// Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, but not one which is without limits.
The courts have established that the Employer has a right to expect fairness, integrity and loyalty from its employees. Teachers in turn can expect to be able to freely express their opinions on matters within their professional expertise.
It is recognized that teachers are professionals and their opinions on pedagogical and educational issues are valued. It therefore follows that teachers may publicly express their opinions in accordance with the following guidelines without fear of reprimand or discipline from the Employer:
- Teachers are free to publicly express their opinions on pedagogical issues and general classroom management. These opinions must be based on facts and expressed in a constructive and objective manner.
- Teachers may not act in ways or speak in words that would discredit or bring disrepute to the education system. This would be viewed as going further than what freedom of expression would allow and teachers could be advised to cease.
- Teachers must accept that they cannot rely on the fact that they may be speaking as parents or in any other capacity, and thus go beyond what they, as teachers, might be allowed to declare or do.
- Teachers must exercise caution when solicited to join a parental group that wishes to lobby the Employer on school closures, for example. Courts have stated that teachers cannot be protected by saying that they are acting as parents rather than teachers. However, nothing in labour relations would prevent teachers from expressing their concerns and worries to their Employer within the framework provided and in accordance with established procedures. For example, the local branch or liaison committee may become a mechanism for teachers to express their opinion on matters which are common to all the branch membership. Individually or through the branch or any other mechanism, the expression of concerns or of criticism towards a management decision is generally done privately between the teachers and management. If a teacher or a group of teachers wish to express discontent to the Employer in relation to a policy, this can be done by asking to meet with the district administration. In addition, if the subject being discussed is relevant to the Collective Agreement, there are procedures and mechanisms provided such as the provincial Employee/Employer Relations Committee, the local liaison committees or through a staff member at the NBTF.
Before contemplating any action or for more information on this matter, we would advise that you contact the NBTF at 1-888-679-7044.
Please join the New Brunswick Teachers’ Federation in congratulating Ms. Monique Caissie on her retirement. After a career in education spanning more than thirty-two years, Ms. Caissie will be retiring on December 31, 2021.
Monique’s career began in 1989 at Kennebecasis Valley High School in former District 19 (now part of ASD-S) in Quispamsis, NB. She held the positions of French Immersion classroom teacher; SPR of French and Vice-Principal at the School. In her time in the District, she was also a Technology Mentor and an Acting Vice-Principal at Hampton High School.
Monique has been sitting at the table of the NBTF Board of Directors for over twenty years. In the late 90’s as a substitute when she was local Branch President of 0619F, from 2000-2011 as a member and since 2011 as a staff officer. Monique has also been part of the NBTF Executive Committee wearing different hats since 2004. In 2006, Monique was elected Vice-President of the AEFNB for a two-year term. In 2008, while she was on the NBTF Negotiating Team, she was elected President of the AEFNB by acclamation. In 2009, Monique became President of the AEFNB and Co-President of the NBTF, a term she served with Ms. Noreen Bonnell, President of the NBTA.
During her term as President, Monique proudly represented the Teachers of New Brunswick not only at the provincial level, but at the national: Member of CTF Board of Directors & President of the Committee for French Language in 2010, and international levels: Delegate at UNCSW54 & 55 – United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2010 & 2011 in New York City, and delegate at EI – Education International in Capetown, South Africa in 2011.
Joining the staff of the NBTF in 2011 as a Labour Relations Officer, Monique has worked with Teachers from both the Anglophone and Francophone sectors on a variety of syndical matters.
As the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Federation, I personally wish to thank Monique for not only her commitment to the students of this province but also for her service and expertise offered to New Brunswick teachers.
Monique will be transitioning into retirement over the next several weeks as she uses some accumulated leave from now until December 31st.
Kerry L Leopkey
NBTF Executive Director