The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation is calling for the resignation of Stephanie Cadieux, the Minister of Children and Family Development, amidst the ongoing controversy involving children under the government’s care.
“Teachers across B.C. are heartbroken and fed up with the government’s lack of action and support for vulnerable and at-risk children, youth, and young adults,” said BCTF President Jim Iker.
Teachers raised their concerns Tuesday night at the 100th BCTF Annual General Meeting, passing an emergency resolution calling for Cadieux to step down.
“As teachers, we see the impact of this government’s damaging policies every single day in our classrooms. Too many children in this province are living in a state of crisis and the Ministry, led by Minister Cadieux, has failed to respond for too long,” said Iker.
The emergency resolution stemmed from the tragic passing of 19-year-old Patricia Evoy, who aged out of care and was found dead in Burnaby last week.
Iker says teachers across the province are expressing the same worry.
“These children and young adults are our students. We know them, care about them, and do our very best to help them. Meanwhile, the government is failing them,” said Iker. “These heartbreaking and completely preventable deaths must stop.”
B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada, and mental health issues are on the rise among students. B.C. teachers say there are not enough school counsellors or learning specialists to address all of their students’ needs.
According to the most recent update from the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, there have been 58 deaths and 245 critical injuries of B.C. children and youth between June 1 and September 20, 2015.
Leaving the legislature Wednesday, Cadieux said, “I don’t have a response for their call, I’ve got a job to do.”