BCGEU - B.C.'s Union since 1919 B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919


2019 BCGEU Scholarships - BCGEU

Applications for the 2019 BCGEU Scholarship program are now being accepted. The union will award $60,000 in scholarships to students in post-secondary education. Full-time scholarships are worth $2,000 and part-time scholarships are worth $1,000.

Apply online here.

Applicants must be:

  • A BCGEU member; or related to a current, retired or deceased BCGEU member or staff[1], and
  • A current or prospective post-secondary or higher learning student enrolled, registered or planning to attend an eligible educational institution[2] in 2019.

In addition to personal information and details of your education plan, applicants will be asked to submit a 450 to 500-word essay on one of the following topics:

  1. How can unions lead the way on climate change?
  2. How can unions lead the way on reconciliation with Indigenous people and communities?
  3. How can unions lead the way on affordable housing?

We encourage applicants to base their essays on an interview with a BCGEU member, personal experience or original research. Applicants with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may submit their essay as an audio or video file to

The deadline for submitting your application is at midnight on Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Apply online here.

Please note: We are unable to respond to individual inquiries about scholarships.

[1] Eligible relatives include spouses, (same or opposite and common law spouses); parents; and children and grandchildren (including foster, adopted and stepchildren and grandchildren).

[2] Eligible educational institutions must be recognized by Employment and Social Development Canada. A list can be found here.)

You may also be eligible for one of the scholarships offered by NUPGE, our National Union of Public and General Employees. Find details and apply directly here.


Download PDF of scholarship poster here


Download PDF of scholarship brochure here


March 18, 2019

The BCGEU supports Association of Legal Aid Lawyers strike vote - BCGEU

The BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) stands in support of the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (ALL) and their strike vote.

"B.C.'s legal aid lawyers help some of our province's most vulnerable people get access to justice, and as they demand the funding they need to serve British Columbians, the BCGEU stands in support of their strike vote," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

The BCGEU represents professional, technical, and support staff at the Legal Services Society (LSS) which has faced decades of underfunding. In a submission to government in 2018, the BCGEU called for improved delivery of legal aid through a primarily public model, and recommended a shift away from the present reliance on private bar referrals and the limited availability of publicly-funded community legal aid resources. Expanding LSS office locations and increasing staff at existing facilities would be an essential (and basic) condition for improvement within current system.

The provincial government recently outlined positive steps to restore capacity to legal aid in Budget 2019. This included improving access to justice for Indigenous people and finding mechanisms to support attraction and retention of legal aid lawyers to sustain delivery of legal aid services. However, the strike vote by ALL demonstrates that a significant gap remains in addressing decades of cuts and underfunding by the previous government.

The BCGEU is one of the largest unions in B.C. with over 78,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province, and represents 149 members at Legal Services Society.


March 15, 2019

New Zealand Mosque Attack - BCGEU

Like all of you, I am angry and shocked and heartbroken at the news of the terrorist attacks in New Zealand.

Some of you know that I grew up and started my career as an ECE and a labour activist in New Zealand. I still have family and friends there and I think of New Zealand as home.

This attack feels very personal for me and I am writing to share my thoughts with all of you.

First, I want to echo the words of New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and utterly condemn not just the people who perpetrated this appalling act but all who find common cause with them-extremism has no place in our communities.

I also want to express my deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones and to the Islamic communities at the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch in their time of grief.

I want to send a message to the people of Christchurch and the people of New Zealand-regardless of where they were born-that Canadians know this tragedy neither reflects nor defines your city or your nation.

Finally, I want to offer my support and solidarity to my Muslim brothers, sisters and friends in the BCGEU and around the world. The 78,000 members of the BCGEU will do everything in our power to defend your right to pray and gather and live free from violence in any form.

As a labour activist I am proud of everything our union does to protect, promote and expand diversity.

All communities are made stronger, richer, and more vibrant by diversity.

Today I am more resolved than ever that we can and must do more to stand against all forms of violence and hatred and to build more open, inclusive and diverse communities where everyone is safe.

Terrorism is about tearing people apart.

We fight it by coming together.

In solidarity, I know we will prevail.


Stephanie Smith 
BCGEU President


March 14, 2019

BCGEU celebrates announcement to bring home support workers under government ...

The Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health authorities have announced they will bring home support services in-house. The BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has been lobbying to bring home care support workers under government employment for over two decades and enthusiastically welcomes a change that will provide greater security to workers, and better care to B.C. seniors.

"Today's news is a real victory for home support workers and the B.C. seniors who rely on their care," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Bringing these workers into the health authorities will finally address the precarious nature of contract-based work with private providers and will enable more of a team-based multi-disciplinary approach to providing care at home."

Home support workers will be transitioned to the health authorities over the next 12-18 months with no loss in wages, benefits or pension plans. The health authorities are also committed to the continuity of care for clients while recognizing and retaining the knowledge and experience of all home support staff.

"Our union looks forward to engaging with the health authorities to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible and works in a way that supports both workers and clients," says vice president of BCGEU's community health services component Scott De Long. "This is what a government that works for people looks like and we congratulate the BC NDP on this achievement."

The BCGEU represents approximately 4,800 home support workers across the province.


March 08, 2019

BCGEU celebrates International Women’s Day with solidarity and action - BCGEU

International Women's Day (IWD) is recognized every year on March 8. It's an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and the extraordinary role women play in their families, workplaces, and communities across the globe. It's also an opportunity to acknowledge how much work remains to be done to achieve true gender equality and ensure all women everywhere are empowered to reach their full potential.

"In the labour movement we achieve progress through collective action and solidarity among working people," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. "Those same principles are the roadmap to gender equality-we have to realize and leverage the boundless power of women and our allies working together-and that's why there is no group better suited to the task at hand than union activists."

"When we take what we know and do as union activists and apply it to the challenges of gender equality-harassment, discrimination, bullying, gender-based violence-we will be an unstoppable force for progressive, sustainable change."

This International Women's Day, there are many ways you can take action for gender equality in your community. This list is not exhaustive, please contact your local labour council or women's organizations to ask about events in your area.


Period Promise

The United Way's campaign Period Promise takes place from March 7 to April 4, 2019, and the BCGEU is proud once again to get behind this important campaign.

Menstruation products are a basic necessity. But if you're living in poverty- or vulnerable in other ways -access to tampons, pads, cups or menstrual underwear can be challenging.

You can get involved by giving financially, donating menstrual products like tampons, pads, cups, menstrual underwear, or collecting donations in your community and workplace.

All BCGEU area offices and HQ will have donation boxes for you to bring your donations of menstrual products by April 1 and we will bring our collective donations to the United Way to show our solidarity.

Period Promise mobilizes all of us to be part of the solution and to help people live with the dignity they deserve. Visit to learn more.


International Women's Day 2019 Events


March 8 - West Coast LEAF Equality Breakfast. 7:00 am- 9:00 am at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver. Tickets are $99-$110. Dr. Willie J. Parker will deliver the keynote at the 2019 Equality Breakfast. Dr. Parker is a reproductive justice advocate who travels as an abortion provider in Alabama and Georgia, and the author of the recently released book, Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice. His most recent work has focused on violence against women, sexual assault, and reproductive rights and justice through advocacy and provision of contraceptive and abortion services.

March 8 - VDLC Women's Committee Annual IWD Dinner at the Maritime Labour Centre. Women for Economic Justice: Taking on Poverty - with guest speakers from the BC Poverty Coalition, Viveca Ellis and Phyllis Joseph and entertainment by Jacky Arrah Yenga. Tickets $50 / $30 low-waged. For tickets go to Eventbrite.

March 8 - International Women's Day Fundraiser and Art Show- Bandidas Taqueria. On March 8, Bandidas will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of food and drinks to a variety of local organizations which serve women* and will launch an art show with feminist themes. Based on a community vote, they will donate proportionately to the following organizations: WAVAW, Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Native Women's Association of Canada, Girls Rock Camp, East Van Roasters, Pads4Girls, and WISH Drop-In Centre Society.

New Westminster

March 8 - Advancing Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) is a day-long symposium on International Women's Day, March 8, that features panelists and speakers on topics such as "Why Does Industry need STEAM?" 'When Barriers Collide" and "Holding Space for STEAM" as well as a presentation on the role of emotion in learning and a keynote from Aoife Mac Namara, the Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Arts, and Technology from Simon Fraser University. The full line up of speakers is available here, as are tickets; lunch is included. Partial or full subsidies are available for those experiencing financial barriers- please email for more info.


March 9 - Surrey International Women's Day event is on Saturday, March 9, 2019, from 12:30-4:00 pm at Johnston Heights Secondary School, 153-50-99 Avenue in Surrey. This year's agenda includes a presentation on the herstory of International Women's Day, singing of "Bread and Roses" and other songs, keynote speakers, information tables, raffle items, a rose for each participant, entertainment and food.


March 8 - Bridge's International Women's Day luncheon- 11:00 am- 2:00 pm at the Union Club of British Columbia, 805 Gordon Street, Victoria. The 9th annual International Women's Day luncheon for an inspiring gathering with keynote speakers, networking opportunities, a delicious lunch, and solidarity for women's empowerment. Keynote speakers include: Laura Poland, General Manager at Mayfair, Sybil Verch, Senior Vice President, National Director, Wealth Management, Raymond James Ltd., and Penny Sakamoto, Publisher of Black Press. Fundraising activities at the event directly support women impacted by violence and trauma by sustaining healing, education, and employment programs at Bridges for Women. These programs are essential in ending the cycle of violence, poverty, and isolation for women in Greater Victoria and across BC. Lunch menu includes vegetarian options.




March 01, 2019

2019 National Union scholarships - BCGEU

Click here for information about the BCGEU scholarship program.

The BCGEU is a component of the 390,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). Our national union offers its own scholarships of $1,500 each that reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for workers.

Applicants must be:

  • the children or grandchildren, or the foster children or the foster grandchildren, of members or retirees of the National Union's component unions or its affiliates; and
  • planning to enter the 1st year of a Canadian public, post-secondary educational institution on a full-time basis in 2019.

All scholarships awarded will be based on the best 750- to 1,000-word essay as listed below. Essays will be marked on the basis of content and style. The deadline for applications and essays is July 4, 2019, and scholarships may have additional requirements, as noted below.

Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship

In addition to the general requirements above, the applicants for the Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship must be entering a field of study in health care, criminal justice, community services or policing. The essay topic is - The importance of their field of study in either policing, criminal justice services, or health care in delivering public services to Canadians.

Information and application for the Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship for Indigenous Students

In addition to the general requirements above, the applicants for the Scholarship for Indigenous Students must identify as an Indigenous person. The essay topic - The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of Indigenous peoples.

Information and application for the Scholarship for Indigenous Students

Scholarship for LGBTQ2S+ Students

In addition to the general requirements above, the applicants for the Scholarship for LGBTQ2S+ Students must identify as an LGBTQ2 student. The essay topic is - The importance of trade unions in supporting the LGBTQ2 communities.

Information and application for the Scholarship for LGBTQ2 Student

  Scholarship for Students of Colour

In addition to the general requirements above, the applicants for the Scholarship for Students of Colour must identify as a person of colour. The essay topic is - The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of people of colour in Canada.

Information and application for the Scholarship for Students of Colour

Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship

In addition to the general requirements above, the applicants for the Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship must identify as a person with a disability. The essay topic is - The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of people with disabilities.

Information and application for the Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship

Tommy Douglas Scholarship

There are no other requirements, other than the general requirements above, for applying for the Tommy Douglas Scholarship. The essay topic is - How Tommy Douglas contributed to making Canada a country with a more just and equitable society.

Information and application for the Tommy Douglas Scholarship

Applicants are advised that the winners and winning essays will be publicized on our website, and their high school will be notified of their win.

For further information please phone 613-228-9800, or email

Click here for information about the BCGEU scholarship program.


February 28, 2019

BCGEU Demands Action to Improve Officer and Community Safety

The BCGEU is asking the B.C. Government to step in and take action to improve conditions in BC's adult correctional facilities. A report released this week by the Office of the Auditor General found that the Adult Custody Division of BC Corrections has failed to implement five of eight recommendations intended to improve the safety and effectiveness of BC's prisons.

"BC Corrections has had four years to make progress on these recommendations and they've failed," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU, the union that represents corrections officers in adult custody facilities. "The findings of this report are embarrassing for Corrections Branch but they're potentially deadly for our corrections officers and we're calling on the government to step in."

The report released this week was a follow-up to an audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor General in 2015. The 2015 audit found that Adult Corrections Division wasn't planning for or providing the facilities and programs needed to deliver safe, secure custody or to help inmates reduce their criminal behaviour after release. That report made eight recommendations to improve staff safety and inmate outcomes in BC's prisons.

The results of the 2015 audit prompted the BCGEU to launch the "Prison Safety Now" campaign in 2016 to raise public awareness and push BC Corrections to take action. The union's campaign highlighted risks faced by corrections officers due to overcrowding, double-bunking, gang violence, and inmates living with addiction and mental health issues. The campaign also emphasized the risks to public safety of a dysfunctional prison system. The union has called on the provincial government to address these issues by increasing resources for adult corrections to address officer-to-inmate ratios, reduce double-bunking, and increased access to services for inmates.

"A dysfunctional, over-crowded, under-funded prison system puts everyone at risk-our members, the inmates they work with, and the communities that those inmates get released into," said Smith. "Our members and all British Columbians deserve better. BC Corrections' failures are putting our province at risk and that has to change."


BCGEU Prison Safety Now:

Officer to inmate ratios:

  • Prior to 2002 an officer to inmate ratio higher than 1 to 20 resulted in a second officer being added to the living unit. Currently, Surrey Pre-Trial Services Centre Officer and Okanagan Correctional Centre have a ratio of 1 to 72, while the ratio at North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre is at 1 to 60.


  • Adult Custody Division has a 32 percent double-bunking policy.
  • The audit report notes that unit closures have increased double-bunking and that six of ten correctional centres are operating above the 32 percent benchmark.
  • Double-bunking benchmarks are highest at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (66 percent), Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (56 percent), and Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (52 percent)


February 22, 2019

How does BC Budget 2019 affect British Columbians? Read our analysis - BCGEU

Dear BCGEU members,

Last October I presented the BCGEU’s submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services as part of the public consultation for the 2019/20 provincial budget. Our submission outlined four priorities: address housing affordability and supply; rebuild the public services needed to support an effective poverty reduction strategy; protect B.C.’s environment and natural resources; and restore funding to our justice and corrections systems.  
On February 19th I attended the provincial government’s 2019 budget lockup in Victoria where plans for the coming years were released.
The initiatives and programs introduced as part of the government’s push to make B.C. more affordable—like the elimination of student loan interest and the implementation of the BC Child Opportunity Benefit—will be life-changing for working people.  
I also appreciated the investments in public services and infrastructure in critical areas like education, health care, seniors care, and wildfire response and prevention.  BCGEU members have been pushing for these and other such investments for a long time and it’s great to see our government has taken that message to heart.
To learn what this budget does and doesn’t deliver, read our full budget analysis for specific details pertaining to the ministries that affect your work here. 

Overall, I am pleased with Budget 2019—it delivers on some of the priorities outlined in our submission and while it doesn’t address all of our asks, it will help our province thrive in the future.  Your elected leadership and I are committed to working to make sure your priorities are on the government’s agenda moving forward.
Click here to read our budget submission from last fall.
Stephanie Smith
BCGEU president


February 19, 2019

Budget 2019: BCGEU praises prudent plan, vows to dig in to details - BCGEU

VICTORIA-The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union is praising Budget 2019 as a prudent plan to clean up the messes left by the previous government, invest in critical public services, and prove that British Columbians don't need to choose between economic strength, environmental sustainability and the health, safety, and prosperity of their families and communities. But the union that represents tens of thousands of provincial government and public service workers says the devil will be in the details as far as how the government's plans impact their members.

"There is a lot for our members and all British Columbians to be happy about in this budget," said BCGEU president, Stephanie Smith. "It essentially charts a series of small but significant steps along the same path the government laid out in their first budget update in 2017 and reaffirmed in last year's budget."

BCGEU members work in every community across the province and every sector of the economy. More than two-thirds BCGEU members work in direct government-from providing administrative and technical support in ministry offices, to frontline social workers, corrections officers, and wildfire fighters-and the broader public service-including child care, health care, community social services, post-secondary education, and highways maintenance.

"Our members have been pushing for years for more investment in public services, it's great to see that the government has taken that message to heart," continued Smith. "And the affordability measures announced today will really add up-measures like the BC Child Opportunity Benefit and the elimination of MSP premiums will be life-changing for working families."

"The big question moving forward is how this budget will impact BCGEU members on the frontlines of service delivery. Every new program and initiative announced today means a change to the working lives of our members," said Smith. "On their behalf I will be working with government to ensure that this budget is implemented in a way that respects not just the British Columbians who rely on these services but the workers who deliver them. Those are the details that we will need to work out over the coming days and weeks."

The BCGEU represents roughly 78,000 members across British Columbia. Stephanie Smith was first elected president of the BCGEU in 2014 and was re-elected in 2017.