December 11, 2017

BC Human Rights Commission - BCGEU

Today the report, A Human Rights Commission for the 21st Century: British Columbians talk about Human Rights was released detailing 25 recommendations to government as they re-establish the BC Human Rights Commission (dismantled in 2002 by the previous Liberal government).

The report recommends to B.C.'s Attorney General that the new commission be built on four important pillars in order to create a "strong and independent human rights system in B.C." These include: protecting the independence of the Human Rights Commission; continuing the direct-access Human Rights Tribunal, maintaining the Human Rights Clinic, which provides specialized information, advocacy and representation services; and lastly, that the Ministry of Attorney General assumes responsibility and oversight for the B.C. Human Rights Code, as well as the legislative framework necessary to protect persons from discrimination.

The independence of the commission, the purpose of the commission and how it will work with the existing Human Rights Tribunal and government, the powers of the commission, as well as its ability to call inquiries are all highlighted in the report's recommendations. These elements were also included in the BCGEU's submission to Parliamentary Secretary Ravi Kahlon during the stakeholder engagement process. As identified in the report, a core function of the commission is to provide broad education on human rights and to promote social change for British Columbians, which was also one of the key priorities identified by the union.

Two of the early priorities for the new commission will be: 1) working with Indigenous groups to develop policies and practices that honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (a recommendation also made by the BCGEU); and 2) reviewing and eliminating, where possible, unnecessary references to gender in public documents.

The union is pleased that the report also asks that a new commission review possible discrimination against foreign-earned credentials for workers. Historically, many workers coming to Canada have faced extreme difficulty getting employers, regulatory bodies and educational institutions to recognize their credentials. This is a welcome action for the new commission, as is the recommendation that it extend the time limit for filing complaints from six months to one year.

The BCGEU applauds the Parliamentary Secretary on his thorough and inclusive report, and urges that government fully implement the 25 recommendations in order to reestablish a strong and successful BC Human Rights Commission for the province. 


Click here to read previous posting

Download BCGEU Human Rights Submission as pdf 

December 11, 2017

BCGEU disappointed by decision to complete Site C dam, urges government to em...

The BCGEU is disappointed by the provincial government's decision today to complete the Site C dam despite findings by the BC Utilities Commission that question the economic viability of the project.

In 2015 the union took a position against the construction of the dam citing economic and environmental concerns as well infringement on First Nations' rights. This decision demonstrates the work still to be done to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in our province, as well as honouring treaties with the Crown. We reaffirm our union's commitment to standing with First Nations in realizing the larger goal of reconciliation in Canada.

The BCGEU also urges the government to ensure that unionized labour represented by a recognized trade union is employed in the completion and long-term maintenance of the project; takes the opportunity to provide apprenticeship opportunities to B.C. trades workers; and that further construction is conducted in the most environmentally sensitive way possible.







December 07, 2017

BCGEU remembers Leonard George - BCGEU

It is with tremendous sadness to learn of the passing of Tsleil-Waututh leader, Leonard George.

Leonard, served as Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh nation, was an iconic leader and teacher to thousands of people across British Columbia. In his special way, he was able to build bridges between communities and encouraged everyone to work together as one. His knowledge and wisdom drew many to his side with great respect. 

His fight for the rights of First Nations people brought understanding in ways that will continue to have an impact for many years to come.

His teachings have been passed to his children, grandchildren, his nation, his friends and the thousands of lives he touched during his life. 

Over the years, Leonard has come to speak to members of the BCGEU to pass on his message. On behalf of the 73,000 members of the BCGEU we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the whole of the Tsleil-Waututh nation. He will be deeply missed.


December 07, 2017

Statement on Fair Wages Commission - BCGEU

Today, December 7, is the final day to provide submissions to B.C.'s Fair Wages Commission. The BCGEU would like to mark this date by calling for the immediate implementation of a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers in our province.

The BCGEU is a tireless advocate for fair wages for all workers. Daily, BCGEU members providing health and social services confront the consequences of low wages, poverty and growing inequality our province, including poor nutrition, inadequate housing, mental health and addictions issues. Many BCGEU members have themselves organized and struggled to earn more than the minimum wage. They know frsthand the positive difference that making a decent wage makes in their lives, and they want the same for all British Columbians – right now.

There is no good reason for British Columbians to wait for a higher minimum wage. The province's economy is very strong. And modern economic research has demonstrated that a reasonable increase in the minimum wage is good for workers and the economy.

Today, and every day, we call for an end to poverty wages in BC.

You can read our full submission to the Fair Wages Commission online

December 07, 2017

Watch Minister Eby's Address To C1 Conference Conference - BCGEU

Union activists from across the province gathered in Surrey BC this week to discuss important issues for Component 1 members.

We reviewed grievance arbitration, short term illness and injury plan (STIIP) and long term disability (LTD) issues, gangs and threats, pensions and more. 

We also were updated on the progress of sheriff retention and recruitment efforts. Attorney General David Eby sent a video message of support to the conference, citing retention and wages as key issues which need to be addressed. Watch Minister Eby's remarks here.

Additionally, Component 1 has added a deputy sheriff specific position to the component executive to enhance sheriff representation in our union. The first deputy sheriff representative is Mike Redlick from local 102 Nanaimo sheriffs, and the alternate is David Davidson from local 105 Kamloops sheriffs. 

In Solidarity,

Dean Purdy, Vice President, Component 1
Mike Redlick, Deputy Sheriff Representative, Component 1 

December 07, 2017

Watch Minister Farnworth's Address To C1 Conference - BCGEU


Union activists from across the province gathered in Surrey BC this week to discuss important issues for Component 1 members.

We reviewed grievance arbitration, short term illness and injury plan (STIIP) and long term disability (LTD) issues, gangs and threats, pensions and more. 
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth sent a video message of support to the conference, citing retention and wages as key issues which need to be addressed. Watch Minister Farnworth's remarks here.

In Solidarity,

Dean Purdy, Vice President, Component 1

December 06, 2017

BCGEU Remembers Maureen Headley - BCGEU

I am saddened today to inform BCGEU members and staff that long-time former employee Maureen Headley passed away on Monday December 4 after a long fight with cancer.

Maureen worked at the BCGEU for over 12 years. She served BCGEU members as an organizer, as the assistant director of Membership Records, and as both assistant director and later as director of the Collective Bargaining & Arbitration Department.

After leaving the BCGEU, Maureen worked as a union-side labour lawyer for over a decade before joining the board of directors for the Health Sciences Association in 2006.

On behalf of all BCGEU members, I would like to extend my condolences to Maureen's family and friends.

Maureen's contributions to the labour movement in B.C. will not be forgotten.

Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President

December 05, 2017

BC’s Liquor Distribution Branch the right choice to manage cannabis - BCGEU


December 5, 2017

BC's Liquor Distribution Branch the right choice to manage cannabis


The B.C. government's decision to make the Liquor Distribution Branch responsible for the distribution of non-medical cannabis is the right choice for British Columbia, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union said today.

"We applaud the BC government's decision to warehouse and distribute cannabis through the Liquor Distribution Branch," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "It is the right choice for British Columbians."

The government release notes that they anticipate establishing a public-private retail model for non-medical cannabis. Although the announcement doesn't provide details about the retail model, the BCGEU in partnership with ABLE BC since 2015 to advocate for a distribution and retail system that includes public and private liquor stores as primary retails outlets.

"We are encouraged that the government is seriously considering a public-private retail structure for the sale of cannabis in British Columbia," says Smith. "BC's public and private liquor stores have a proven track record over many decades, selling controlled alcohol products to adults in a responsible manner. We look forward to seeing the detailed proposal as soon as it is available."

The BCGEU is one of the largest unions in British Columbia, representing over 73,000 members in direct government service, the broader public sector and service sectors across the province, including members working in the B.C Liquor Distribution Branch.




December 05, 2017

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women - BCGEU


December 6: 


National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6th is a dark day in our country’s history. It marks the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal, in which 14 women were singled out for their gender and killed.

The 14 women slain in this horrific act of misogyny and gender-based violence were Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Now known as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 6th is commemorated every year in Canada and is often marked by candlelit vigils and other events.

“Today, let’s all take a moment to remember not only the young women killed in Montreal, but all women whose lives have been lost to violence,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “Together, we must all take action and get involved to help eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.”





Here are some events happening around BC:


  • A Dinner Educational: Taking Action Against Violence against Women (New Westminster)


  • Cowichan Women Against Violence Candlelight Vigil


  • Richmond Vigil: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women


  • Surrey: Heart to Heart – Violence Against Women


  • Surrey: End Violence Against Women 7th Annual Candlelit Vigil



The Facts:


Here are a few statistics from the World Health Organization and the Canadian Women’s Foundation:


  • Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
  • Aboriginal women are killed at six times the rate of non-aboriginal women.
  • 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse.
  • On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn't safe at home.
  • Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
  • Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights.




Battered Women’s Support Services:

Canadian Women’s Foundation: