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Attorney General meeting re: Sheriff Services recommendations - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Attorney General meeting re: Sheriff Services recommendations

Last Thursday, BCGEU president Stephanie Smith and BCGEU vice-president, component 1 corrections and sheriff services, Dean Purdy; along with component 1 executive member Dave Iorizzo and local 101 member Jeremy Kerr met with B.C. Attorney General Nikki Sharma for a follow up meeting to discuss our union's recommendations for changes and improvements to B.C. Sheriff Services. 

Recruitment and Retention Incentive Pay 
Firstly, our union extended our gratitude to Minister Sharma for last month's successful implementation of the $10,000 Recruitment and Retention Incentive Payment
The retention bonus – which our union advocated and pushed for at many levels over the past few years – is a step in the right direction toward ensuring sheriffs are paid fairly. You have told us that the bonus was welcomed news for the nearly 2500 members in our Corrections and Sheriff Services Component.
The Brown Report
Last month, representatives from our union and from the employer participated in a discussion with Dr. Rich Brown about his recent recruitment and retention research. After extensive surveying, focus groups and additional research, the results of the study confirmed what you have been saying for years: the number one way to recruit and retain sheriffs in B.C. is to increase their pay. Low and uncompetitive pay and benefits are the key issues driving the ongoing recruitment challenges. In order to address this, sheriffs must be paid a fair wage for their work.

The study also highlighted the need to address several other factors including creating a more respectful work environment, the development of a clearer and streamlined hiring/training process and devising processes that are more suited to the reality of their work.

Top Priorities for the Sheriffs' ServiceMinister Sharma expressed appreciation for the level of professionalism of our members in the B.C. Sheriff Service and she also expressed gratitude for your work and acknowledged the critical role that sheriffs play in our justice system. 
During the meeting, the Minister reiterated her commitment to addressing the challenges outlined in the Brown Report. She emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough analysis to discern the most pressing priorities and the quickest solutions to these challenges. Our union looks forward to hearing from the Ministry upon the conclusion of this in-depth analysis.
Our union identified our priorities as being the following:

  • Extended Work Week: (moving to a 37.5- or 40- hour work week)
  • Expanding sheriffs' duties
  • Moving sheriffs out of the Court Services Branch into its own branch under the Ministry of Attorney General 
  • Instituting supervisory and management changes
  • Implementing an early retirement program for sheriffs

The Minister said the following steps would be taken to address the issues identified above:

  • Identifying solutions for compensation and the possibility of making the retention bonus pensionable 
  • Exploring the possibility of moving to a 40-hour work week
  • The possibility of moving the BC Sheriff Service out of the Court Service Branch (acknowledging that it would be a long-term process, but the Ministry is committed to analyzing it)
  • Examining solutions of how to fix infrastructure on the frontline

Implementation Timeline and collaboration

We strongly urged the Minister to ensure ongoing collaboration with our union throughout the implementation of our priorities. We reminded the Minister that our members – you –have invaluable expertise and knowledge of these issues and are at the forefront of these challenges. 

The next meeting will be held in the coming months, and we will continue to keep you informed and updated.
In photo left to right:
Component 1 executive member Dave Iorizzo, BCGEU President Stephanie Smith, Attorney General Nikki Sharma, BCGEU Corrections and Sheriff Services VP Dean Purdy, local 101 member Jeremy Kerr
, Chief Sheriff Paul Corrado.