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BCGEU response to Youth Employment Program announcement

Your union was surprised to learn of the B.C. government's announcement on August 5 in which Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, suggested that young people would be able to gain work experience in BC Parks and the B.C. Conservation Service at the same time that our seasonal workers will be on layoff and many permanent positions are not being staffed. 


Your union immediately reached out directly to members to hear concerns with this announcement. Your president, Stephanie Smith, and I then drafted a letter to the minister outlining these concerns and requested that the minister reconsider the Youth Employment Program plans in BC Parks and the B.C. Conservation Service. 


You can read our letter in full here.


Stephanie received an immediate verbal response from Minister Heyman. He apologized for not having had a conversation with your union prior to the announcement. He had assumed this would happen and was quite dismayed to learn it had not. He's determined to be more on top of that in the future.


Minister Heyman also assured us that he has given firm instruction that no one could be used to fill the position of any current members on lay-off. Stephanie explained it was more complicated than that regarding long term auxiliary staff as well as the number of unfilled vacancies. 


Minister Heyman said he is committed to understanding and addressing the concerns of our members. We then verbally provided his office with a broad outline of members' concerns and let them know we'd follow up in a couple weeks so we can report back to our members.


We will continue to keep you informed on this issue. Thank you to all of you who have raised your concerns with us, and we welcome your continued input.You can email me at or Ryan Wiederick, your Article 29 co-chair, at


In solidarity,

Rob Davis
Vice President, Environmental, Technical and Operational (Component 20)