March 01, 2019

2019 BCGEU Scholarships - BCGEU

The 2019 Scholarship Programs has now closed and winners will be posted to the website in mid-June.

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 scholarship@bcgeu.ca

The deadline for submitting your application is at midnight on Sunday, May 5, 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


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: www.prisonsafetynow.ca

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.


February 14, 2019

Component 7’s Joanna Lord acclaimed to replace Sussanne Skidmore as Executive...

The BCGEU Provincial Executive has acclaimed Joanna Lord, Component 7 Vice President, to fill the Executive Vice President position left vacant when Sussanne Skidmore was elected Secretary Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour in November.

"On behalf of the BCGEU I want to thank Sussanne for her years of service to our members, our union, and our movement," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "We are so proud of Sussanne's success at the BC Fed and, of course, we look forward to working with her in that role."

"Joanna has been a strong voice for Component 7 on the Provincial Executive," said Stephanie. "I'm excited to work with her in this new position and I know her experience as an activist, her passion for social justice, and the skills she has honed as a post-secondary instructor will make her a great EVP."

Joanna started her teaching career as an instructor at Malaspina College (which is now Vancouver Island University) in 2005. A long-time union member and supporter of trade unionism, Joanna's path to union activism started in 2008 as a full-time instructor in the Adult Basic Education Department at Malaspina when she eagerly sought out her BCGEU Steward to help with a worksite issue and learned firsthand the power of her new union and her collective agreement. From that moment onward she took every opportunity to learn about her union and get involved, eventually serving as a Local Chair as well as on bargaining committees and Component Exec.

Joanna is just as passionate about her union's work on social justice initiatives as a way of improving the working lives, families and communities of BCGEU's members and all working people in British Columbia.

Joanna will serve in the position of EVP until the next scheduled BCGEU convention in 2020, when the position will be open for election to BCGEU members and delegates.

Photo caption:
The BCGEU executive committee (l-r): EVP Kari Michaels, EVP Doug Kinna, EVP James Coccola, EVP Joanna Lord, President Stephanie Smith, Treasurer Paul Finch.


February 12, 2019

BCGEU Office Closures - Feb 12 - BCGEU

Due to inclement weather, the following BCGEU offices will be closed on Tuesday, February 12:

  • Headquarters (Burnaby)
  • Victoria Area Office (Area 01 - Victoria)
  • North Island Area Office (Area 02 - Nanaimo)
  • Lower Mainland Area Office (Area 03 - Vancouver)
  • Fraser Valley Area Office (Area 04 - Langley)

Any further updates will be made on this website.

If you are a BCGEU member and need emergency support at your worksite, please contact your union steward.

We expect that the offices will re-open on Wednesday, February 13.

February 11, 2019

The BCGEU remembers and honours Art Kube’s legacy - BCGEU

Art Kube was born in Poland in 1935 and raised by a trade unionist mother, on her own along with two children, while his father was taken prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. He kicked off his life-long work to fight for workers' rights as an executive in the youth wing of the Metal Workers union before immigrating to Canada in 1953 as a nineteen-year-old.

Art wore many hats over the years, from a steel fabricator and heavy equipment operator to miner. He was an organizer with the United Steelworkers and then a representative with the Canadian Labour Congress in the 1960s.

Art was the President of the BC Federation of Labour from 1983 to 1986. As Chairperson for Operation Solidarity in 1983, he had a front-row seat to one of the most difficult and tumultuous chapters in Canadian labour history. His leadership and determination during that time left a permanent mark, and inspired generations of activists.

Art was active well beyond his retirement, advocating for seniors' rights across the country, and serving as president of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations and National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation.

In 2015, Art Kube was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, to recognize and honour his deep commitment to working people and communities.

The following year, Art told the Labour Heritage Centre: "I truly hope that I have been able to help make a difference in this world and that the legacy of my life will live on in my children, grandchildren and the many people that I have been honoured to work with and serve in my life." 

The BCGEU offers its condolences to Art's wife Mary and his family as we remember his legacy and his decades of contributions to the labour and social justice movements. 



February 07, 2019

New poll shows overwhelming support for a public inquiry - BCGEU

February 7, 2019

(BURNABY) – The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) released polling results on British Columbians' attitudes toward a public inquiry into organized crime, money laundering and the overdose crisis in B.C. 

The results demonstrate overwhelming support for a public inquiry:

  • 77 per cent of British Columbians in favour of an inquiry.
  • 80 per cent of respondents say that an anti-corruption office similar to the one in Quebec should be established in B.C.
  • 84 per cent say that this would be an important voting issue for them if a provincial election were called tomorrow.

"This poll backs up what we've been saying for months: British Columbians want answers," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "No matter where they live, how old they are or who they vote for the citizens of our province support a comprehensive public inquiry as a way to get to the bottom of how these crises are connected, to make sure those who are responsible are held accountable and that the rest of us are protected going forward. Anything less would be a disservice to the public." 

The poll, conducted by Research Co., is the third poll on the subject of money laundering the firm has compiled since June. The results demonstrate broad-based support across age, gender, region, voting preference and ethnicity. 

"The interest from British Columbians on figuring out all aspects related to money laundering in the province has not subsided," said Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. "There is only a minuscule proportion of residents who believe there is no need for a public inquiry on this matter, and nearly universal support for the eventual establishment of an anti-corruption commission in British Columbia. While there is definitely some satisfaction with the fact that the provincial government is discussing money laundering in the open, voters of all political stripes are eager to see more action on this file."

The BCGEU is uniquely positioned to call for an inquiry as this crisis has impacted union membership in a number of ways. The housing affordability crisis was identified by members as a top concern leading the union to launch its Affordable BC Plan in 2017. As well, members in health care, social services, transit, libraries and casinos, along with deputy sheriffs and correctional officers, have been thrust into first responder roles on the frontlines of the overdose crisis, and have been working hard to tackle its impact.

Two weeks ago, the union launched a campaign calling on the provincial government to launch a public inquiry into organized crime, opioids and money laundering in B.C. The campaign has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures. The launch of the campaign follows the union's call for an inquiry and subsequent letter to government in December 2018.

The polling results are based on an online study conducted from February 1 to February 5, 2019, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error-which measures sample variability-is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Link to Data Tables

Link to Factum

Link to the Public Inquiry petition


For more information contact:

Emma Pullman, BCGEU | (604)-473-5479 |
email: emma.pullman@bcgeu.ca
Mario Canseco, President Research Co. |
email: mario.canseco@researchco.ca


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.


January 22, 2019

Province’s largest union calls for full inquiry into money laundering - BCGEU

The BCGEU wants the government to provide answers, saying a full inquiry is needed into money laundering in this province. John Hua has more.


See video here...