The History of District 42


Margaret s




rto symbol

Bill S

Margaret Shortliffe   Bill Sheppard


Margaret Shortliffe contacted the editors of the RTO/ERO bulletin and asked for a list of the names of the retired teachers in BC. They responded, that because of the privacy considerations, they could not grant her request. Margaret persevered and asked them to print her name in the bulletin with a request that teachers in BC contact her if interested in forming an Interest Group. Margaret received about 22 names and then scheduled a meeting at her house in about 1987. Five people attended this meeting.

Meanwhile Margaret saw an advertisement in the Times Colonist inviting anyone that was interested in forming a RTO/ERO group in Victoria to meet at Margaret Green’s apartment. [ These two requests were apparently two separate instances ] Thirteen retired teachers attended including Bill Sheppard who became very active in organizing the Victoria Unit.

This meeting was held in 1989 when Bill and his wife Bev were asked to form an executive along with Fred and Nancy Oliphant and Don and Lorraine Buchan. At the conclusion of this meeting, Bill submitted a proposal to the provincial office of the RTO/ERO requesting that a district be established in BC.  Bill was then asked  to attend the May 26/27, 1992 Senate; the 42nd meeting of Senate. At this meeting Bill received a standing ovation and his request was granted. The following motion was passed: That the Senate approve the addition of the BC STO Group as STO District 42.


In 1996 at a meeting of the Victoria unit Margaret and Bill were each presented with a Certificate of Merit for their contributions to the formation of District 42. The certificate was presented by Roland Bidal, president of RTO/ERO and Val Alcock, president of District 42.


After establishing a unit in Victoria , Bill with his wife Bev traveled thoughout the province of BC for four years encouraging teachers to support District 42. Further encouragement was provided by a newsletter that was edited by Bill and Bev. Bill points out that Bev did most of the work and without her the district would have never survived. Until January 1, 2007 District 42 consisted of four units namely: Victoria , Mid-Upper Island , Interior and Vancouver/Sunshine Coast area. From a small beginning a few years previously the district had grown to a membership of about 550 retired teachers.

District Split:


During the  2004- 2006 term of office for District 42 we submitted 3 different  proposals to the Provincial Office for Special Circumstances Grants ( maximum allowable was $5000). Our special circumstances were the size of our district and the topography that we faced when holding meetings ( mountains and ferries). Each proposal was multi paged and included distance charts. We were successful all three times ( approximated $14,956) 

Two executive Directors travelled out here for meetings as did 3 Presidents. Terry Lynch ED and 2 presidents  Bev P and Helen B also travelled into the interior and experienced our long distances. and heard about our needs. 

In fact, as the District President in April 2006, and since I felt that this idea would receive support at the Provincial level, I presented it to the then district executive as a possible solution to our geographical difficulties.

The primary purpose for forming the  new District stemmed from the great difficulties in serving the needs of our members as one District for the entire Province of British Columbia. This is an immense geographical area with its population areas separated by mountain ranges and wide expanses of salt water. Granted, the majority of our membership was in 4 clusters – two on the mainland and two on the Island, but serving these four clusters as one District created great difficulties for our leadership and resources. Because of the vagaries of the weather, both in the mountains and on the water, scheduling meetings was always accompanied by uncertainty.


At the District 42 Annual General Meeting, held on May 2, 2006 the following motion was presented by the District Executive and passed:

 “that we advise Provincial Office of our desire to form a new district consisting of the two Units on Vancouver Island and that we initiate action to assemble the necessary information as required by the Provincial Constitution”


While it was the membership of the two Units on the Island which made  this application to establish a new District, the two units on the mainland also strongly supported  this move, as evidenced in the district motion quoted above. Section 14.02 of the Provincial Constitution stipulates that the units requesting a new district   provide the Provincial Executive with the names, signatures and membership numbers of not less than 250 full members who wish to become members of the new District, a description of the boundaries of the new District, and the names of two members who will act as spokespersons for the group.  The boundary of the new District  are Vancouver Island and the associated small islands served by ferry service directly from Vancouver Island and the Presidents of the two Units on Vancouver Island (Penny Bartlett, Mid-Upper Island, Cliff Whitfield, Victoria)  acted  as spokespersons for the group. A  letter of support regarding the creation of a new district was sent  to Arnold Hull, the then President of RTO, and the Provincial Executive by Walt Duncan, President of the Interior Unit, and Shirley Ribout, President of the Lower Mainland Sunshine Coast Unit.


The motion to create  District 47, Vancouver Island was approved at the October 2006 Senate, effective January 1, 2007.