A three-year collective agreement has been reached between the Yukon government and the Yukon Association of Education Professionals.
The deal will be in place until June 30, 2024, a Jan. 31 joint statement by the union and government reads.
Under the agreement, union members will see an increase of 5.35 per cent over the three years, beginning with 1.75 per cent in the first year, followed by 1.8 per cent in each of the following two years. The deal also includes a 7.5 per cent increase for teachers-on-call which is effective immediately.
Members voted to ratify the agreement on Jan. 26 following negotiations that began in May 2021 for the agreement that was set to end June 30, 2021.
“Thank you to the bargaining teams at the Government of Yukon and the Yukon Association for Education Professionals, who have reached a collective agreement that benefits Yukon educators while being fair and financially responsible,” Public Service Commission Minister John Streicker said. “I would like to acknowledge the very tough job our education professionals have had during the pandemic and thank them for their dedication to learning.”
Education Minister Jeanie McLean said she is pleased an agreement was reached that supports teachers and school staff “in our effort to ensure Yukon learners have the skills and knowledge they need to learn and thrive in schools across the territory.”
The union represents 1,186 teachers, Yukon First Nation language teachers, educational assistants, teachers-on-call, and other educational professionals throughout the territory.
“The Yukon Association of Education Professionals thanks the Government of Yukon for the opportunity to negotiate a new collective agreement to provide workplace certainty during these challenging times,” union president Ted Hupé said.
While the union is pleased with the deal, Hupé said in a separate interview there are some questions about the availalibility of COVID-19 rapid tests in schools that he is seeking answers on.
As schools in the territory distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to families, Hupé said the union received no information about the plans until they were announced publicly on Jan. 25.
“We weren’t informed at all,” Ted Hupé said in a Jan. 28 interview, adding that while overall access to rapid tests is a “good news story”, he would have liked to have heard from government officials before the announcement.
Education Minister Jeanie McLean spoke to the plans at the Jan. 25 COVID-19 update. She said schools and early childhood learning centres in rural Yukon will receive 2,800 rapid tests, with access to also expand to Whitehorse schools and early childhood education centres in the coming days.
Some families have since received correspondence from their school stating the test kits can be picked up at the school.
Hupé said he would be reaching out to the Department of Education in the hopes of getting answers to some of the questions that are coming into his office about the rapid tests.
He noted that while many school staff are happy the rapid tests are more readily available, he wants to directly speak with Education officials about it.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org