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BC’s fastest growing union kicks off leadership-defining convention - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)


May 29, 2024 

BC's fastest growing union kicks off leadership-defining convention

VANCOUVER-Almost 600 delegates from across the province are gathered today for the start of the 52nd Convention of the BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU). Over the next three days at the triennial event, delegates will determine the direction of their union by voting on policy resolutions and electing a new and expanded leadership team. 

Stephanie Smith, the first woman elected president of the BCGEU, announced in January that she would not run for a fourth term. In addition to selecting a new president for the first time in ten years, delegates will elect an Equity Executive Vice President (Equity EVP), also for the first time. This new position expands the leadership team as well as reflecting the union's overall commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels of membership.

"Our province has so much economic, cultural and social diversity, and I think we are going to see the election of a new BCGEU leadership team that is even more representative of that great diversity," said Smith. "It's an exciting opportunity to continue to build on the actions that demonstrate our union's values." 

Between the call to order on Wednesday evening and the adjournment on Saturday, delegates will hear from high profile speakers about important issues facing working people, and they will debate and decide on resolutions that cover a wide range of union, social justice and equity issues – determining the priorities and path the BCGEU will take for the next three years.

"Unions represent the best of us – as workers and as activists – because they show that we succeed not by focusing only on our own needs, but by uniting and standing beside our colleagues, allies and neighbours," said Smith. "Today I believe more strongly than ever in what's possible when good people work together and I know that our members are ready for all the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead." 

To view the convention agenda, speakers list and more, visit:

BCGEU's 52nd Constitutional Convention 

WHEN: Wednesday May 29 to Saturday June 1, 2024 

WHERE: Westin Bayshore Hotel, 1601 Bayshore Dr., Vancouver 

Media interested in attending the convention can contact Bronwen Barnett, Communications Officer, at 604-291-9611 or [email protected] 

The BCGEU is B.C.'s fastest growing union with over 90,000 members in virtually every community and economic sector in the province. 


Stephanie Smith 

  • Stephanie Smith was first elected BCGEU president in 2014. 
  • She first became involved in her union working as an early childhood educator. 
  • Smith has been an important leader in B.C. politics and the labour movement – from being named one of Business in Vancouver's most influential leaders to the many roles she's taken on across community organizations and alongside other public and private sector unions. 
  • In her ten years as president of the BCGEU, the fastest growing union in B.C., she oversaw countless campaigns and job actions, and she has played a significant role in the provincial and national labour movement's efforts to make life better for working people. 

Equity Executive Vice President 

  • The change in president will also happen alongside other major shifts in the wider leadership team, including the addition of a new Equity Executive Vice President (EVP) position. 
  • This new position is intended to increase representation of members from one or more equity groups – those that face systemic marginalization created by historic and ongoing, social and environmental factors. 
  • While many of the union's recent executive committee members have identified with one or more equity groups, this newly created Equity EVP position explicitly puts equity issues at the forefront of the BCGEU's agenda. 


  • The BCGEU's Constitutional Convention is typically held every three years. 
  • Due to the pandemic, this is the union's first in-person convention since 2017.
  • Delegates come from across the province and work in every sector (direct government, broader public service, private sector, non-profit sector).