Dec 22

Featured photograph: Christmas on board the Empress of Australia

Where are you spending the holidays this year? Would you spend them on a cruise ship? This is exactly what passengers of the C.P.R. steamship Empress of Australia did in 1929:

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Dec. 9, 2011

VICTORIA – Overall school district operating grants and average per-pupil funding have increased again this year as B.C. continues to provide record funding levels for K-12 education.

Operating Funding

· Total operating funding to school districts in 2011-12 is $4.721 billion, a $58-million increase over 2010-11.
· Average per-pupil funding as of the fall enrolment count is estimated at $8,491, a $98 increase over 2010-11.
· $61.7 million is now being released to districts, including $57.4 million that had been held for anticipated enrolment increases.
· $63 million ($1,160 per student) is being provided in supplemental funding for Aboriginal education in 2011-12.
· $385.2 million is being provided in supplemental funding for students with special needs in 2011-12.
· Since 2000-01, the Province has increased funding to B.C. public schools by nearly $1.4 billion: $977 million in operating funds and $407 million in one-time grants.


· Public school enrolment for 2011-12 is 556,045 FTE students, 973 more than last September.
· This includes 6,117 FTE students enrolled in courses during summer 2011 and a combined 10,709 FTE students projected by school districts for February and May 2012.
· The overall enrolment increase is a result of the final year of full-day kindergarten expansion. However, enrolment in grades 1-12 has declined by 7,046 FTE students.
· Actual September enrolment is 1,237 FTE students fewer than districts had projected in the spring.
· Since 2000-01, September enrolment has declined by nearly 59,000 students.

NewsRoom: BC’s Online News Source; Province of British Columbia,  Dec. 9, 2011

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:

Learn More:

See the new enrolment and funding information for your district in 2011-12 at:

See all provincewide enrolment and funding information for 2011-12 at:

Media contact:

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has reached a tentative two-year collective agreement with unions representing 30,000 support staff in K-12 public schools.

The deal, involving the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and some smaller union locals, adheres to the provincial government’s public-sector wage freeze but includes provisions that will boost earnings in some cases. For example, educational assistants will receive an extra 46 minutes of pay per week, for a total cost of $7.5 million annually.

The agreement was negotiated quietly at a time when attention was focused on a bitter contract feud between the BCPSEA and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). Those contract talks have been unproductive, and teachers have been protesting since September by refusing to write report cards, supervise students outside of instructional hours, attend staff meetings and perform certain administrative functions.

The two sides have been negotiating since March 1, but both report no progress.

In contrast, the parties involved in support-staff negotiations described those talks as collaborative and respectful. The framework agreement, which was announced today but still needs to be ratified by union locals, also includes $550,000 in new funding for a support staff education and adjustment committee.

The deal is from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012. It includes a clause allowing re-negotiation if the government alters its net-zero mandate and accedes, for example, to the BCTF’s request for a significant salary increase.

Click here to access the Vancouver Sun article, written by Janet Steffenhagen

Most UBC Library branches, including Rare Books and Special Collections, University Archives and the Chung Collection will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 for the holiday season. For full details on holiday hours, please click here.

Olive Allen Biller painting

Olive Allen Biller painting

The painting above is from the Olive Allen Biller fonds, and is captioned by the first two lines of an old English Christmas ryhme:

Bounce buckram velvet’s dear
Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings good cheer
And when it’s gone it’s never the near

Olive Allen Biller was an English illustrator, who eventually settled in British Columbia after World War I. While in B.C. she turned her attention toward landscape painting, but the above illustration is of her earlier period in England, when she illustrated for children’s annuals such as Blackie’s and Girl’s Realm.

For more information regarding archival material related to B.C. artists, check out our research guide for B.C. art and artists.

Happy holidays!



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