March 12, 2018

Social Work Week 2018 - BCGEU

March 11th – 17th is Social Work Week in B.C.

This week the vital role of social workers is in focus as we celebrate Social Work Week in B.C. Social workers in the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) assist more than 150 000 children, youth and families each year.

"In addition to their important and demanding work, social workers have been tireless advocates for system-wide improvements in recent years," said Judy Fox-McGuire, BCGEU vice president for social, information and health (Component 6). "While the new government has made a significant and promising reinvestment in child welfare, those working in frontline positions still face significant challenges with staffing retention, caseload burdens, and workplace safety."

"The BCGEU understands that the ministry is continuing to hire new workers and expand total staff. We're watching closely to make sure they get the leadership and support they need from management, and that the successful retention of this new staff leads to improvements for all dedicated workers on the frontlines."

"Social work plays a crucial role in our society, not only for individuals, but often entire families and communities," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "As we reflect on the hard work and commitment of our social workers this week, the BCGEU will continue on in its efforts to ensure their needs are met in the workplace."

"This is about providing adequate resources for those who are on the frontlines protecting individuals and families and allowing our most vulnerable citizens access the services they need," said Fox-McGuire. "We will continue to seek feedback from our members as the new resources come in."

The BCGEU is the lead union in B.C. representing social workers, including in regional health authorities, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, across the Community Social Services sector, and in MCFD.







March 09, 2018

Child advocate report underlines need for transformative change to Indigenou...

A B.C. Children's Representative report that criticizes attempts to restrict an Indigenous woman's parental access clearly shows that we need to change the way services are delivered in Indigenous communities, the BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) said today.

"Bernard Richard's report identifies a child apprehension policy, put in place by the previous government, that is in urgent need of transformative change," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Child protection workers often bear the brunt of criticism for implementing government policies, but it is important to put the focus back on the ministry leadership where it belongs."

"We are pleased that the minister publicly acknowledges the difficult work that social workers are asked to perform every day, under very stressful conditions. These professionals have been advocating for improvements in service delivery for many years. It's time for the government to ensure that front line workers have the resources and policy framework in place to fully support British Columbia's Indigenous families."

"We understand that it takes time to steer a large ship in a new direction. Inertia creates its own momentum. But we have a historic opportunity, given the B.C. government's commitment to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to implement progressive policies that respect the rights and culture of Indigenous children and families who access government services."

"We are committed to work with the government to ensure that the experience and knowledge of our dedicated members who provide front line support to B.C. families will help inform the structural changes that are needed to provide efficient, compassionate delivery of social services to British Columbians."




March 07, 2018

International Women’s Day: Time to #PressforProgress - BCGEU

International Women's Day (IWD) is recognized internationally on March 8th each year to celebrate the global achievements of women and the extraordinary role women have played in their communities and across the world. Despite these successes, we are faced with continued inequality and there is still much to be done. Let's continue to move forward – not backward - on women's rights and equality.

"Through hard work and solidarity, we have made great strides at the bargaining table to improve the overall working conditions of working people, and of all women in BC," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. 

"We've achieved significant gains in child and dependent care, harassment and bullying, violence in the workplace, and health and safety, to name a few. But there is still much work to do. With the emergence of #Metoo and Time's Up movements, it is important that we continue to fight for safe, healthy worksites, and the BCGEU has always been at the forefront of that. We have to make sure that we feel empowered to stand up and speak out against harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and gender violence."

The theme for IWD 2018 is #PressforProgress

According to the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, gender parity is over 200 years away. It's time to mobilize and #PressforProgress!

Share your message of support and activism through social media using #pressforprogress and collectively, we can all help to create a more inclusive, gender equal world.

We're also excited to share with you a new campaign in which women in our union and our allies are working for change:

Canadian Labour Congress: Done Waiting

The Canadian Labour Congress is inviting union members to challenge the federal government to make real progress toward women's economic justice. They are calling on them to take three, simple actions in 2017: table pay equity legislation, sign a new deal on child care with the provinces and territories, and put paid domestic violence leave in the Canada Labour Code.

Check out for more information.

Tampon Tuesday

Periods might be tough to talk about, but they are just a fact of life. Nobody should have to pick between feeding their family and being able to afford basic hygiene products. But sadly too many people are forced to make these tough choices. Too many young girls in our community are missing days at school because they don't have menstruation products. Too many are embarrassed as they scramble to use old cloth scraps or have to ask others for help.

But you can be part of changing this story. By donating hygiene products to Tampon Tuesday between March 6 and 20, you are both helping raise profile about the need in our community and ensuring United Way can get products right to those who need them most. Collection boxes have been set up at BCGEU offices.


We are the Union: Women's Work

ICYMI: Did you get a chance to check out the BCGEU's documentary We are the Union: Women's Work? The BCGEU Provincial Executive Women's Committee produced this powerful documentary video We are the union: Women's Work in the fall of 2016. The film celebrates some of the stories of BCGEU's women members and their remarkable achievements throughout history.


International Women's Day events

International Women's Day Dinner - Women on the Waterfront

Thursday March 8, 5:15 p.m., Vancouver

Hosted by Vancouver District Labour Council


#EMPOWERHER2018: Press for Progress with Senator Mobina Jaffer

Thursday March 8, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Burnaby 


West Coast Leaf Equality Breakfast

Friday March 9, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Vancouver


Women in Entertainment Celebration and Fundraiser

Saturday, 10 March 2018 at 7:00 p.m. 

Imperial Vancouver, 319 Main Street, Vancouver


Raising Hope: International Women's Day Celebration

REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity)

Friday, March 9, 2018 from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM


Let's Elevate Gender-Balanced Leadership

When: March 9 2016

Where: Vancouver, Canada

International Women's Day Celebration and Benefit

Gleneagles Golf Course and Clubhouse, 6190 Marine Drive, West Vancouver


Walk In Her Shoes

When: March 4 2018

Where: Vancouver


CIRCA International Women's Day 2018

When: March 8 2018Where: Vancouver 


Get social

Want to spread the word on social media? Use these relevant International Women's Day hashtags on your social media platforms:








March 02, 2018

Budget 2018/19 brings responsible investment in our province and people - BCGEU

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has released its analysis of the BC NDP's first full provincial budget and financial plan – a budget with a noticeable change of tone from the previous government.

After 16 years of austerity and retrenchment under the BC Liberals, the new government has laid important pathways for the introduction of expansive new strategies and programs to come. In particular, significant commitments to child care and housing affordability will have positive benefits for our members and for all British Columbians.

Budget 2018 is not perfect – this analysis identifies where progress has been made, and where greater investment is still needed. However, the budget is bold, well-measured and conscientious in what it offers British Columbians, and we congratulate the government on this impressive effort to make our province a more affordable, equitable and healthy society for everyone.

Read the analysis here: B.C. Budget Analysis 2018/19 

Read the BCGEU's media release from February 20: BC Budget provides path to affordability and quality public services



March 02, 2018

BCGEU Submission on Electoral Reform Referendum - BCGEU

When the B.C. Government announced plans to hold a province-wide referendum on the question of electoral reform, they invited input from citizens and organizations to help shape the way we vote.

The response from British Columbians was immense, with over eighty-eight thousand submissions made to the Attorney General. This represents the largest public participation in a consultation in the history of the province, and shows that there is a lot of public interest in electoral reform.

As part of the BCGEU's internal listening campaign on the issue of electoral reform, members were invited to provide their input about possible changes to the voting system last fall. The results of that listening campaign revealed that 90% of BCGEU members that participated are in favour of modernizing our electoral system by bringing in a form of proportional representation. 

Informed by these results, the BCGEU made the following submission to the Attorney General's office on the upcoming referendum:

March 01, 2018

March is Community Social Service Awareness Month - BCGEU

There isn't a family in B.C. that hasn't received support, or knows someone who's received support, from a Community Social Service (CSS) worker. Every day, they make sure some of our most vulnerable citizens are safe and cared for, and this is why the BC Government Services and Employees' Union (BCGEU) asked the Province of British Columbia once again to proclaim March as Community Social Services Awareness Month.

Caring Professionals in this sector provide supports, services, and resources to adults and children with developmental disabilities, women and children fleeing violence and Aboriginal families in need. They work in child care, youth services and more.

When it comes to some of the province's most pressing issues – from the fentanyl crisis to providing shelter to those suffering the worst effects of the housing affordability crisis – it's CSS workers who are working on the ground, and often the first to respond to those in need.

In recognition of this work, each March BCGEU president Stephanie Smith visits worksites around the province to meet more members and hear about the challenges they are facing. Joined by component 3 vice president Andrea Duncan and first vice chairperson Pamela Pye, this year they will visit members in Squamish, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

The BCGEU has over 10,000 members in Community Social Services. Click here to view the 2018 Proclamation by the Province of British Columbia



February 28, 2018

BCGEU supports Pink Shirt Day 2018 campaign - BCGEU

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) joined hundreds this morning in downtown Vancouver at the CKNW Kids' Fund 2018 Pink Shirt Day rally. This annual campaign to end bullying spreads awareness and raises funds to support programs that foster children's healthy self-esteem with this year's focus on cyberbullying.

"Bullying continues to be a problem whether in our schools, at work, or online. The BCGEU has sponsored this important campaign for the last six years and is committed to preventing bullying in the workplace as well through education workshops and other resources for our members," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

The BCGEU includes anti-bullying language in its collective agreements and provides regular occupational health and safety training on bullying and harassment to members around the province. The union's anti-bullying course was also updated last year to include a specific section on cyberbullying.

Not only can bullying damage mental health and lower morale and productivity in the workplace, the impact of gender-based cyberbullying against women and girls is also of great concern.

"Girls are more likely than boys to be victims of cyberbullying, sometimes with tragic results. Women in positions of power in media and politics are increasingly attacked as well," says Smith. "The most important thing we can do is speak up, just as so many have done in the #MeToo and the Time's Up movements. Together we can stand up to cyberbullies."

Smith was joined at the rally today by BCGEU members as well as members of the union's Provincial Executive.



February 23, 2018

BCGEU to host public meeting on housing affordability crisis - BCGEU

VANCOUVER – A five-person panel will discuss Greater Vancouver's housing crisis and hear stories and ideas for solutions from the public. 

The panel includes: 

Adriane Carr – Vancouver City Council MemberTesicca Truong – Generation Squeeze
Harpinder Sandhu – Co-author of the report Building an Affordable B.C.; CUPE 1767 member
Kari Michaels – BCGEU Executive Vice President
Paul Finch – BCGEU Treasurer and co-author of the report Building an Affordable B.C. 

The BCGEU will also present recommendations from the report Building an Affordable B.C. (, co-authored by CUPE 1767 President Jared Melvin and Vice President Harpinder Sandhu, including how the provincial government can strengthen its 30-point housing plan to address the root of the crisis: speculation on the part of financial institutions and wealthy investors in the housing market.


WHAT: BCGEU to host public meeting on housing affordability crisis

WHEN: Monday, February 26, 2018

TIME: 6:30 pm start (doors open at 6:15 pm)

WHERE: Vancouver Public Library, Peter Kaye Room - 350 West Georgia Street (at Hamilton)

Read our recent media release: Government must take bolder action on speculation tax


February 21, 2018

Government must take bolder action on speculation tax - BCGEU

February 21, 2018

BURNABY – The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is pleased to see the B.C. NDP government's newly released 30-point housing plan which proposes significant steps towards addressing the province's housing affordability crisis. This plan includes measures, many of which the BCGEU has been calling for, like introducing a progressive property transfer tax surcharge, closing loopholes that promote tax evasion and building affordable rental, non-profit, co-op and owner-purchase housing units. However, the "speculation tax" as proposed in this plan, while reflective of BCGEU recommendations, will not go far enough to curb the full extent of speculation in the market. It also misses a major revenue opportunity by narrowly applying the tax to landowners not paying income taxes in B.C. – leaving out developers and land speculators.

Last November the BCGEU released its report Building an Affordable B.C., co-authored by CUPE 1767 President Jared Melvin and Vice President Harpinder Sandhu, which recommends implementing a Land Value Capture (LVC) tax as the centrepiece of a recalibrated tax system. This tax would apply to developers and those who actively speculate on land values, who for years have been making runaway profits in an environment that is largely untaxed and unregulated. Land Value Capture is a moderate intervention that reduces the incentive for speculation, while generating revenue for government investment in transit and infrastructure in the area being developed.

"The value of B.C.'s real estate market has risen to $1.8 trillion – one of our largest sectors. Yet without proper taxation on the value of land, government is leaving money on the table that could go towards funding the services and infrastructure British Columbians need," says Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer.

The BCGEU continues to build support for the plan put forward in Building an Affordable B.C. and will continue to push government to adopt a widely-applied Land Value Capture tax as the most effective tool to stabilize speculation, enhance revenue and resources for public services, and to make life more affordable for British Columbians.

The provincial government's 30-point plan is a promising first step towards addressing the housing crisis. However, it would be significantly strengthened by the adoption of the LVC tax, a measure the union hopes to see included in next year's budget.

The BCGEU will host a public meeting on the housing affordability crisis on Monday, February 26th at the Vancouver Public Library at 6:30pm (Peter Kaye Room). A five-person panel including Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr, Tesicca Truong from Generation Squeeze, CUPE 1767 member Harpinder Sandhu, BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch, and BCGEU Executive Vice President Kari Michaels will engage the public on their stories and ideas for solutions. Recommendations from the report Building an Affordable B.C. will also be presented.

For more information contact: Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications, 604-719-4713