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Concerns re: new education requirements for probation officers - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Last month, your employer announced an upcoming change to the education requirements in the hiring of probation officers. The employer’s plan is to change the educational requirements from a degree to a diploma with three years’ experience. 
I’m aware that this news hasn’t gone over well with many of us in community corrections. We have heard numerous concerns about this forthcoming change that many feel is lack of acknowledgement of our education. 
The union attended one consultation meeting with your employer where some ideas of ours were discussed and presented, but this change was rolled out quickly and seemingly without consideration of those suggestions.  We feel that our union should have been informed earlier and fully involved in the process.
The skill level required of probation officers has always been high, but in recent years, the increased complexity of offenders we support has expanded that skillset. Probation officers in British Columbia have always embraced new ways of working with offenders and are proud to be leaders in facilitating change. 
Probation officers are increasingly under pressure because of our ever-expanding job duties and policy changes which further compound workload. Our union is concerned that lowering the degree requirements may exacerbate workload issues as these new hires may not be able to carry a full caseload as easily. Additionally, the new related-experience requirement may lead to inconsistencies that don't necessarily translate to the on-the-job experience our roles require. 
Our union is calling on the Community Corrections Division to consider other solutions before implementing this significant change. We encourage them to first consider approaches like local recruiting drives, financial incentives for hard to recruit areas and education loan payback incentives.
We will keep you informed throughout this process.
In solidarity,
Judy Fox-McGuire - Component 6 Vice-President