Fifty new teachers recruited to work in rural B.C. classrooms

Students in some of B.C.'s rural and remote communities are learning this year from 50 new teachers recruited through new provincial hiring incentives.

In partnership with the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA), of which Make a Future is part of, and the British Columbia School Superintendents Association (BCSSA) northern chapter, the Province launched the teacher-recruitment incentives in spring 2023. The initiative provided $400,000 in funding to address the immediate need for teachers in the North.

"With the help of the bonus, we've successfully hired nearly a dozen teachers, reopened an elementary school and added high-school programming in our most isolated community, Telegraph Creek, but most importantly, our school communities have been reinvigorated," said Tracey MacMillan, superintendent, Stikine School District 87.

"We no longer need to send students out of the community for high school, and now they can remain in their community and thereby grow their community. Now, we will focus on retaining these energetic teachers for the long term."

Largest Boost in the North

A portion of the funding was used to provide hiring incentives of $4,000 up to $10,000 per teacher. Of the 50 new teachers, 41 are in northern B.C., seven on Vancouver Island and two in the Thompson-Okanagan.

"Teachers are valued members of our northern communities, and I am so glad to hear that more teachers have been recruited to work in classrooms in Stikine and across northern B.C. This is part of our ongoing work to build stronger schools and ensure every student has what they need to thrive," explained Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine.

With the success of the initial teacher-recruitment incentives, the Ministry of Education and Child Care is providing an additional $1.5 million over three years to provide more incentives to rural and remote school districts. The three-year funding is part of the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, a cross-government made-in-B.C. plan to recruit workers with in-demand skills where they are needed most, including teachers.

Ontario Teacher Moves to BC

"I was interested in teaching in the Stikine school district after talking to the staff on a Zoom call and hearing about this great school community. The bonus helped me travel across the country from Ontario to B.C. this summer. It's been a really welcoming atmosphere, and I am fully involved in the community at both the school and the fire hall where I volunteer," said Cody Hartwig, grades 6 and 7 teacher in Dease Lake school.

The Province is also working with partners, including the BCPSEA, Indigenous stakeholders, school districts, unions, post-secondary institutions and the BC Teachers' Council on a broader K-12 workforce strategy to support a sustainable, qualified and engaged workforce.

A total investment of $12.5 million and key learnings from these first two recruitment initiatives will be used to expand recruitment and retention initiatives where teachers are needed the most in B.C.