// Transfers by Mutual Agreement
This is the time when school districts begin planning for the upcoming school year. Each year, the NBTF receives several questions regarding transfer requests.
Teacher-Initiated Transfer Requests
Article 45.06 of the Collective Agreement stipulates that “A transfer may be mutually arranged between a Superintendent or his/her designate and a teacher.”
There are several reasons for wanting a transfer (e.g., closer proximity to home). Teachers have the right to request a transfer to another school, but the final decision remains at the discretion of the Superintendent of their District. This decision is often based on job availability, the needs and stability of the school or other factors. Since the decision rests with the Employer, other criteria may be applied, and seniority may not necessarily be taken into consideration.
Unlike some collective agreements, it should be noted that the Collective Agreement governing teaching staff does not allow for bumping. In other words, a teacher with more seniority, for example, cannot displace another teacher from their job. Teachers also cannot arrange their own transfer (e.g., if one teacher is prepared to exchange a job with another teacher). Regardless of the situation, the Superintendent reserves the right to grant a transfer or not.
In addition, assignments to certain grades or certain subjects are at the discretion of the school administration, and seniority is not a factor in making the decision. In the case of transfers, the district cannot guarantee the grades or subjects that will be assigned to teachers, since the decision rests with school administrators.
In the case where the district offers you a voluntary transfer, the final decision is yours. You are not obliged to accept the transfer being offered.
Surplus Situation at a School
When there is a surplus of teachers at one school due to a decline in the number of FTE (full-time equivalent teachers), the Employer will generally seek to make the greatest possible number of mutually agreed transfers. Accordingly, the District will send out a call for transfer requests to the teaching staff to make its preferences known. If there are enough mutually agreed transfers to meet the necessary staff moves, the problem is solved. It should be remembered that the decision to grant a transfer or not by mutual agreement is the Employer’s prerogative and seniority is not necessarily taken into consideration.
If the number of requests for transfers by mutual consent is less than the number of transfers required, then the following provision of the Collective Agreement applies.
45.03 In any such case, the Superintendent or delegated designate shall transfer the teacher who has the least seniority in the School District before any other teacher in his/her school, providing the teachers to remain on staff are capable of satisfactorily fulfilling the requirements of the positions to be maintained in the school and providing the teacher to be transferred is able to satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of the position to which he/she is being transferred.
The word “satisfactorily” is important and requires clarification.
- The teacher must have a minimum of valid training and/or experience in the given subject.
- When the need arises, the onus is on the Employer to show that the employee cannot “satisfactorily” fulfill the requirements of the position; the employee with the greatest seniority has a right to the position even if a less senior employee is clearly more qualified.
- The establishment of qualifications for a given position or the school organization must not be used to defeat seniority rights.
- The Employer must make a fair assessment of the qualifications of any employee involved in a transfer or layoff situation.
- No adjudicator may intervene in the Employer’s decisions affecting teacher qualifications unless there is bad faith, discrimination or unless the decision is arbitrary and unreasonable. What is “satisfactory” in some situations is not necessarily so in other situations.
In the case of a teacher who is declared surplus and must be transferred to another school, the Superintendent can assign him or her to a job in the school district. However, it is understood that the Employer will make every possible effort to transfer the teacher within a reasonable geographic area.
There are other situations in which teachers may be transferred to another school, for example, in the case of a school closing.
If you have questions about transfers, contact the Federation at 1-800-679-7044.