April 26, 2017

BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Conference 2017 - BCGEU

Rise Up & Reboot: BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Conference 2017

The BCGEU 50th Triennial Convention is taking place June 14 -17, 2017.  

As part of convention, the Equity and Human Rights Conference is taking place on June 18 and 19, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel, for members who identify with one or more of four equity groups: workers of colour, workers with disabilities, aboriginal workers and LGBTQI2S workers.

Registered members will be participating in educational workshops, hear inspirational special guest speakers and participate in the election of your new BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Committee, which will serve for the next three years.

Members who identify with one or more of the four equity groups are invited to attend and participate.  

If you wish to attend, you must register by May 12, 2017.

April 25, 2017

Dozens of Aboriginal child welfare workers rally for improved funding for Abo...

BURNABY - About 60 Aboriginal child welfare staff and community members braved the cold and wind on Saturday, April 22 to demand more funding for Aboriginal child and family services. Reporters from both CBC and APTN filmed the colourful event.

Workers and community members of all ages marched along Croydon Drive and stopped outside Minister Stephanie Cadieux’s campaign office to demand improved funding at the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society (known by its Sto:lo name, Xyolhemeylh). Specifically, marchers called for smaller caseloads, and more prevention services and cultural programming for children and families.

Participants included B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) President Stephanie Smith, workers from Xyolhemeylh, the agency's bargaining committee, Aboriginal community members, and concerned residents.

“Sadly, every Aboriginal child welfare agency in the province faces these issues,” said Smith. “Our members at Xyolhemeylh want the best for children in care in B.C. These dedicated workers want improved working conditions to help them better advocate for children and families."

Dena Silver, who spoke on behalf of the workers at Xyolhemeylh, pointed out the scope of their work. "Our work impacts not only us and our work environment, but our families and everyone in Sto:lo territory," she said. "We are here today because we’ve had enough reports. We’ve had enough talk. We are here today because now is the time for action. The provincial government must fund Aboriginal child welfare at Xyolhmeylh and at all delegated Aboriginal agencies in BC properly, for the sake of our children and families."

The rally began and ended with a powerful Aboriginal drumming circle by Sto:lo drummers.

Workers at Xyolhemeylh joined the BCGEU last summer due to large caseloads and lack of funding. Current contract proposals include reducing caseloads and providing the resources necessary for culturally appropriate services.

The Representative for Children and Youth’s latest report cites an average of 30 cases per social worker at one time, 50% more than is recommended by the Aboriginal Operational and Practice Standards and Indicators (AOPSI).

For more information or an interview call Bronwen Barnett at 604-473-5424

For high resolution photos of the rally, click here

For the Representatives for Children and Youth's latest report, click here



Local 467/MoveUP

April 13, 2017

Training Day -Labour Code OHS Committee Reps - BCGEU

Did you know you are entitled to annual education leave totaling at least 8 hours? Did you also know your employer is required to support this training without loss of pay or other benefits? The employer must cover the costs of the training and any other reasonable costs to attend the course.  If you are unable to take the training yourself, you have the right to assign your 8 hour annual allotment to another worker representative. This language can be found in the Workers Compensation Act section 135.

Please review your collective agreement as you may be entitled to more than the minimum 8 hours for health and safety education. By taking your annual training, you will increase your knowledge and skills and be better able to represent members at your workplace. You will learn how to prevent injury and illness, what your health & safety rights are and what your employer is required by law to provide for workers.

Starting on April 3rd, 2017, Section 3.27 of the Regulations states that new committee members will be required to take an additional 8 hours of committee orientation training as soon as practicable but no more than six months after being selected. This will apply to both worker and employer representatives on the committee. This training must include but is not limited to the following topics: 

  • Duties and functions of a joint committee
  • Rules of procedure
  • Inspection and investigation requirements
  • The refusal of unsafe work
  • The evaluation of joint committees

For worksites with 10-19 workers, a worker health and safety representative only is required, not a full committee. These representatives will be required to receive 4 hours of instruction and training on the same topics minus the committee evaluation piece.

The BCGEU is always looking for more Occupational Health and Safety representatives to advocate for their worksites. If you have an interest in health and safety, please click here to fill out this survey and your application will be forwarded to your local chairperson for consideration.

BCGEU offers OHS courses in:

OHS (Basic) Training   - this course meets the new regulatory requirements                                             

Mitigation of Workplace Violence

Incident Investigations                                                       

To see the 2017 schedule of courses click here.

Thank you for your attention to this and for further information please call the OHS department at 1-800-663-1674 or 604-291-9611 or email us at

Download PDF of notice here.

April 13, 2017

Quesnel Council Talks Marijuana - BCGEU

Quesnel City Council has begun the process of preparing for the legalization of marijuana.



April 12, 2017

Big unions are big donors to NDP, but amenable to banning their contributions...

(February 2017 Article)

Similar to big corporate donors to the B.C. Liberals, big unions are major contributors to the B.C. NDP.



April 12, 2017

President Smith supports Sussanne Skidmore for Canadian Labour Congress VP - ...

I am pleased and proud to support Sussanne Skidmore's candidacy for the position of Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). Sussanne is an established union leader, who began her social justice and labour activism more than a decade ago as a young worker. This makes her uniquely positioned to help evolve and grow the labour movement during increasingly complex and challenging times.
In everything she does, Sussanne is an advocate for labour rights and for better lives and greater opportunities for working people. Her vision, commitment and leadership skills have enriched local labour councils, our provincial union, and numerous external committees, including as NUPGE representative on CLC committees and working groups. Experienced and forward-thinking, Sussanne Skidmore's voice is exactly what's needed to strengthen our movement at the national level.

- Stephanie Smith, President, BCGEU

Je suis heureuse et fière à la fois d’appuyer la candidature de Sussanne Skidmore au poste de vice-présidente du Congrès du travail du Canada (CTC). Sussanne est une dirigeante syndicale reconnue qui a commencé à militer en faveur de la justice sociale et de l’activisme syndical il y a plus d’une décennie comme jeune travailleuse. L’expérience acquise lui confère une compétence unique qui l’aidera à développer et à faire progresser le mouvement syndical à une époque de plus en plus complexe et remplie de défis.
Dans tout ce qu’elle entreprend, Sussanne se porte à la défense des droits du travail, de l’amélioration de la vie et de possibilités accrues pour les travailleurs. Sa vision, son engagement et ses compétences en leadership ont enrichi des conseils locaux du travail, notre syndicat provincial et de nombreux comités extérieurs, notamment à titre de représentante du SNRGSP sur des comités du CTC et des groupes de travailleurs. Forte de son expérience et de sa clairvoyance, Sussanne Skidmore répond exactement à ce que nous avons besoin pour renforcer notre mouvement à l’échelle nationale.

- Stephanie Smith, Présidente, BCGEU

April 07, 2017

Urgent Action: Forced Displacements in Cali, Colombia Forced Displacements Le...

For over sixty years, the Cauca River in Cali, Colombia has been home to thousands of residents who farm, run businesses and live along its banks (known as el Jarillón). Since October 2016, families in the Venecia Las Vegas neighbourhood of el Jarillón have been forcibly displaced and seen their houses torn down by the municipality of Cali to make way for a tourist walk way and cargo port. Now the municipality intends to begin demolitions in the neighbourhood of Brisas del Cauca.

Over 340 houses have been demolished in the Vencia Las Vegas neighbourhood, all without prior consultation, legal notice of eviction, or proper compensation or relocation to similar housing conditions. In October 2016, flyers were distributed announcing that families had six days to vacate their homes. The flyers did not constitute legal eviction notices – families should have received individual notices specifying the details of the evictions including specific times and dates of demolitions, and the authorities responsible for the evictions. In addition, no prior community consultation had been carried out by the municipality, and no relocation proposals were provided to families.

The manner in which evictions and demolitions have been carried out compounds the violation of these families’ civil rights. Community members report having their houses torn down with no proper notice and with their belongings still inside. Families who have refused to relocate have been threatened that their houses will be torn down while they are still inside. Others have been told that by refusing to vacate their homes they are endangering their children, and that they will be taken into state home if they fail to leave their homes.

The evictions have been accompanied by up to 1200 police from various forces including riot and military police. Community members report being threatened and intimidated by police, being told they are not allowed to video police actions as they facilitate demolitions, and being illegally detained when recording police actions.

Join CoDevelopment Canada in asking the Mayor of Cali to:

  • Suspend all forced displacements and demolitions of houses in the Jarillón del río Cauca until the displacement procedures are revised to respect and protect of human rights as guaranteed by national and international norms;
  • Immediate solutions and compensation for the families who have been displaced and respect for their economic, cultural and social rights. 

Click here to add your voice in solidarity with the communities of El Jarillón. 

April 03, 2017

Media Advisory: Ministry of Children and Family Development workers demand im...

What: Rally to support B.C.’s Children and Youth

Who: Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) workers

When: Tuesday April 4 at 12pm

Where: MLA Sam Sullivan’s Constituency Office, 201-1168 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Why: The B.C. Government has refused to fund and implement several recommendations from Bob Plecas’ review (the Plecas report) of child welfare in B.C. including wage increases, adequate backfill, and proper training for social workers in MCFD, putting children and youth at risk and greater strain on frontline services.

MCFD workers in Vancouver are coming together at noon on Tuesday April 4th to call on the B.C. Government to take serious steps in implementing the recommendations in the Plecas report and protect children and youth.

Employees’ main demands are that the government address wage concerns in MCFD, which are 11% lower than the national average, and develop proper accreditation for child and youth group homes.

“Low wage rates, lack of training and accreditation, and low staffing levels are putting children and youth at risk.” said Doug Kinna, Vice President - Social, Information and Health Component of the BCGEU. “If the government is serious about protecting youth, they have the start implementing and funding the Plecas recommendations immediately.”

The Plecas report reviewed B.C.’s child welfare system, finding that it lacks accountability, proper staffing levels, training, and funding. The report included a series of recommendations to be implemented over 4 years, most of which have been ignored by government.

Media and photo opportunities available during the event

For more information, contact Doug Kinna at 250-715-6003


Local 467/MoveUp

March 31, 2017

The BC Government’s decision to siphon WCB surplus is a short-sighted strate...

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union is disappointed by the short-sighted and dangerous decision by the BC government to siphon the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Accident Fund and gift it to wealthy business owners.

Hundreds of workers are dying every year due to unsafe working conditions. The WCB Accident Fund was created to prevent accidents, train and educate workers and employers, and compensate workers in case of injury or death. Skimming the surplus in this fund and giving it to employers is a disservice to workers.

“These funds belong to workers.” said Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU. “If there is a surplus in this fund, it should be used for prevention programs, training, and stronger and more regular enforcement.”

Since 2002, changes in the Workers Compensation Act and government cuts have led to the erosion of benefits for workers.  In 2002 the BC Liberal government virtually eliminated Loss of Earnings pensions to injured workers, which acted as a safety net for workers. By 2007, 96 per cent of injured workers who applied for these pensions were denied

Service cuts to injured workers also include:

  • Effective elimination of vocational rehabilitation assistance
  • A 13 per cent reduction in compensation rates
  • Life-long pensions that now end at 65
  • Reduced compensation for psychological and chronic pain injuries
  • Reductions in the way a worker’s wage rate is calculated
  • Budget cuts that led to 30 per cent reduction in worksite visits by prevention officers

As the Workers Compensation Act reaches its 100th birthday, the BC Government should be re-examining how this Act and the accident fund can be used to prevent worker injuries and deaths. Instead, it is focusing on promising rebates for employers.



BC Government announcement



Local 467/MoveUP