BC Prefers Arbitration, Not Legislation, To End Education Dispute

Residents are more likely to say that the BCTF has done more to end the impasse over the past two weeks than the provincial government.

Vancouver, BC – As the contract dispute involving the Government of British Columbia and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) continues, residents are expressing a preference to reach a settlement through binding arbitration, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 62% of British Columbians (and 61% of those who have children enrolled in a public school) think the contract dispute should be sent to binding arbitration immediately. Only 28% of British Columbians (and 31% of parents) disagree with this proposed course of action.

When asked whether the BC Government should introduce legislation to impose a contract on the BCTF, a majority of residents (57%) and parents (53%) disagree with this idea.

“At this point, the notion of allowing an arbitrator to rule on the dispute is more appealing to British Columbians than legislating the teachers back to work,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Even half of the residents who voted for the BC Liberals in 2013 do not believe that legislation is a good option.”

The BCTF continues to hold the support of a larger proportion of British Columbians in this contract dispute (49% among both residents and parents) than the provincial government (38% among all residents, and 41% among parents). When asked which side has done more to end the deadlock, almost half of residents (48%) choose the BCTF while just one-in-five (21%) select the government.

Slide1

Four-in-five British Columbians (83%) are following the contract dispute “very closely” or “moderately closely”—an 11-point increase since the first Insights West survey on this subject conducted in early June.

A large proportion of British Columbians (57%, and 53% of parents) disagree with the notion that the only way to give teachers the raise they want is to have higher taxes. An equally high proportion (57%, and 56% of parents) would not be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that schools are open.

Three-in-five British Columbians (64%, along with 69% of parents) believe class sizes in BC’s public schools should be smaller, while 60% of all residents (and 62% of parents) think a balanced budget is more important than raising the salaries of government workers.

British Columbians were also asked which emotions they would use to describe the two sides in the contract dispute. The emotions used more often for the provincial government are disgust (45%), anger (36%), shame (34%) and sadness (30%). The emotions used more often for the BCTF are disgust (32%), sadness (also 32%), anger (30%) and shame (23%).

How Parents and Non-Parents Are Coping

More than half of parents with a child in the public school system (58%) say the contract dispute has caused stress at work for them, and 37% are worried about the effect it could have on their career. In addition, more than one third of parents have seriously considered either home-school (36%) or private school (37%) for their child.

While 54% of parents have signed up to receive $40-per-day per child under the age of 13 from the government, while public schools are not open, two-thirds (66%) say this money is not enough to cover the real cost of their child (or children) not being able to go to school.

More than half of residents who do not have a child in the public school system (52%) say that the contract dispute has affected them directly (+12 since the first time Insights West asked this question in August). In addition, 43% of these non-parents (+7) claim that some of their co-workers who are parents have to leave early or work less.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has seventeen employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 12 to September 14, 2014, among 801 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations for this study.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com