January 03, 2018

To ISM employees: We are fighting for your jobs - BCGEU

Dear ISM Employees,

I would like to start this letter by saying "Happy New Year," but, I know that you received news last week that makes this a difficult start to the year.

Like you, we are concerned that ISM was not the successful proponent in securing the RFP with the health authorities. As soon as we heard the news we started making calls to get more information and be able to fight for your jobs and your collective agreement.

We have already reached out to ISM and government to find out what this means for everyone involved. Yesterday, Judy Fox-McGuire - your Component 6 VP - and I met with your staff rep and other union staff to make a plan of action and establish next steps.

In the coming days we will be reaching out to government officials, your employer and NTT Data to ensure that, whatever the outcome, your job and your collective agreement are secure.

In the meantime, I want to make sure you know that the final stage of the bid process will take some months to complete. In the immediate future, nothing will change for you.

You will continue working as you have until more details become available.

We will be notifying you as we get more information and establish next steps.

If you have questions please contact your steward and we will respond to your queries as best we can.

We know this is very stressful and we are here to assist and represent you as this process moves forward.


In Solidarity,

Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Judy Fox-McGuire, VP Component 6







December 22, 2017

Professional Reliance Review Will Protect Workers - BCGEU

The BC government has initiated a review of the professional reliance model in the natural resource sector. Many BCGEU members' day-to-day is shaped by this regulatory model.

The professional reliance model effectively lets the "fox guard the henhouse," leading – in some cases - to the mismanagement of our resources and harm to the environment. Combined with deep staff and funding cuts to responsible ministries and agencies, strong public oversight of our lands has been seriously eroded.

This review gives an important opportunity to fix how the provincial government oversees industry's activities on the land base, so that the environment and the public interest are better protected.

BCGEU is able to confirm that the employer has agreed to extend to members a protection outlined in the BCGEU collective agreement under article 32.13 Disclosure of Information. Specifically, no employee shall be disciplined for bringing forth in good faith an allegation of wrongdoing during the review. 

BCGEU encourages members to take part in the in-house review and speak candidly about your experiences with the professional reliance model. Members have been sharing their concerns with this model for years, and this is a great opportunity to proactively and productively seek to fix issues with the model through constructive dialogue with the review panel.

The online portion of the survey is open until January 19th. If you have not done so already you can do it here:

December 20, 2017

BCGEU members land $20 million contract to refit B.C. ferry - BCGEU

BC Government & Service Employees' Union workers employed at Esquimalt Drydock Company will begin work on a B.C. Ferries contract worth $20 million to refit the Northern Sea Wolf. The 17-year-old vessel will accommodate approximately 3,500 passengers and 1,200 vehicles each year on a route between Port Hardy and Bella Coola.

Members at Esquimalt Drydock have extensive experience in ship repair as welders, mechanics, labourers, painters and electricians. Working alongside trades people hired by B.C. Ferries, our members completed a mid-life upgrade of the Queen of Cumberland in 2016 which now services the Southern Gulf Islands.

We congratulate our members on this great success, and thank them for their hard work to make B.C. ferries safer, and more comfortable for the traveling public.

Read more here:


December 19, 2017

Thanking and Recognizing the Public Servants who Keep our Communities Safe ...

This year's fire season is far behind us and while recent winter storms have made many in the province forget about this summer's devastation, many communities are still working to rebuild what was lost in the fire. 

As we see the devastation that fires are currently causing across California and as we look back at the lessons learned over the summer, the BCGEU would like to thank and recognize all of the wildfire fighters, support workers, first responders and community members who stood up throughout the fire season to serve and protect our communities. It is thanks to these workers and community members, that the fires did not cause more loss of life and property. 

B.C. Premier John Horgan is looking to recognize many of these people himself and has created the Above and Beyond Awards to acknowledge acts of selflessness and bravery during the fire season. 

We know that many BCGEU members, from the wildfire crews to the conservation officers to the support workers, deserve this award. That's why I would like to encourage you to nominate people in your worksite and your community who went above and beyond during this summer's fire season. 

You can find more information about the award and nominate someone you know by going to

The deadline to nominate someone in your worksite or community is January 15 of 2018.


In appreciation and solidarity,

Stephanie Smith 

BCGEU President. 


December 15, 2017

BCGEU calls for reinvestment in seniors’ services as Seniors Advocate release...

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the B.C. Seniors Advocate released the annual Monitoring Seniors' Services report. Their findings present further evidence that the B.C. government has to reverse the policies of austerity implemented under the BC Liberals. B.C.'s seniors need significant reinvestment in community services and affordable housing to undo the resulting increase in poverty now faced by the province's aging population.


The report lists several areas of concern for seniors in B.C., including the worsening affordability crisis, a decrease in home support services and adult programs, and increasing poverty among seniors.


"This report provides more evidence that austerity policies do nothing to improve the lives of British Columbians," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "To improve the lives of seniors in B.C., and all people of B.C., the government needs to have a central role investing in community health services as well as affordable housing."


The report states that the poverty rate for seniors has increased by 24 per cent since 2005, while services for seniors have been cut substantially during the same period. A shortage of workers and funding for home care has translated into shorter visits by home care workers, negatively impacting care. Since 2015/16 there has also been an 8 per cent decrease in the number of Adult Day Programs, which has put more seniors and their families in vulnerable situations.


The report also looks into the effects that the affordability crisis is having on seniors in B.C. Skyrocketing rents are putting greater strain on seniors who rent and have fixed incomes. Even seniors that own their homes are feeling the effects of the crisis as the cost of homeownership increases. Over the past year there was a 94 per cent increase in the number of new Property Tax Deferrals for homeowners over the age of 55, in part due to the increased tax burden on fixed incomes brought about by increased property values.


Earlier this year, the BCGEU made a series of recommendations to the province on how they can help stabilize housing prices. The proposal includes reforming property taxes, increasing protections for renters and building more affordable housing. These recommendations can go a long way in making life more affordable for B.C.'s seniors and ensuring they have a safe retirement without the fear of a real estate market crash.


Ultimately, increased poverty and a lack of services for seniors are the result of austerity policies, and only by reinvesting in our communities can the new government improve the lives of B.C.'s elderly. The BCGEU is hopeful that the new NDP government will take this report into account during the consultations for the B.C. poverty reduction strategy and that they will continue to increase funds for seniors' services in the upcoming February 2018 budget.


More information:






December 15, 2017

Compliance and Enforcement in B.C. Forests - BCGEU

With the B.C. Government's review of professional reliance across many industries underway, the BCGEU has released a short paper about compliance and enforcement in B.C.’s forests. Check it out below and be sure to share it with your networks.


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.