BRITISH COLUMBIA

Beverley Maxwell Severance: B.C. Ordered To Pay Up

08/02/2013 05:43 EDT | Updated 10/02/2013 05:12 EDT
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Parliament Building in Victoria, British Columbia
VANCOUVER - A former employee of the now defunct teachers' college is entitled to more than $312,000 in severance and benefits from the provincial government, says a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

Justice Ronald Skolrood said in a ruling posted online Friday that Beverley Maxwell's employment with the B.C. College of Teachers ended because the agency that regulated the profession was dissolved under a provincial law, and the 60-year-old is entitled to severance in accordance with her contract.

"It is apparent from reading the contract as a whole ... that the intent of the severance provision was to provide Ms. Maxwell, as a senior management employee of the college, with a measure of financial security in the event that her employment was terminated," wrote Skolrood.

"Absent a clear and express provision to the contrary in the act, that intent, and the college's (now the Crown's) corresponding obligation, continue in force."

Skolrood has ordered the government to pay Maxwell $271,000 in severance, $5,824 in benefits and $35,720 in pension-plan contributions.

Maxwell started working for the B.C. College of Teachers in 1996 and rose to the position of director of certification where she was responsible for a staff of 16, but the college was dissolved Jan. 9. 2012, and replaced with the Teacher Regulation Branch.

According to the ruling, Maxwell was offered a job with the new agency Dec. 1, 2011 but declined the offer Dec. 12, 2011 over concerns of reduced pay, vacation and severance.

When she was terminated from her job, Maxwell was paid an annual salary of $135,000, states the court document.

She took the province to court over her dismissal, filing her notice of civil claim Feb. 1, 2012.

Skolrood declined to rule on whether Maxwell's decision to turn down work with the new agency was unreasonable.

Before the provincial government introduced the bill to dissolve the college and replace it with the new agency Oct. 26, 2011, Maxwell also raised concerns with how teacher candidates would be assessed under the new system, according to the ruling.

The bill dissolving the college and replacing it with the regulation branch was passed in the legislature and became law in November 2011.

The education minister of the time, George Abbott, said the new body would set up a new system to "certify, regulate and discipline teachers."

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