Info on Covid-19, click for more information
B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919

COVID-19 Information for Public Service members

A number of members have inquired about working from home as a precautionary measure. There has not been an overall decision made at this point, so we recommend that members who are interested should raise it with their supervisor to determine if working from home or other options to reduce exposure are potentially available.  
 
We are still engaged in conversations to ensure that all employees are supported and able to avoid spreading COVID-19 without facing financial hardship.

GENERAL INFORMATION

BCGEU requests COVID-19 memorandum for members working in public service

B.C. Public Service Agency risk identification and procedures

FAQ - if you believe you have COVID-19

 

INFORMATION BY MINISTRY & COMPONENT                                            

Component 1 Corrections and Sheriff Services: 

First confirmed case of COVID-19 at correctional facility 

Component information concerning COVID-19

Component 5 Retail, Stores and Warehouse:

Rights to sick pay and COVID-related absences

Recycling suspended at BC Liquor Stores

Component 6 Social, Information and Health:

FAQ for members working for MCFD

Information regarding staffing working for MSDPR

Component 12 Administrative Services:

FAQ for members working for MCFD

Information regarding staffing working for MSDPR

Component 20 Environmental, Technical and Operational:

Hours of work for those working from home

 

Read the latest bulletin (Mar 2020)

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Have a COVID-related question?

Email health@bcgeu.ca – Responses are confidential. To help us answer your question quickly, please tell us your employer and city of work.

COVID-19 resources & information for Public Service Members

Last week, your union sent out a bulletin (read it here) about discussions that we’ve held with the Public Service Agency (PSA) about how COVID-19 will be handled at work. As a result of our ongoing discussions with the PSA, they have issued updated versions of the two documents we shared last week:

Mar 23

BC Public Service COVID-19 Response Overview & FAQ

We have been working with the BC Public Service Agency to share documentation on workplace policies and procedures relating to COVID-19. For the latest versions of their FAQ and Response Overview, please visit the PSA’s website.

BCGEU COVID-19 Resources:

COVID-19 News for Public Service Members

April 02, 2020

BCGEU Letter to the PSA – COVID-19 update - BCGEU

Since Coronavirus was declared a public health crisis several weeks ago to the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic last month, thousands of you have raised concerns to your stewards, local chairs and component vice presidents about impacts on your work. Your union has been working hard with your employers to address those concerns as quickly and effectively as possible in this time of extraordinary uncertainty and stress. 
 
As part of that work, today I sent the below letter to John Davison, head of the BC Public Service Agency, demanding a pandemic response MOU to address a number of issues for the duration of the provincial state of emergency.
 
Please read the letter and please continue to raise your concerns. We are on an uncertain road right now but I truly believe we will get through this together-and your union will be fighting for you every step of the way. 

In solidarity,
 
Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President 


Download Davison Ltr Apr 2, 2020.pdf

UWU/MoveUP

April 02, 2020

C1 - First confirmed case of COVID-19 - Update Apr 2 - BCGEU

Component 1 Update: First confirmed case of COVID-19

 

First Confirmed case of COVID-19

Adult Custody Division (ACD) has confirmed the first inmate to test positive for COVID-19 at Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC). The inmate is asymptomatic but will continue on isolation droplet protocols for 14 days. Healthcare staff are investigating how many staff and others may have had contact with the inmate in recent days.

 

This first confirmed case reaffirms the importance of following all Provincial Health Officer (PHO) guidelines in your worksites. Familiarize yourself with those rules and if you are concerned that they are not being followed where you work, immediately notify the employer and a union OH&S representative.

 

Dean Purdy is communicating with ACD regularly to ensure that required safety measures are being implemented. Local 104 chair Brandon Cox, Local 105 chair Krissie Hayes, and BCGEU staff representative Brian Campbell are working on the following risk assessments with ACD.

  • Isolation units
  • Force options training
  • Physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE)

The BCGEU is prepared to work with all employers at every level to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we will not agree to measures that fall short of directions from the PHO. This new case of COVID-19 at the OCC shows us that we all need to up our awareness and initiate strict protocols recommended by both the risk assessments and the PHO.

 

 

Ongoing OH&S requirements 

Infectious disease risk assessments, with the input of local OH&S committees, should be conducted at all Component 1 worksites.

 

All staff must be provided and afforded the opportunity to wear the PPE required to keep them safe.

 

Audits of PPE supplies at all worksites to ensure there is enough for all contingencies e.g. codes and widespread COVID-19 infection in the workplace.

 

Further training to help staff identify and respond to symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Aggressive cleaning/ disinfection protocols should be in place and followed by everyone.

 

CIRT and CISM teams should be updated and prepared to manage increased mental health and fatigue issues. Mental strain can lead to OH&S mistakes, and all members need to be aware and seek help when needed.

 

Continued updates and transparency from the employer are critical. 

 

Ask your local OH&S committee representative if you have any questions, or check out the BCGEU COVID-19 OH&S page at: https://www.bcgeu.ca/covid_19_ohs

 

 

Pay

Currently public service employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19, whether sick or otherwise required to self-isolate, are entitled to receive STIIP benefits of 75 per cent pay. Our union is advocating on your behalf to be able to receive full pay when told to self-isolate or when you become infected with COVID-19.

 

We also believe both Corrections & Sheriffs should receive fair compensation for danger pay because of the onerous conditions we have to work and having to respond to constant emergencies that puts us a constant risk to exposure.

 

 

Childcare for essential workers

Component 1 and the BCGEU have been pursuing childcare support for essential service workers, specifically Corrections & Sheriffs who are designated as first responders, and the BC Government rolled out a program for dealing with the issue earlier this week. Please check the BC Government website for further information: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CFD0017-000599

 

 

Wage increase (2nd year of the agreement)

Reminder that a wage increase for all Public Service employees kicked in April 1, 2020, effective the first pay period after. Please see Appendix 3 of your collective agreement for your new wage rates. Correctional Officers in Adult Custody & Deputy Sheriffs will receive a 5.3% wage increase and other classifications range from 2% and upward.

 

The BCGEU and your component 1 executive is continuing to advocate for all steps required to keep you safe and secure at work, and will keep you updated on any COVID-19 related information important to you as it arises.

Raise any COVID-19 concerns or suggestions with your employer and your local union representative, or contact the BCGEU at any time at health@bcgeu.ca . 

 

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President



UWU/MoveUP

April 02, 2020

Public Service - I think I contracted COVID-19 at work - BCGEU

COVID-19 FAQ for BCGEU members covered by the Main Public Service Agreement  

I have COVID-19 and I think I contracted it while at work. What do I do? 

If you suspect you were exposed and infected with COVID-19 due to the nature of your employment, you may be eligible to claim compensation for wage loss. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Be sure you meet the conditions set out by WorkSafeBC to make a wage loss compensation claim:
    • Evidence, either a medical diagnosis in a medical report or a non-medical factual evidence where other evidence establishes the existence of COVID-19.
    • The nature of your work created a risk of contracting the disease that is significantly greater than the ordinary exposure risk of the general public (example: an acute care hospital worker who is treating patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19)
    • You lose time from work after contracting the virus.

  2. If you meet the above conditions, file an application for workers’ compensation with WorkSafeBC here, like you would with any other workplace injury or disease. Your application must be made by you - the worker - and not by your employer on your behalf. Because adjudication of claims takes time, it’s best to apply as soon as possible.

  3. At the same time, claim Short Term Illness and Injury Plan (STIIP). STIIP will ensure your income doesn’t cease altogether while waiting for your WorkSafeBC claim to be adjudicated.

  4. If your COVID-related disability lasts past the STIIP period, file a claim for Long Term Disability (LTD) to ensure your benefits and pension contributions continue (which your WorkSafeBC alone cannot ensure). 

Please note:

  • If you are self-isolating, in quarantine or have been sent home on a precautionary basis, WorkSafeBC will NOT provide you with wage loss compensation -- these measures are considered “preventative” and WorkSafeBC does not compensate for preventative reasons.

  • Both the B.C. and Canadian governments have announced financial aid packages for people who are financially affected by the COVID-19 situation. We do not yet know how these measures will interact with any existing benefits schemes. 

For more information, visit WorkSafeBC’s website or contact your workplace OHS representative, steward or the BCGEU staff representative assigned to your workplace.  



UWU/MoveUP

March 31, 2020

Component 6/12- Information for BCGEU members working for MCFD - BCGEU

COVID-19 information for BCGEU members working for MCFD - Mar 31 

Your union, MCFD and the BC Public Service Agency have convened a joint committee to work collaboratively on COVID-19 issues.

This FAQ has been produced with answers to questions submitted by your union. 

Every effort is being made to provide updated information. However, COVID-19 is an evolving situation and answers may change over time. 

We will post new information as we receive it.

 

Download PDF of MCFD and COVID-19 FAQ sheet here



UWU/MoveUP

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 and Droplet Borne Viruses Risk Identification and Exposure Control P...

Please click the link below to download the PDF of COVID-19 and Droplet Borne Viruses Risk Identification and Exposure Control Plan Template from the PSA - B.C.'s Public Service Agency.

 

Download PDF of COVID-19 and Droplet Borne Viruses Risk Identification and Exposure Control Plan Template here.



UWU/MoveUP

March 27, 2020

Component 1 - Information sharing - BCGEU

COVID-19 update: Information sharing
Twice weekly conference calls have been scheduled between the Adult Custody Division (ACD) component VP Dean Purdy. Conference calls with Sheriff Services and Youth Custody are also being scheduled. 

Component 1 executive has scheduled weekly conference calls. The frequency of the calls will be increased if necessary. A conference call for OH&S co-chairs working in jails is scheduled for today. We anticipate these will also continue weekly or when requested.

Dean will continue to update the component 1 executive (local chairs) who will send the information to their respective local executives, shop stewards and OHS committee's. 

All important information will be shared with members as soon as possible.

Occupational Health and Safety

It is important that OHS committees at all worksites meet regularly and, if they have not done so already, initiate worksite specific exposure control plans which should include: 

  • Putting in place separate living units in all jails and sheriff cells for both new intakes and symptomatic inmates and prisoners. This requires two separate living units or cells. 


Local 104 chair Brandon Cox, local 105 chair Krissie Hayes and BCGEU OH&S staff rep Brian Campbell are working with the ACD conducting a province-wide risk assessment of isolation living units for inmates who are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19.
 

  • Limiting the capacity of all living units to 40, including officers, and single bunking inmates. 

 
ACD says it is trying to single bunk all inmates, but the ability to do so is impacted by numbers and the size of the facility.
 

  • Social distancing inmates and officers. 

 
This item should be amongst the local OH&S committees' highest priorities. Clear guidelines should be in place regarding social distancing between inmates, and between inmates and officers, including: markings on floors and plexiglas separation barriers on officers' desks.
 

  • Prohibiting large congregations of inmates or prisoners. 

 

  • Implementing, to the extent possible, social distancing guidelines in musters. Consider a staggered process or changes over with two officers reading the muster report together on the living unit. 

 

  • Postponing use of force training that violates the social distancing guidelines.

 

  • Developing protocols for applying cuffs, belly chains and leg irons. 

 

  • Taking steps to ensure that there is a sufficient supply and proper usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Given the close conditions you are often required to work in, it is critical that there be an adequate supply of PPE. We will continue to pursue this issue in calls with your employers.

 
What if you can't work?

Currently public service employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19, whether sick or otherwise required to self-isolate, are entitled to receive STIIP benefits of 75% pay. Our union is advocating on your behalf to be able to receive full pay when told to self-isolate or when you become infected with COVID-19.

Members who are actually infected with COVID-19 through workplace exposure, should file a STIIP claim immediately, and also file a WorkSafeBC claim.

Please check the BCGEU and Government of BC websites for further COVID-19 pay related information.

Childcare

Unfortunately, a comprehensive childcare plan for component 1 members who provide essential services is not yet in place. If you are facing difficult childcare issues please contact your supervisor as a first step. If you require further assistance, contact the BCGEU. 

Our union advocating forcefully on this issue on your behalf.

Going forward


The BCGEU and your component 1 executive is continuing to advocate for all steps required to keep you safe and secure at work, and will keep you updated on any COVID-19 related information important to you as it arises.

Raise any COVID-19 concerns or suggestions with your employer and your local union representative, or contact the BCGEU at any time at health@bcgeu.ca . 

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President



UWU/MoveUP

March 26, 2020

COVID Update: C20 Members: Hours Of Work For Those Working From Home During T...

These are exceptional and unusual times with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. We know this has impacted many of you in different ways and as a union we are responding and assisting our members throughout this in various ways. If you have concerns about your safety or any other work related issue, please contact your Steward or Occupational Health & Safety Committee member(s). If you are unable to reach them, contact your BCGEU area office or the staff representative directly. You may also send an email to health@bcgeu.ca. In addition, we have a micro site on COVID-19 that provides a lot of information, including relevant links to updates from government and WorkSafeBC. You can access this through www.bcgeu.ca/covid.
 
Given the unusual circumstances we are in, we encourage as many of the Component 20 members as possible to be working from home. This has raised concerns with respect to the hours of work of members working from home; whereas, they otherwise may be working in the field. It is recognized that accumulating Earned Time Off (ETO) is not necessary for some members when working from home. 

To address the concern that ETO will accumulate without the ability to use it, we have agreed to a temporary Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the hours of work that will be in place while this situation is occurring. That MOU includes a provision that Component 20 members can revert to a seven-hour day and 5:2 work schedule (Schedule #1) while they are 100% of the time working from home. For those members who do not accumulate ETO, your agreed-to work schedule remains. In addition, if you are required to work more than your seven scheduled hours, overtime provisions will apply (not ETO). For those members that use MOU#6 or 7.5 provisions for averaging, no changes to schedules are needed.

We wish everyone the best through this time and encourage everyone to keep up to-date on this situation (which you can do through our website) and stay safe.

In solidarity

Rob Davis, Vice President
Environmental, Technical & Operational Component

Frank N. Anderson, Regional Coordinator
BCGEU

Download PDF of notice here.



UWU/MoveUP

March 25, 2020

Components 6/12: MSDPR COVID update - BCGEU

Good afternoon everyone,

We have been monitoring the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation closely.

The role our ministry plays in supporting some of the most vulnerable people of British Columbia cannot be understated. It is our workforce that is critical to delivering essential services and ensuring that people who rely on us continue to receive the assistance they need.

The Union and the employer have been in constant communications during this evolving time, and it is recognized that this is a unique event that requires our cooperation and the collaboration of all of us.

The demands for services will continue to be high, and while we are eliminating as many non-essential tasks as possible, we will need a flexible response to keep up with intakes, phone calls and crisis requests. To meet these demands during this crisis, we will be reassigning some roles and individuals to critical duties as required. This could mean stream moves, or the reassignment of Adjudicators, Quality and Compliance Specialists and Community Integration Specialists.

Please note that any duties assigned to our included staff that go above their classification/pay grid will be compensated according to Article 27.4 - Substitution Pay. Any assignment of tasks in a lower pay grid will not result in any pay impacts and are not permanent.

Work is also underway to establish a roster of staff that will support our front-facing offices to stay open.

We are in unprecedented circumstances, and truly appreciate the flexibility and support our people continue to demonstrate in these challenging times.

Thank you,

Harbinder Gill
Article 29 BCGEU Co-Chair

Jonathan Dubé
Article 29 Employer Co-Chair

 



UWU/MoveUP

March 25, 2020

COVID-19 FAQ - BCGEU