The Yukon government’s Department of Education has filed responses to unpaid wage lawsuits filed against it by five substitute teachers last month. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Yukon government denies it owes substitute teachers unpaid wages

The Department of Education filed responses July 5 to five lawsuits launched against it by substitute teachers

The Yukon government’s Department of Education has filed responses to unpaid wage lawsuits filed against it by five substitute teachers last month, denying that it owes them pay and that the substitute teachers knew the department’s pay scheme going into the job.

Substitute teachers Monique Lange, Sandra Marguerite Gabb, Ellen Lopushinsky, Geoffrey Bryan Abbott and Lauren Lester each filed lawsuits to the Yukon small claims court in mid-June, alleging that the Department of Education owes them between $1,900 to $5,700 each for hours they worked but were not paid for this year and last.

Their claims add up to nearly $17,000 in allegedly unpaid wages.

The Department of Education filed nearly-identical replies to each of the lawsuits July 5. The replies state that the department disagrees with the substitute teachers’ claims and that it “denies each and every one of the allegations.”

At the core of each of the substitute teachers’ lawsuits is that they are paid a flat daily rate ranging from $136 to $218, but, on pay advice forms, a “full day” of work is listed as five hours. In their lawsuits, the substitute teachers say they regularly work more than five hours a day, each pointing out that the Yukon government’s own school bell schedules do not show a school day that lasts five hours or less. They also claim that they are not being properly compensated for out-of-classroom duties like supervision or preparing for lessons.

However, in its replies, the Department of Education says that the five hours listed on pay advice forms for substitute teachers “is for reporting purposes only and does not correspond to the hours worked by the substitute teacher nor does it reflect expectations of the time substitute teachers are expected to work in a day.”

The department’s replies also say that substitute teachers’ daily rates of pay — which it lists as starting at $140, $5 more than the starting rate listed on its own website — are set out under the Substitute Personnel Regulation, posted on the department’s website and emailed to everyone accepted as a substitute teacher.

“In entering into employment with the (Department of Education) as a substitute teacher, the Plaintiff accepted the daily payment scheme set out in the Regulations,” the replies read.

“The Defendant has paid the Plaintiff in accordance with the Regulations and does not owe the Plaintiff any unpaid wages.

“The Plaintiff cannot pay the Defendant other than as stipulated in the Regulations.”

As of the end of July 5, the substitute teachers have not yet filed responses.

Two of them — Lopushinsky and Abbott — previously told the News that because substitute teachers don’t have a union, they felt they had no way to raise concerns about pay and work conditions other than to take the Department of Education to court.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Yukon courtsYukon Department of Education

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read