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General COVID-19 News

Below you can find general articles or bulletins that we have published regarding COVID-19.

For job-specific news, please choose a work sector here.

May 15, 2020

Component 1 Update: May 15, 2020 - BCGEU

Component 1 Update: May 15, 2020

Corrections' New Normal 

The government introduced BC's Restart Plan last week but we can expect the safeguards to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 that have been put in place in B.C.'s corrections centres to remain for the foreseeable future. We may see an effort by the employer to expand visits and programs, but your union will ensure that any movement in that direction will proceed safely. 

Sheriff Risk Assessment

In contrast to the forecast for corrections, dramatic changes in the worksite will be happening for sheriffs as the courthouses reopen. To ensure that happens safely your union began working with the employer on a risk assessment this week. The assessment will cover workplace changes for sheriffs in the weeks and months to come. Local 104 member at large Rick Holzapfel, l;ocal 103 member at large and component 1 executive (sheriffs) member Dave Iorizzo will be representing your union in the risk assessment. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell will also be available as resources. Dave Iorizzo will oversee this provincially and will report to me directly.

Force Options Training – Exposure Control Plan 

Last week Force Options Training (FOT) was completed at OCC as a pilot project under an Exposure Control Plan (ECP), which was largely based on a provincial risk assessment developed through the hard work of local 104 chair Brandon Cox, local 105 chair Krissie Hayes, and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell. local 107 chair Scott Cudney attended the training at OCC on behalf of component 1. The ECP was adjusted by the employer following the pilot project at OCC. FOT started on Wednesday at SPSC and FRCC. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox and Local 104 JOHS co-chair Kyle McLellan are participating in observer and consultative roles on behalf of the BCGEU. 

FOT will begin at VIRCC and KRCC the week of May 25, 2020. I will attend these sessions on behalf of the union along with Local 105 chair Krissie Hayes. We will keep you updated as we receive notice of FOT for the remainder of the jails.

Pandemic Pay Premium 

The BCGEU is continuing to push for a pandemic pay premium for all essential workers in B.C. President Stephanie Smith has spoken directly with government officials, including Finance Minister Carole James about this pressing issue. Thus far we have received no further information from government, but are hoping for an announcement soon. This is a critical issue for the BCGEU and we will continue to pursue it. 

Correctional officers and sheriffs are recognized as first responders in B.C. and work in the same dangerous and close environments as frontline healthcare workers. And, for the same reasons some healthcare workers are receiving additional pay for their selfless efforts on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, so too should correctional officers and sheriffs. The BCGEU will continue to fight for this recognition.

Victoria Day Long Weekend

Thank you to all component 1 members who work hard each day to ensure the safety of all British Columbians! I know you put your safety at risk every day preventing and responding to emergencies of all types. Hopefully all of you have an opportunity to enjoy some part of the Victoria Day long weekend – at a safe social distance of course - and hopefully we get some sunshine.

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice-President



May 11, 2020

Fair Wages COVID-19 Update, Sectoral Component 3 - BCGEU

On April 24th we updated you about the efforts we have been making with respect to ensuring that you are safe while you are at work and also ensuring that you are fairly compensated for the important work you do each and every day in the community social services (CSS) sector. We know that you provide care and support to some of the most vulnerable members of society in British Columbia and the COVID-19 pandemic has made that work even more challenging. We described our efforts to date in our bulletin which can be accessed here.
On May 8, on behalf of the Community Social Services Bargaining Association (CSSBA), we demanded that the provincial government and all of the various funding agencies that provide monies to CSS agencies address these inequities in pay and benefits. In our letter to Finance Minister Carole James, we asked for CSS workers to be treated the same as their counterparts in the health and other sectors by being provided with additional pay, fully funded sick leave, additional meal allowances, clothing/laundry allowances, and/or coverage for additional pandemic-related expenses for workers. See that letter here.
As stated in that letter, "Our expectation is simple. CSS workers should receive the same treatment as other workers in other sectors with the provision of comparable pay and benefits to address the unique demands and challenges of working during this pandemic."

The BCGEU will continue to lobby and advocate on your behalf with government and stakeholders in the CSS sector to ensure your contribution during this time is recognized and respected.
Please ensure that you are checking the BCGEU website and, in particular, the COVID-19 hub and the CSS-specific microsite for information directly related to workers in the CSS sector. If you have questions directly related to occupational health and safety, contact your OHS representative or steward, or email [email protected]. If you have other general COVID-related questions, email [email protected].
In solidarity,
Andrea Duncan, Comp. 3 Vice-President


May 11, 2020

Pandemic Relief Fund for HSP members - BCGEU

Dear Members,
Many of you have been asking for applications for the Pandemic Relief Fund we announced last week.
We were working out the details and had hoped to have the applications out this week however last Friday, May 8, 2020 the HSA sent a notice to their members putting the PRF on hold pending the announcement by the Federal government regarding additional funding. It is problematic that, as the second largest union in the HSPBA, we were not consulted, nor informed about this announcement to HSA members.
We are working hard to provide fund details and application process within a week.
In Solidarity,

Angela Mahlmann
Staff Representative, Negotiations

Download PDF of notice here


May 08, 2020

Provincial Officer Safety (COVID-19) Risk Assessment for Component 1 Members ...

Component 1 Update: May 8, 2020
Provincial Officer Safety (COVID-19) Risk Assessment

We are pleased that the Adult Custody Division (ACD) has adopted most of the recommendations in the Provincial Officer Safety (COVID-19) Risk Assessment (completed by local 104 chair Brandon Cox, local 105 chair Krissie Hayes and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell). However, the ACD has failed to implement some key recommendations: including the installation of plexiglas barriers at officer workstations, and limiting the number of inmates officers have to travel with in elevators. These are key concerns for us and we have begun addressing them with WorkSafeBC. Barring a resolution at that level, we will be pursuing these issues with the Minister directly. 
Provincial SO Force Options Training Risk Assessment – Exposure Control Plan
Despite the fact that we did not agree with terms of the Provincial Force Options Training Risk Assessment, the ACD implemented its own Exposure Control Plan for security officer training at Okanagan Correctional Centre this week. We have maintained some oversight over that training, but feel that a number of items need to be added to the ACD's Exposure Control Plan, including: 

  • Whenever possible, force options training should occur outdoors.
  •  ERT members, not recruits, should play the roles of inmates or second staff.
  •  The same training partners should work together for the duration of the training day. 
  •  Union safety representatives appointed by local chairs should have a consultative role in training.

Pandemic Premium

The BCGEU is continuing its fight for a pandemic premium for all essential frontline workers in recognition of their selfless efforts during these difficult times. So far we have not succeeded in this fight, but we will continue to pursue it at all levels, until you receive the fair compensation to which you are entitled.

As first responders, corrections officers and sheriffs work in the same kind of close and dangerous environments as healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, for the same reasons that frontline healthcare workers such as nurses are receiving a premium for their brave response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so too should corrections officers and sheriffs be fairly compensated for their unwavering willingness to go into work each day and expose themselves, and their families, to the same dangers. Corrections officers and sheriffs are both entitled to receive a pandemic response premium, and the BCGEU will continue to fight for this principle. 

WorkSafeBC Claims

The BCGEU recommends that members file WorkSafeBC claims if they believe they were exposed to COVID-19 at work, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or were infected with COVID-19 at work. Please be aware WorkSafeBC holds incoming COVID-19 claims for 14 days, or until a worker becomes ill, before adjudicating them.


The BCGEU has ordered cloth masks for Component 1 members. We understand your concerns and we stand in solidarity. The masks will be sent to the jails and court houses for distribution.

Fraser Regional Correctional Center members

Dean Purdy's Message to Members

Please click here to see Dean's message to members

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President


May 07, 2020

Protrans BC Operations Layoff notices – COVID-19 update, May 7 - BCGEU

Layoff notices – COVID-19 update, May 7 

As you know, your employer has determined that they will begin doing layoffs shortly. Please be assured that our union is working with your employer to negotiate the terms of these layoffs, and we will get the best deal possible in these very difficult circumstances. Though negotiations are ongoing, lay-off notices will likely be going out before a finalized deal is struck. The parties will communicate out any details as soon as they are available. 

We know this is a very stressful time for everyone at Protrans, especially those who may be directly impacted by the layoffs. Your shop stewards are working diligently to ensure that your concerns and questions are addressed through this time, and to ensure that our union achieves the best results possible in our labour adjustment consultation. Please continue to reach out to your stewards through this process.


In solidarity, 

Megan McKinney,
Staff Representative


May 07, 2020

Restarting B.C. -- your rights and union news - BCGEU

Restarting B.C. -- your rights and union news

Yesterday B.C. was full of cautious anticipation as Premier Horgan announced the steps we'll be taking to restart the province safely.

Throughout the past two months, many BCGEU members have been on the front lines of the pandemic, limiting the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, countless others have been providing vital public services that keep our province's day-to-day work rolling along and protect many of our most vulnerable neighbours. Other BCGEU members have faced layoffs as their employers shut down to protect our communities.

Thank you for your important work and sacrifice. Without all of us pulling together, the impacts of COVID-19 on our province's public health over the last two months would have been far greater.

The premier's briefing touched on a number of sectors of our economy, but in most cases, details specific to where you work were not provided. We're currently analyzing additional documentation that was provided separately, and over the coming days and weeks we'll be working with employers to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to protect workers.

BCGEU members and staff have been extraordinarily creative in finding ways to conduct our day-to-day work administering your union and protecting our rights at work while not being physically present. However, we all know the value of in-person communication and cooperation.

So, as the province restarts, we too will be turning our minds to how your union can return to normal operations as much as possible while doing our part to socially distance and prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19. We are aware of the impacts that the ban on large-scale gatherings could have on large membership gatherings – including meetings, activist banquets, and our convention in 2021 – and we will be seeking more details on that matter.

Your union will keep members updated as more details become available, so please keep an eye on your email inbox.

An essential part of keeping the spread of COVID-19 low is protecting the rights of all workers, so we will continue to press for legislation ensuring all workers' right to paid sick time and effective occupational health and safety policies with regard to infectious disease. Ensuring that nobody has to choose between their health and a paycheque will keep all of us safer.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 in your workplace, please:



Click here to read the full details of B.C.'s Restart Plan from the provincial government.



May 05, 2020

Adult Corrections New Process - COVID Screening For Symptomatic Employee - BCGEU

New Voluntary Process - COVID Screening for Symptomatic Employees  

If you call in with COVID-19 symptoms or report them when you arrive at work, the Employer will offer you an opportunity to participate in a new COVID-19 screening process developed by the Government's Occupational Health and Rehabilitation group. Please note, this process is voluntary. If you choose not to participate you will be directed to 811 for testing and advice.


May 01, 2020

Info for members at the BC Wildfire Service - BCGEU

The wildfire season is now before us and many auxiliary employees have been, or are, in the process of being recalled for this fire season and there are also many new hires that are, or will be, coming on board.

With this, many of you have contacted your union with questions and concerns with how things are going to work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The questions in general are about ensuring the work is safe and what happens if someone can't work due to the pandemic.

These are exceptionally unusual times and your union is committed to ensuring members have the correct information and can get their questions answered in a timely fashion. To that end, the BC Wildfire Service has just released a FAQ that provides answers to many of the questions that have come forward. While it is BC Wildfire's FAQ, the BCWS and the BCGEU worked in conjunction, both to canvass members for the questions important to them, and to provide the most up-to-date answers to those questions.

Your union is also providing members with quick access to a wealth of information on the COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts members at their worksites. You can find this at our microsite at:

Some of the pertinent documents on the COVID-19 microsite include:

The importance of your JOHS Committee:

Guidance on the use of PPE:

Information on exposure control plans for members (a longer version for OHS committee members is also posted):

In addition to the above, your union recognizes that this situation is dynamic and there are going to be situations specific to BC Wildfire that will bring forward more questions. We plan to address those as quick as possible.

We have an active sub-committee of the Article 29 committee that is specific to BC Wildfire and we are meeting regularly with the employer's side of that committee. We have a staff member of our OHS Department assigned to BC Wildfire to assist with our specific issues as they arise.

Your union is planning a video conference call in the near future with our BC Wildfire Stewards and OHS Committee members. We are going to make available short training sessions on OHS matters for the OHS committees to ensure they have the tools and confidence to support the members where they work.

Your union is working hard to ensure that we hear about all the pertinent issues from across the province.

Finally, if you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed, you can contact myself or the co-chair for the Article 29 sub-committee, Gary Horsman. You can also email your OHS issue directly to [email protected].

The work you do is essential to all British Columbians and we are proud of that work and want to ensure that you feel safe in carrying it out. We are in this together.

In Solidarity

Rob Davis
Vice President, Environmental, Technical and Operational Component 
(Component 20)
[email protected]