Summary of VESTA History

The teacher associations that currently exist in Vancouver are structured differently to any other local in the province. the reasons for this stem from our historical development as an association, and an overview of the more significant decisions is as follows:

(a) The first register of proceedings of The Teachers’ Association, Vancouver, was a record of their first meeting on 1891 September 29, at 16:00 hours at Central School, where teachers had assembled at the request of the Board of Trustees to discuss matters “pertaining to the profession”. At that time teachers held a monthly meeting in each school but this was the first general meeting. At the 1891 September 29 meeting it was decided unanimously that a meeting be held on the last Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. to “discuss methods and reading papers on teaching”. Subsequent meetings were held 1891 October 29, 1891 November 26, 1892 January 28, 1892 February 25, 1892 March 31, 1892 April 28, 1892 November — with 1893 January 26 being the last recorded meeting.

(b) Founding meeting to form Vancouver Teacher Association – 1914 November 27

(c) In the 1920s sections were very distinct separate entities in the V.T.A. Those existing were:

  • Principals
  • Vice Principals
  • Senior High Teachers
  • Junior High teachers
  • Manual Training Teachers
  • Domestic Science Teachers
  • Supervisors
  • Senior Teachers, Grades 7, 8
  • Intermediate Teachers, Grades 5, 6
  • Junior Teachers, Grades 3, 4
  • Primary Teachers, Grades 1, 2

(d) In the late 1920s and early 1930s when Vancouver City was amalgamating to its present size, the teachers of Vancouver formed a Greater Vancouver Teachers Association (involving V.T.A., South Vancouver Teacher Association and Point Grey Teacher Association).

(e) 1928 – The G.V.T.A. was formed with each association remaining as a section and a central executive elected to deal with the Vancouver School Board.

(f) The V.T.A. had problems with its representatives giving opinion that was representative of all the various sub-groups within the Association and eventually groups broke away from the V.T.A.

(g) 1929 June – Note that the V.T.A. got the first contract with a school board in the province that recognized both experience and qualifications as factors.

(h) 1930 November 18 – The Vancouver Elementary Teachers’ Association was formed. (VETA was changed informally from VETA to VESTA on 1935 October 21).

(i) 1935 June 17 – Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association (VSTA) was formed.

(j) In October 1935 VESTA agreed to join the Vancouver Teacher Council on the basis that there be

(i) Four VESTA members, (ii) Four VSTA members, and (iii) Two Vancouver school Principals’ Association members.

(k) All through the depression of the 1930s the salary negotiation team endeavoured to regain salary levels to what had been achieved in 1930.

(l) 1938 June 15 – VESTA incorporated under the Societies Act.

(m) September 1938 – Constitutional change of quorum from 20% to 10% made.

(n) Elementary principals and vice principals still members of VESTA in 1939.

(o) 1941 December – Final 2 ½% restoration of the 1930 salary scale was agreed to by the Vancouver School Board.

(p) 1944 October 26 – at a salary meeting it was carried that salaries for men be slightly higher than those for women. It was also carried that the principle of equal pay for equal work be applied to the Salary Schedule in future planning.

(q) VESTA Salary Indemnity Fund started in 1947.

(r) 1948 May 31 – Formation of a Women’s Section.

(s) 1949 June 13 VESTA received a letter from the Vancouver School Principals’ Association stating they were withdrawing from the Vancouver Teacher Council. No representations were appointed for the 1949/50 year from VESTA and the VTC ceased to exist.

(t) 1952 May 05 – It was decided that the city be divided into four zones and a representative from each zone sit on the executive.

(u) 1958/59 – a number of discussions about lack of attendance at general meetings (usually called one per month) – several options were discussed.

(v) 1959 April 30 – The Proportional Representative system was adopted.

(w) 1969 May 17 – The executive moved that a P.R. workshop be held in the early fall.

(x) 1965 – VESTA had 93 delegates attending the BCTF Annual General Meeting

(y) 1967 – The vice principals were still VESTA members.

(z) 1988 January 26 – The Industrial Relations Council declared the Vancouver Teachers’ Federation as the bargaining agent for teachers in School District #39.

(aa) 1987 November 01 – The BCTF granted a charter for local association #3 (Elementary)

(bb) 1989 July 31 – VESTA and VSTA jointly purchased a building at 2929 Commercial Drive and moved into the newly renovated office space at #105 – 2929 Commercial Drive on 1990 February 25. The office expanded into additional meeting space on 1992 September 01. The address of the VESTA/VSTA office space was changed to 2915 Commercial Drive on 1996 July 01.