Minister of Education encourages BCTF to lift pickets during mediation

VICTORIA – Minister of Education Peter Fassbender issued the following statement today:

“Yesterday I had a productive and respectful meeting with BCTF president Jim Iker and BCPSEA lead negotiator Peter Cameron where I proposed three steps to help reach a settlement and clear the way for schools to start on schedule.

“I asked the parties to set aside the matter of potential grievances stemming from Justice Griffin’s decision. These matters will be addressed through the ongoing court process and moving them off the bargaining table helps to put the focus on the key issues of teacher wages and class size and composition. 

“I urged them to get into mediation as soon as possible, and I asked the BCTF and BCPSEA to voluntarily suspend all strike or lockout activities for two weeks the moment Mr. Ready starts mediation.

“Mr. Iker told me that he could not commit to suspending his pickets during mediation because it would require him to first canvass all of his members.

“Today, I am asking Mr. Iker and the BCTF leadership to canvass teachers in advance of September 2nd on the idea of suspending their pickets if Vince Ready is engaged in mediation.

“There are only a few days ahead for Mr. Iker to seek a mandate from teachers on this idea. I think parents, students and communities would like to know whether the BCTF is willing to let schools open and allow teachers to work while mediator Vince Ready helps the parties to negotiate an agreement.

“I am encouraged that the lead negotiators for BCPSEA and the BCTF are meeting with Vince Ready this afternoon to discuss these recent developments. It is up to Mr. Ready to decide when to start full mediation but if it starts and progress is being made, it would be nice for all involved to know whether schools will open on schedule.”

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Coquihalla Bus Accident – Facility Response

Interior Health staff and physicians have mobilized to respond to a serious bus accident that has occurred on the Coquihalla Highway, south of Merritt.

 Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) in Kamloops and Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) in Kelowna have initiated a Code Orange response in preparation of accepting patients from the crash. Additional staff members and physicians are being brought in to support critical areas such as the emergency department, lab, and diagnostics.

 At this time, RIH is anticipating up to 40 patients and KGH up to 20.

 Status of patients is unavailable at this time.

 Further updates will be issued as new information becomes available.

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A Message From Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson

linda larson photo for osoyoos newsThoughts turn to fall as summer nears an end

August has gone by quickly as summer months seem to do. The ‘buzz’ word of the month was ‘staycation’. Many of you have been enjoying holidays in B.C. for many years but perhaps a few more British Columbians decided to look at what was available close to home but still ‘away’.

  My husband and I have been going to Beaver Lake Resort for a few days each summer, only three hours from home and one of many small pieces of paradise in the Okanagan. Another hidden jewel is Big White. While many of you think of skiing when you see the name, it is truly a beautiful place for a summer vacation. Walking or hiking, amazing views, and 10 degrees cooler than the valley bottom. While we love the heat, a few days break for it is welcome.

 There were many events and celebrations over the summer, but I only have space to touch on a few. The BC Wildlife Federation in partnership with the BC Freshwater Fishing Association held a fundraiser at Twin Lakes to support their ‘Anyone can Fish’ initiative and other programs to enable people of any age or circumstance to enjoy fishing. A huge thanks to Kate at Twin Lakes for her generosity and Mike Stern and his team for their work in organizing this successful event.

 Did you know the town of Oliver has been recognized by the Okanagan Basin Water Board under their initiative ‘Make Water Work’ as the most water wise community in the Okanagan? Oliver residents responded to the challenge to conserve and are to be congratulated on embracing this challenge.

 The BC Ambassador Program has just selected three young women to carry the banner for the next year. We are proud of Oliver’s Juliana Martine on her selection. I also want to thank Osoyoos’s Lauren Smallwood who was a BC Ambassador last year. These young women will attend many provincial events in the year as an Ambassador and are role models to all of the importance of community participation and volunteering.

 While we appreciate slightly cooler evenings as we move into fall, this is not the end of our busy season. Over the next two months there are numerous fall fairs, including Rock Creek’s on Sept 13 and 14 as well as celebrations throughout the region as our world class wine industry brings in another vintage and shares their passion with multiple food and wine events. Please take time to enjoy all the great fall activities throughout Boundary, Similkameen, and the South Okanagan.

 As chair of the Select Standing Committee on Health, I want to pass on to all of you our Request for Submissions. We would be pleased to hear from any of you on these subjects:

  1. How government can improve health and health care services in rural B.C.? In particular what long term solutions can address the challenges of recruitment and retention of health-care professionals?
  2. How can we create a cost-effective system of primary and community care built around interdisciplinary teams?
  3. What best practices can be implemented to improve end-of-life care?
  4. How can we enhance the effectiveness of addiction recovery programs?

 For a full explanation of the submission process and goals please visit the Select Standing Committee on Health online at

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Feature film planned


I have another large feature film looking in the Okanagan, Boundary or Similkameen regions. I need to find a large abandon mill, mine or logging camp like the examples I’ve included? Are you aware of any like these that might be a little more remote. All help is appreciated. Photographs and contacts more so. Also if anyone knows the contact info for these locations shown in the photographs it would be helpful if you could forward them to us.

Jon Summerland
Film Commissioner
Okanagan Film Commission

This is the description of the complex directly from the script:

The terrain is steep, the ground broken and tightly
packed with fir, spruce, birches, twisting vines and
rotting deadfall. The growth is oppressive and dark,
forcing them to wind their way through it.
They pass a beaver pond, narrow channels of cold tea colored
water that meander through the sedges — a break
in the dense woods offering open air and welcome glimpses of the sky.

At one point they pass the overgrown ruins of some long abandoned

community — most likely a saw mill — in the

process of being reclaimed by vegetation.

I look forward to any info you may be able to provide.


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MOU to increase apprentice mobility between B.C. and New Brunswick

bc logoApprentices in British Columbia and New Brunswick will now be able to seamlessly work in either province, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Premiers Christy Clark and David Alward at the Council of the Federation meeting today in Charlottetown.

Starting this fall, apprentices in British Columbia and New Brunswick will be able to seamlessly work in either province to achieve their Red Seal certificate, and move freely between the two provinces to take advantage of job opportunities.

The MOU is meant to address immediate and future demand for skilled labour in both B.C. and N.B., and ideally contribute to the development of a national apprenticeship mobility strategy. 

Differences in provincial and territorial apprenticeship certification requirements mean that for some Canadian apprentices, gaining the skills training required to achieve their Red Seal certificate can be a challenge if they are unable to move to where the jobs are. 

These differences also make it difficult for employers, particularly those who have operations in multiple Canadian jurisdictions, to employ apprentices from other parts of Canada to meet their short-term labour needs. 

The MOU between B.C. and N.B will remove these barriers, and benefit both provinces by:

  • Supporting B.C.’s labour needs, beyond the supply of its available workforce, during peak labour demands through the mobility of N.B. apprentices.
  • Accelerating the certification of N.B. apprentices in their trades through employment with B.C. employers.

The MOU will be fully implemented by the fall 2014. Apprentices will then be able to move freely between British Columbia and New Brunswick to take advantage of job opportunities, which support their skills training in the trades.

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Minister of Education’s meeting with BCTF and BCPSEA

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:35 PM

“I invited the lead negotiators, Mr. Iker and Mr. Cameron, to meet with me today because we all want to resolve this strike. We want to see students in school next Tuesday.

“To make that happen, both sides need to focus on the issues that can be mediated and settled immediately and set aside some matters that will be dealt with by the courts.

“I proposed three specific steps to reach a settlement and clear the way for students to go back to school on schedule.

“First, I asked the parties to set aside the matter of potential grievances stemming from Justice Griffin’s decision.

“The demand on potential grievances is nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year. This matter is before the courts and will be addressed through the appeals process.

“I’m not asking the BCTF to do anything prejudicial to their court case, but setting this issue aside as the appeals process takes place gives mediation a chance to succeed.

“Second, I urged the parties to get into mediation as soon as possible. 

“I made it clear that setting aside the grievances is not a precondition for mediation but I stated my belief that doing so would allow negotiations to focus squarely on the key issues at hand: teachers’ wages and class size and composition. 

“My hope is that it would move the parties into a zone where mediator Vince Ready sees an opportunity to start productive mediation. 

“We expect Mr. Ready will explore this development but – as it was agreed to by the parties – it remains up to Mr. Ready to decide when to start full mediation. 

“As soon as Mr. Ready indicates mediation should commence, we are ready. In fact, we are ready now.

“And third, I asked the BCTF and BCPSEA to suspend all strike or lockout activities for two weeks when Mr. Ready starts mediation. 

“Government has no plan to legislate an end to this dispute and we are not asking either the BCTF or BCPSEA to give up their right to strike or lockout.

“We are just asking them to voluntarily stand down and let classes start while the parties are in mediation. 

“British Columbia has a world-class public education system and our students consistently rank among the best in the world. That is in large measure due to our great teachers. We need to resolve this dispute and work together to build on our success and prepare our students for the future.”

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Suspicious Package Deemed Harmless

A suspicious package that was left in the parking lot at the Osoyoos RCMP detachment has been deemed harmless by an explosives crew from Vancouver. The contents of the package are not yet being disclosed.

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