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Pay-to-apply job site irks teachers

A group of educators in British Columbia is upset that some school districts are breaking provincial labour laws by requiring applications for positions be submitted via a website that charges users for the service.

No Cost to Educators Group, a Facebook page started by B.C. educators who choose to remain anonymous because some are looking for work, has started an online petition against, an online job site run by the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), which charges users a $12 annual fee per school board for “e-couriering” job applications.

According to the B.C. Employment Standards Act, employment agencies cannot charge for submitting a job application to an employer. But the BCSPEA says it isn’t doing anything wrong because they encourage districts to offer other methods of application.

“Obviously they’re indicating that’s their preferred method, but it’s not the only method, and where districts have indicated that’s the case, we’re working with them to ensure that potential applicants understand that there are alternate methods by which they can apply for employment,” Deborah Stewart, BCSPEA media liaison, told the Tyee.

While each job posting includes a link at the bottom to the school district’s website for alternative methods, some boards, such as Chilliwack and Prince George, require applicants to use the e-courier service.

Janet Carroll, district principal of human resources for Chilliwack told the Tyee that her district pays the fees for internal candidates seeking a job, and because of their collective agreement, most jobs are for internal candidates only.

But for the positions open to external candidates, jobseekers are still allowed to apply by paper, though that can be costly, too.

“A lot of the people that are applying to us are not local. So for them, to photocopy and mail something, like from Alberta, would probably be similar to a fee,” says Carroll.

“But the vast majority of people are utilizing the Make a Future website. And the feedback that we get overall is very positive. But we do get criticism for sure, but it’s in the minority.”

Districts also pay the site a fee for advertising, the cost of which is based on the number of full-time equivalency students they have enrolled. Fees can range from $1,800 to $9,000 per year., which launched in 2008, also received $100,000 from the Ministry of Education for start-up costs. uses technology provided by for the job application management section of their site. The e-courier fee charged goes to, which offers similar services for school boards and private employers across the country.

The petition, which has gathered over 1,100 signatures since it launched on June 16, calls on the federal and provincial governments, and public employers’ associations, to “ensure that Canadian education job seekers have full access to apply online without fees, restrictions, or delays.”

The group is unsure as to how many signatures they will need in order to be affective: “As many as possible. We do not know what it will take to move officials to stop this injustice,” the group told the Tyee by email.

Katie Hyslop reports on education issues for the Tyee.

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