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


February 20, 2018

BC Budget provides path to affordability and quality public services - BCGEU

Fixing 16 years of neglect in public services, childcare and housing will take time, but BC Budget 2018 signals a bold path forward on these important public issues, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.

"We have consistently called upon government for greater investment to restore quality public services," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Today's budget begins that renewal process and makes significant commitments to childcare and housing affordability, which has positive benefits for our members and for all British Columbians."

"We support the initiatives to curb real estate speculation and enhance the supply of affordable housing for British Columbians. The first steps toward a universal, accessible childcare system are also highly welcome. Together, these significant programs and strategies will help working British Columbians and the province's less advantaged to actively participate in and benefit from B.C.'s economy."

"The commitment to fix public services that people count on is extremely important for our members and the public. Today's investments in new staffing for court services, sheriffs, legal aid, seniors care, income assistance, environmental and natural resource management, and programs for women and children affected by violence, demonstrates this public commitment."

"We also need to make a serious effort to address recruitment and retention issues in the public sector, in part by increasing wages and benefits-issues we look forward to addressing in upcoming negotiations. In the meantime, government initiatives that make housing and childcare affordable for working families also make it easier to attract and keep quality workers in the public sector." 

"Our environment and natural resource sector continues to need significant new investment to reverse the decades-long erosion of services. The commitment to hire 20 new conservation officer positions is positive news that will ensure higher levels of compliance and enforcement with a positive impact on our environment and the economy."

"We know it will take time to restore proper service levels to British Columbians. We will support the government as they continue to do the right thing to make British Columbia a more affordable, equitable and healthy society for everyone, not just the one percent."



February 19, 2018

Vancity workers at Downtown Vancouver branch join BCGEU - BCGEU

Workers at the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union Downtown Vancouver Branch (#10) have voted by majority to join the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU). 

The 26 financial services workers at this branch join over 700 of their Vancity colleagues who benefit from access to fair wages and improved working conditions under their collective agreement.

"We are thrilled to welcome workers at the Vancity Downtown Branch to the union," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

"As more Vancity workers join their colleagues in the BCGEU they give strength to the union and ensure they have a voice at the bargaining table and in the workplace." 

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 73,000 members.



February 19, 2018

Caring Professionals should be exempt from mobility pricing - BCGEU

The Mobility Pricing Independent Commission recently published its initial report exploring decongestion charging as part of a 10-year plan for transportation development in the Metro Vancouver region. They have proposed two main policy approaches for consideration: tolling congestion points and charging drivers for each kilometre they drive.

Congestion point pricing charges drivers when they pass certain points or locations, such as a bridge, tunnel or high-traffic area. Distance-based charging means drivers would be charged for each kilometre they drive, and the amount would depend on where they go and at what time.

The BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) welcomes efforts to address the effects of traffic congestion as well as the development of improved infrastructure. However, this should not be done at the expense of working people in the Caring Professionals sector whose incomes and services rely on free access to our roads.

Thousands of BCGEU members, particularly those working in community health or community social services, must have a car to perform their jobs and many drive 50+ kilometres a day on busy corridors to visit their clients. Some members are required to transport clients as part of community inclusion work, or to attend doctor's appointments. Imposing a tax on their mobility would not only create individual financial burden but could also negatively impact service delivery at agencies that aren't funded to pay the costs.

In addition, many of these workers are already facing significant issues when it comes to affordability in the region, including precarious working conditions, lower wages, low mileage rates for the use of their vehicles, and long commutes due to the housing crisis.

The BCGEU urges the Commission to propose a mobility pricing exemption for those in community health and community social services, as well as all workers who spend much of their workday on the roads, including delivery drivers and cab drivers.

In the coming weeks, the Commission will be conducting public consultations ahead of their final report due out in April. The union will encourage its members to visit between February 22 and March 17 to provide comment on this important issue.


February 15, 2018

2018 BCGEU Scholarship Program - BCGEU

Delegates to our 2017 Constitutional Convention voted to increase our annual scholarship program to $60,000. Awards for full-time students are $2,000 and, for part-time students, $1,000. Our scholarship program is funded by the dues of our 73,000 members.

Applicants must be:

  • A BCGEU member, or related to a current retired, or deceased BCGEU member or staff; and
  • A student or prospective post-secondary or higher learning student enrolled, registered or planning to attend an eligible educational institution in 2018.

Eligible relatives include spouses, parents, and children or grandchildren (including foster, adopted and stepchildren and grandchildren). Eligible educational institutions must be designated by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Previous BCGEU scholarship recipients are not eligible to apply. 

In addition to personal information and details of your education plan, you will be asked to submit a short essay of 450 – 500 words. This year's essay question is:

British Columbia has a long history of protest and activism that has shaped our province. What lessons, if any, can today's trade unions learn from this history? How important is protest and activism to making change possible? Use a historical or contemporary example of social movements, protest and activism that you find inspiring to consider these questions.

We encourage you to interview an activist, conduct original research or base your essay on personal experience.

The deadline for submitting your application has been extended to SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2018 at midnight.

Find the scholarship application here

You or your children may also be eligible for one of these five scholarships worth $1,500 awarded by our national union, NUPGE:

Brian Fudge Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship for Indigenous Students

Scholarship for Students of Colour

Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship

Tommy Douglas Scholarship

For information on these scholarships, including eligibility criteria, visit The submission deadline for these scholarships is June 6, 2018.

Download Scholarship Brochure
Download Scholarship Poster