the radio waves, and via social media.

March – We took the Open the Doors campaign to Victoria. Thanks to Rob Fleming, then Advanced Education Critic, for presenting over 25,000 signatures in the legislature.

April – We held our largest campaign Telephone Town Hall where thousands joined us for a live discussion around the changes we need in post-secondary education.

May – The BC election produced an extremely rare result, and we held our FPSE AGM in Victoria. At the end of the month, the NDP and Green Party signed a Confidence and Supply Agreement.

June – Premier Christy Clark met the Legislature, presented a Speech from the Throne that looked like the NDP & Green platforms, and lost a vote of non-confidence. The Lieutenant-Governor asked John Horgan to form government, which he did.

July – The new government was sworn in on July 18.

August – At Camosun College, Premier John Horgan, Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, and Education Minister Rob Fleming announced that Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs would again be tuition-free.

September – At Vancouver Island University, Premier John Horgan, Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark and Katrina Conroy, Minister for Children and Families, announced that former youth in care would now be able to access tuition waivers for any public post-secondary institution in BC. Ten days later, Finance Minster Carole James released the government's first budget update, putting $19 million towards ABE/ELL tuition.

October – Our Presidents’ Council went to Victoria and met with Minister Melanie Mark. It was a positive conversation, and we look forward to continuing the discussion around ways we can make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible, and the system more sustainable, next year.

November – College faculty were legislated back to work by the Ontario Liberal government after employers refused to come to a fair settlement with workers that led to a five-week strike. While the post-secondary landscape differs between BC and Ontario, we have both seen growth in precarious part-time work for educators, which poses problems for the entire post-secondary system.

December – our new FPSE committee focused on decolonization, reconciliation, and Indigenization in post-secondary met for the first time. I’d like to thank each of these committee members for sharing their knowledge and passion with us, and congratulate Sharon McIvor and Justin Wilson on being elected co-chairs of the committee.

With all we’ve been able to accomplish this year, I can’t wait to begin 2018. Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season and new year!

George Davison

President, FPSE

About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.