The commissioner for boys high school rugby says B.C. School Sports (BCSS) voting process to change the governance model of high schools sports has lost all credibility.
Commissioner Walter van Halst, also a teacher at Lord Tweedsmuir, told the Cloverdale Reporter via email he’s shocked the BCSS has floated the proposal, complete with a list of stakeholder groups that will be a part of a new “legislative assembly”, without consulting all of those groups. He said he found out at least one group—the B.C. Teachers Federation—wasn’t consulted about being a part of the new governance model.
“When 460 Member Schools in this province are presented with a document to vote on, which claims their union is part of a new system for running BC School Sports, and now we find out during early voting itself that union wasn’t even consulted, then this process has lost all credibility.”
According to the BCSS document, 10 stakeholder groups would have voting reps in the 55-member legislative assembly, which each group would appoint themselves.
“There are 10 stakeholder groups which we have all been told will be part of the new system,” said van Halst, “and we don’t even know how many of them are willing to take part.”
In an email from the BCTF forwarded to the Reporter, executive director Amber Mitchell wrote, “At this time I can confirm for you that the BCTF has not been involved or received communication from BCSS regarding their governance model proposal.”
Mitchell wrote the BCTF has now reached out to BCSS in an effort to have “further discussion” about being a part of the new model, should it pass at the AGM.
“The BCTF has a quite specific process for approval of any representation requests of this kind and that would need to be undertaken prior to any agreement of Federation participation in representation.”
Rick Thiessen, president of the BCSS board of directors was unable to chat to the Reporter as he was teaching today, but he did forward a statement from the BCSS board of directors. (Please see full statement below.)
“BCSS wishes to clarify that the governance proposal was always premised around finding the ideal structure that best supported the sustainability and growth of school sport,” the statement says. “ The result was a proposal that included a seat on the Legislative Assembly for ten partner organizations, from education, sport, and government sectors.
“An invitation for the BCTF to name a Legislative Assembly member is already prepared, should governance pass so they can begin their process. Just as invitations are prepared for all other stakeholder groups, who as a result of our current relationships have varying levels of knowledge of the proposal.”
Van Halst said because advance voting has already begun, the voting process has been tainted. “The package they are voting on isn’t even real because at least one of the groups listed as a stakeholder hasn’t even been invited to participate.”
He thinks their is a great injustice taking place, whether the proposal passes or not.
“We have 20 member sports, run by volunteers who have invested enormous amounts of time, passion and energy in their respective sports, and they were not invited to be a part of this new legislative assembly,” van Halst said. “This, despite all of their years of service and dedication to our respective sports.”
The AGM takes place May 1.
Full Statement from BCSS board of directors dated April 29:
Earlier today an article was posted online about the BCSS Governance Proposal and the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF), containing an excerpt from an email from Ms. Amber Mitchell, the Executive Director of the BCTF noting that ‘the BCTF has not been involved or received communication from BCSS regarding their governance model proposal.’
BCSS wishes to clarify that the governance proposal was always premised around finding the ideal structure that best supported the sustainability and growth of school sport. The result was a proposal that included a seat on the Legislative Assembly for ten partner organizations, from education, sport and government sectors. BCSS already has strong relationships with many of these organizations and hopes to formalize that connection through this process, while others like the BCTF is an organization which we hope through this new governance model would open new dialogue and relations. BCSS also acknowledges that teacher-coaches do so as volunteers, not as part of their teaching duties, but felt that having a BCTF representative would be positive for both parties.
BCSS is aware that there is a process the BCTF leadership would undertake to approve sending a delegate to our meetings. An invitation for the BCTF to name a Legislative Assembly member is already prepared, should governance pass so they can begin their process. Just as invitations are prepared for all other stakeholder groups, who as a result of our current relationships have varying levels of knowledge of the proposal. We expect that most, if not all, these organizations will see the value in being part of the leadership voice around interschool athletics and choose to participate. While ideally, we would like all partner organizations at every meeting, BCSS has stated that there will likely be some meetings where not all partners are represented. This is why 81% of the voters in the proposed Legislative Assembly come from BCSS Zones, the Board of Directors, and Committee Chairs, all of which will come from schools.
Questioning the validity of votes cast at this point discounts the time and effort that our member schools have taken in understanding the entirety of the proposal and what it means for the future of school sport in BC.
At no point over the past 15 months has the Board or staff tried to deceive or mislead the membership as to the intent of the proposal. We believe the membership will understand the intention in which this proposal has been submitted, and are confident that those partners named, will indeed be valued members of the school sport discussion moving forward.
- BCSS Board of Directors