Vancouver teachers contract first in province to include support for transgender employees

    VANCOUVER, March 30 /CNW/ - "We are very proud to have the first teachers
Collective Agreement in the province to include anti-discrimination language
that recognizes discrimination on the basis of gender identity," says Glen
Hansman, President of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association
(VESTA). "There may not even be another one in Canada."
    VESTA and its secondary counterpart, Vancouver Secondary Teachers'
Association (VSTA), bargain collectively as the Vancouver Teachers'
Federation. They signed a memorandum of agreement with the Vancouver School
Board recently that will be ratified by teachers on April 12th. No other
teachers contract in BC mentions gender identity.
    "As teachers, we have been very active the past five years working with
management and trustees of the Vancouver School Board to make schools
welcoming for all members of our school community," says Glen Hansman. "Having
this new language is a significant step in protecting trans-identified and
gender non-conforming employees against transphobia and other forms of
    Significantly, the new contract language specifically states that nothing
"requires the affected employee to actually possess a characteristic that is
the basis for discrimination."
    "Because of the Azmi Jubran vs. North Vancouver School Board case a
couple years ago, we thought it was important for this point to be
specifically stated in our Collective Agreement," says Glen Hansman. "Thanks
to Mr. Jubran's persistence, it is absolutely clear now that one does not have
to be a person of colour to be affected by racism, that one does not have to
be gay to be a victim of homophobia - and our new Collective Agreement
language reflects that."
    "Collective bargaining is an important form of social justice work," says
Glen Hansman, "and we are very happy to have achieved this at the local level
for our teachers."

    Glen Hansman is the President of the Vancouver Elementary School
Teachers' Association, and former antihomophobia consultant for the Vancouver
School Board.

For further information:

For further information: Glen Hansman at (604) 873-8378 (Monday-Friday),
(604) 813-5318 (cell), or

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