CFF Starts

Follows: 1 - BC Post-Secondary Education before 1970

With the establishment of junior regional colleges, starting with Vancouver City College and Selkirk College, C.D. Ovans, the General Secretary of the BC Teachers' Federation (in existence since 1917) wrote to the new Principal of Selkirk College, A.E. Soles, on March 15, 1967. Ovans congratulated Soles on his move from the principalship of the Trail Senior Secondary School, and suggested "the possibility of the organizing of a provincial association of regional and school district college faculty members in affiliation with the BCTF." He said they'd tried to get such an organization going in 1966, as many of the new City College employees had been BCTF members in Vancouver high schools or the King Edward centre, but they "ran into problems in the area of pensions, salaries, tenure, medical insurance coverage, etc." Those employees of the various schools had had their own separate organizations, and "Complicating matters further the Vocational people are certified as a union under the Labor Act." Though Ovans said they'd worked together a bit the previous year, "They got so involved with local problems they could not think in terms of provincial organization." He went on to say that the BCTF could not take on members who did not have teaching certificates, and college instructors did not need to be certified: "It would therefore not be appropriate for the BCTF to offer membership to some College people and exclude others." The answer would be a college association affiliated with the BCTF. 

It is taken for granted that College staff will see a need for organization sooner or later. In time there will be a significant number of colleges in various parts of the province so a provincial organization should be considered from the beginning. City College teachers here in Vancouver might find it easier to identify with a provincial organization with a Castlegar nucleus than to start one themselves. 

I understand that the Canadian Association of University Professors has voted to deny membership to College people. Affiliation with an established organization like the BCTF may appear to be more attractive because of this. It may be significant, too, that some faculty members at Simon Fraser are asking about the possibility of establishing some sort of tie-in with the Federation.

Ovans offered to come to Castlegar after Easter to talk to Soles "for a full discussion of the whole matter with you and your staff." Presciently, he ended by saying that "continuous education seems now to be well established", and "Within 20 years college level education will likely become almost as common as secondary school education is today. Perhaps we should start now to bring all educators within the same professional organization." 

Whether the overture by Ovans worked or not, later in 1967, representatives of faculty at Vancouver City College (Langara) and Selkirk College met to explore some form of cooperation. That led to the establishment of a steering committee in mid-1969 to draft a constitution for a “BC Federation of Community College Faculty Associations”. Invitations went to all the faculty associations at the new colleges for a face-to-face meeting - one voting delegate per local and any numbers of observers - in Vancouver on the Remembrance Day weekend in November. Those from out of town would be billeted in faculty members' homes.

Lunch on November 8th was at Vancouver City College, followed by an afternoon meeting to discuss the constitution and interim executive. Dinner was at the Biltmore Hotel, hosted by Vancouver City College and Capilano College Faculty Associations. On Sunday morning, delegates met at Capilano College to talk about a College Act, salaries and working conditions and professional development.

The constitution was then sent to locals for ratification by their members, and an AGM was planned for the end of March, 1970.

Six faculty associations (Capilano, Malaspina, New Caledonia, Okanagan, Selkirk, and Vancouver City - Langara) representing 318 members joined together to form the College Faculties Federation (CFF) on March 28, 1970 (the Easter long weekend). Representatives from BCIT Staff Society attended, and took information back to their members.

The first President was Brian Webster, a science instructor at Selkirk College. Three committees were set up: the College Act, pensions, and salary & working conditions. Fees were set at $7 per full member; $2 for associate members. The budget was set at $2,445 based on the number of members of the 6 member locals.

Two face-to-face executive meetings were held the first year: the first on August 21 in Kelowna, and the second in December in Kamloops.

Dave Harrison of Malaspina was the first newsletter editor. 

Next: 3 - The CFF Grows in the 1970s