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High court backs teachers

British Columbia's teachers have won a long-standing battle with the provincial government over the rights to bargain class sizes in a ruling today from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Rich Overgaard of the B.C. Teachers' Federation says the court delivered a verbal decision in favour of the teachers after a hearing today at the Supreme Court in Ottawa.

He says the judges voted 7-2 in favour of the teachers.

The court confirms it allowed the appeal in a news release and says it will release a written judgment within 48 hours.

Overgaard says the decision is "stunning."

It overturns a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that found the province did not violate teachers' rights to bargain class sizes and the number of special-needs children in each class in their contracts.

The court battle dates back to 2002 when the Liberal government of former premier Gordon Campbell passed legislation that stripped class size, class composition and specialist teacher provisions from the collective agreement and passed a law denying teachers the right to bargain those issues in the future.

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