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January 08, 2024

BCGEU calls for Vacancy Control, not more unaffordable rent hikes  - BC Gener...


January 8, 2024
BCGEU calls for Vacancy Control, not more unaffordable rent hikes 
(Burnaby, B.C.)


While some B.C. renters are bracing themselves for another 3.5-per-cent rent-hike in 2024, those looking for a new home will be paying much more to stay in their communities, says the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU), calling again for vacancy control measures. 

According to the CMHC's January 2023 Rental Market Report, the asking price for vacant units in Vancouver, on average, exceed in-place rents by 43%, making housing even more expensive for those who are moving or have been displaced, and need a place to live. The BCGEU says this disturbing discrepancy is both a symptom of weak rental policy and an over-reliance on the private market, which has widened the divide between those who own and those who rent, making it harder and harder for working people to have stable housing.

"Vacancy Control would limit rent increases between tenants, which is a major cause of unfair evictions and displacement," says the BCGEU Vice-President Kari Michaels. "In many cases landlords make homes so unlivable that occupants have no choice but to leave, all so the landlord can convert the same $900-a-month suite into a $2,400-a-month one." 

Michaels adds that the results of these unchecked rent increases negatively impact everyone: "Whether you are the person unfairly displaced, or you're a prospective renter coming in behind them - possibly a student leaving home for the first time, a new Canadian moving to B.C., a growing family seeking more space, or a worker relocating to a neighborhood that's closer to a job - everyone loses because the number and diversity of affordable homes dwindles. A 3.5% increase on in-place rents is daunting enough for workers, especially in the face of our inflationary crisis, but for your typical workers and families, market-rate housing is often completely out-of-reach." 

Vacancy control would stop rents from rising as steeply as they have over the last decade by extending rent caps to the unit, not just existing tenants. "It's a common-sense protection that we need right now to stem the loss of affordable market rentals," says Michaels. "It's no different than how we need better protections against demovictions under the new transit-oriented development law to stop unfair displacement; both policies should be treated as emergency measures." 

The BCGEU is also adamant that workers and their neighbours need more support to build and sustain a truly equitable and affordable housing landscape, which is why it's advocating for a 4-pronged approach, combining a Land Value Capture Tax (LVCT) and expanded inclusionary zoning with robust public housing, in addition to Vacancy Control. LVCT would deter speculation, eventually cooling the housing market, and provide government with the funds it needs to build and manage quality, affordable public housing. Meanwhile, the proposed inclusionary zoning policy would require 50% of the units in all new developments get an affordable-housing designation, where rent is locked at 30% of the tenants' income. 

"Ultimately, we are striving for an environment where the corporate landlords and developers cannot own, flip and sell more people in B.C. out of their homes," says Michaels. "Our proposal unchains housing from the restrictive and volatile market we currently see, so that we can eventually decrease rents, increase the stock of quality affordable housing and ensure that people living and working here have quality homes, without having to sacrifice food, heat, internet, or winter boots for their kids just to keep a roof over their head." 



For more information, please contact: 

Celia Shea, BCGEU Communications Officer – [email protected] 


The BCGEU represents over 85,000 workers from across the province, passionately fighting for a more affordable B.C. Together, they're pushing back against the cost-of-living crisis by winning better wages and breaking down barriers to important services for marginalized communities. In response to the escalating housing problem, BCGEU also launched the Affordable B.C. Campaign, where members and allies are uniting to advance safe, affordable housing for all workers and their neighbours. 


December 19, 2023

TD Bank's Racial Equity Audit: Commendable Yet Incomplete Asserts Labour Unio...


Burnaby, BC, December 19, 2023 - In a landmark move, The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX: TD) unveiled the findings of its much-anticipated racial equity audit report which examines the bank's employment practices across its US and Canadian operations. A response to a shareholder proposal by the BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU), this audit is a significant step for North America's 6th largest bank and is the first audit of its kind in Canada.

"We commend TD for being the first bank in Canada to commit to and complete a racial equity audit," stated Emma Pullman, BCGEU's head of shareholder engagement. "However, to truly bolster investor confidence, TD must address the audit's significant limitations."

A racial equity audit critically analyzes a company's practices to identify and rectify disparities affecting Indigenous communities and people of colour. TD engaged Covington LLP and WeirFoulds LLP for this purpose, scrutinizing workplace policies, hiring, and retention. 

BCGEU has identified the following concerns with the audit that it believes could be addressed through enhanced disclosure, and in future audits: 

  • Methodological Flaws: The audit's questions have limitations. Rather than asking about the effectiveness of TD's diversity policies and practices, the audit asks what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of TD's policies and practices.
  • Insufficient Data: TD's audit fails to disclose disaggregated data, which could provide critical insights into how different racial and ethnic groups are specifically affected by TD's policies and practices. Disclosing this data may help TD develop more targeted and effective strategies to address systemic inequalities and ensure that initiatives truly benefit all employees and stakeholders in a meaningful way.
  • Narrow Scope: The audit's focus on employment practices omits key areas like products, services, and lending practices. TD has indicated that it intends to apply learnings from its employment audit to customer experience. Without conducting an audit that covers business practices, TD may overlook systemic issues, and may miss key insights and opportunities.

"We understand that racial equity audits are intensive. As a long-term TD investor, our priority is to ensure this audit is instructive and isn't mere window dressing. We believe TD is in a position right now to make straightforward and meaningful additional disclosures that will provide investors with confidence in the audit. Furthermore, we believe TD should commit to a timeline for an audit of its business practices," Pullman asserted.

During TD's proposed merger with First Horizon Bank, criticisms emerged regarding its racial lending record. TD's audit into its employment practices would not be able to provide insights into the effectiveness of new policies and programs announced by the company, including changes to overdraft policies and new programs to increase home ownership among communities of colour. This underscores the need for an inclusive audit that covers business and lending practices.

Since TD made its commitment to conduct a racial equity audit in 2022, nearly all its competitors and peers have committed to comprehensive racial equity audits that include both employment and business practices. This includes National Bank of Canada, CIBC, Bank of Montreal, and Royal Bank of Canada. Both RBC and BMO made commitments in November of 2023 in response to investor engagement led by BCGEU and other investors. 

"TD Bank has paved the way with its racial equity audit. But, without a commitment to comprehensively audit its entire business, it risks falling to the back of the pack. We hope to see TD champion change and embrace a more thorough and transparent approach," concluded Pullman.

The B.C. General Employees' Union represents over 85,000 workers in virtually every community and economic sector in the province. BCGEU's capital stewardship program leverages its power as a long-term shareholder to advance human rights, Indigenous rights, sustainability, and responsible governance at Canada's largest companies. Learn more about the union's work at

Read TD's employment equity audit

Read BCGEU's 2022 shareholder proposal at TD Bank

For media inquiries, please contact:

Emma Pullman
Head of Capital Stewardship and ESG
BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)
[email protected]



December 13, 2023

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT – Kamloops Area Office - BC General Employees' Union...

December 13, 2023



GRADE:                LEVEL 5 - MoveUP AGREEMENT

WAGE RATE:      $34.67 - $37.30 per hour

An Administrative Assistant is required to provide administrative support to the staff representatives in the Kamloops Area Office, located in Kamloops, BC.  Term of assignment is 3 months or return of incumbent.


The successful applicant will perform Level 5 duties as assigned.  Duties will include processing a variety of documents on a personal computer, including collective agreements, meeting notices, bargaining bulletins, grievance letters, leaves of absence and general correspondence; calculating calendar deadlines for grievances, notice to bargain letters, appeals and expedited arbitrations; balancing and maintaining a petty cash fund, making purchases and issuing cheques from the imprest account, reconciling monthly bank statements, calculating charge backs to components/locals; coordinating, preparing and distributing materials for strike/ratification votes and elections; assisting component/local executive in performing their duties such as stewards'/retirees' banquets; arranging for union observers to attend selection panels upon members' requests; maintaining a filing system such as grievances, appeals, local, component, cross-component, stewards/officer information; responding to telephone inquiries and receiving visitors such as members, staff representatives, senior labour and management personnel, Provincial Executive; scheduling appointments; making travel and hotel arrangements; other related duties as required.


Applicants must have 2-4 years' administrative experience; high school graduation supplemented by administrative training; excellent Microsoft Word and Excel skills; keyboarding (40 - 50 wpm); database experience required; accounting/payroll experience a definite asset; an aptitude for organization and detail; good telephone manner and the ability to set priorities and work within time limits.

Hours of work are 32 per week, four days.

General aptitude tests will be administered to all applicants.  Keyboarding tests will be administered to regular/temporary employees who are not presently working in or have not previously worked in an administrative position.

The BCGEU supports employment equity. Indigenous workers, workers of colour, women, LGBTQ2SI+ workers, and workers with disabilities are encouraged to apply for positions with the BCGEU.

Apply in writing with resume to Jennifer Ferguson, Human Resources Administrator, Headquarters, by 5:00 pm, Tuesday, December 18, 2023.

Resumes will be accepted by e-mail to:  [email protected]



December 06, 2023

Dec 6 National Day of Rememberance and Action on Violence Against Women - BC ...

December 6th marks the 34th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre, which occurred on December 6, 1989, in Montreal. The perpetrator, fueled by misogynistic beliefs, took the lives of 14 young women that day. Three decades later, the impact of this horrific act of violence continues to reverberate through the ongoing struggle against gender-based violence. 

The risk of harassment and violence tragically continues to be a daily reality for many workers, particularly affecting women who are Indigenous, black and people of colour, and gender-diverse people.

The importance of activism in challenging these systemic issues cannot be overstated. Advocacy, organizing, education, and policy changes are critical components of the ongoing struggle to create and cultivate safer, more equitable spaces for all workers.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is a fitting time to underscore the work of our union's active Women and Gender Rights Committee, lead by our president Stephanie Smith. The committee's primary role is to make recommendations to our union's Provincial Executive on the elimination of specifically identified systemic barriers, to ensure the full participation of women, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming members in our union.
This year, the committee hosted our first women and gender rights conference – Intersectionality – what does it mean? – in Fort St. John. Many activists and gender-diverse members came together to explore intersectionality as a framework for tackling overlapping forms of prejudice and discrimination, and to discuss critical issues such as domestic violence, disability rights and justice, and Indigenous reconciliation.
Over the past few years, committee members also participated in the federal government's roundtable on gender-based violence and sent letters to the provincial government calling for paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual assault. This work has resulted in inclusions within our collective agreements for special leaves for employees experiencing domestic violence. 
In 2020, as a direct result of the labour movement's advocacy, the government announced up to five days paid leave for employees experiencing domestic and sexual violence and five days of additional unpaid leave to seek medical attention, counselling or other social or psychological services. 
In January 2023, Canada ratified the International Labour Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work which will come into effect early in the new year. It is the first-ever global treaty on ending violence and harassment in the workplace, and one the global labour movement fought hard to achieve. C190 is particularly notable for its focus on gender-based violence and recognition of vulnerable workers.
There is still much work to be done, but we will continue our collective efforts to end gender-based violence, to promote inclusivity, and to advocate for policies that prioritize safety and equity for all. 
Today we hope you consider attending one of the events in your area, commemorating the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. It's vital that we stand together in unison to demand an end to violence against women, girls, and gender-diverse people. We have compiled a comprehensive list of events throughout the province here. New events are emerging daily so be sure to check for others in your area before you make a plan. We also encourage you to share the social media shareable we have included below. 

On this National Day of Remembrance and Action, let's use this day as a catalyst for a renewed commitment to creating a world where every person, regardless of gender, can work and live free from the threat of violence and harassment.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or abuse, here are a few links to services and resources in BC:

1-800-563-0808 a multilingual information service available throughout BC and the Yukon 24/7.
Or Text VictimLink BC at 604-836-6381.
BC Housing - Transition Houses & Safe Homes List
List and contact information for all of the transition houses across the province.
Women Against Violence Against Women 24-Hour Crisis Line
604-255-6344 or toll-free 1-877-392-7583
Battered Women Support Services Crisis line
604-687-1867 or 1-855-687-1868 or text 604-652-1867 or email: [email protected].
Ending Violence BC
Non-residential anti-violence programs.

Never forget:

Genevieve Bergeron | Helene Colgan | Nathalie Croteau | Barbara Daigneault | Anne-Marie Edward | Maud Haviernick | Barbara Maria Klucznik | Maryse Laganiere | Maryse Leclair | Anne-Marie Lemay | Sonia Pelletier | Michele Richard | Annie St-Arneault | Annie Turcotte



November 20, 2023

We Want to See More Trans Elders - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

BCGEU Secretary-Treasurer Paul Finch Issues Statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance

This past year we've seen a disturbing rise in hate-driven attacks on the transgender community. The BCGEU's solidarity with transgender, gender-diverse workers, and all 2SLGBQTI+ community members is necessary and urgent-it's a lifeline, it's central to our values, and it's important to the wellbeing of our communities.

Every worker and person in B.C. deserves safety, respect and support. That's why, as union activists we fight for more humane workplaces - so that everyone can lead healthy, fulfilling lives on the job and outside of it. Our greatest strength is our collective power, which demands inclusivity. To exclude anyone from the progress that we strive for would fail the whole labour movement. Real unionism uplifts all workers to fight for their rights.

For trans workers, who have a lower life expectancy and are disproportionately the targets of assault, the fight for their rights is intimately tied to the fight for their lives. Our union is committed to helping build a world where trans people have a real chance to be themselves, lead fulfilling lives and grow old. We want to see more trans elders.

Since 1999, the trans community has come together on November 20, across borders and demographics, for Trans Day of Remembrance to memorialize and mourn loved ones who were ripped from their lives by transphobia. Sadly, every year, the list of names on the epitaph grows. Today and every day, BCGEU honours and remembers all victims killed in acts of transphobic violence or those taken as a result of them. Our union celebrates and supports survivors and commits to defending against attacks that disrupt and threaten trans and gender-diverse lives.

Canada's legal landscape is unfortunately becoming more hostile. Saskatchewan's government has now passed a bill that requires parental consent as a condition for kids to re-enforce their preferred names and pronouns at school, forcing some youth to come out to their guardians and relatives before they are ready. The Saskatchewan government's invocation of the Notwithstanding Clause – used to pass the bill – overrides parts of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and goes to disturbing lengths to discourage gender-diverse youth from self-identifying, which has been shown in the research to reduce depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

Outside of electoral politics, we've also seen a wave of misguided and inflammatory rallies organized across the country against B.C.'s SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) framework - a toolkit of resources that allow for age-appropriate and scaled conversations that encourage inclusion and understanding. Sometimes lessons as simple as talking about how colours don't have a gender or suggestions of books that might reflect the diversity of students and their families, SOGI does not force children to be anything other than who they are. It teaches acceptance, relieving kids of the pressure they may feel to conform to identities that don't feel right for them.

BCGEU's 2SLGBTQI+ Committee has been doing member outreach and joining forces with ally organizations to counter these protests, to ensure all children and youth feel supported, safe and heard at school and in their communities.

BCGEU also highlights the fact that these discriminatory trends in anti-trans legislation and sentiment will disproportionality hurt low-income, racialized and Indigenous members of the community, as well as seniors and trans people with disabilities. Real justice for the transgender community will only be won if it is intersectional and inclusive; accessible gender-affirming care includes and requires an anti-racist healthcare system and affordable housing for seniors and low-income communities. Trans elders must feel safe and included.

While we mourn and condemn hate on this somber day, we know it's not enough for unions to be against transphobia - we must actively build safe, supportive spaces where transgender workers can thrive. We must strive for a world where the community is not in a constant state of defense, spending more time justifying and vying for their existence than living. We stand in support of a future world where transgender and gender-diverse workers and communities can lay down their swords and instead be free to fully explore their interests, grow their relationships, and feel the full spectrum of emotion, without fear of the constant risk of attack.



November 14, 2023

RBC & BMO shareholders herald racial equity audit commitments - BC General Em...

Chartered banks are fourth and fifth to commit to independent assessment after successful shareholder engagement 

BURNABY, B.C. | Nov. 14, 2023 – In back-to-back announcements, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced commitments to conduct independent racial equity audits, making them the fourth and fifth Canadian chartered banks to do so. These announcements come after nearly a year of negotiations led by bank investors including the B.C. General Employees' Union (BCGEU) and SHARE, and just days after investors re-filed shareholder resolutions at both companies in conjunction with the 2024 annual shareholder meetings.

A racial equity audit is an independent analysis of a company's business practices designed to identify and address potential disparities in a company's policies and practices affecting Indigenous people and communities of colour.

In response to the announcements, BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch released the following statement:

"Just two years ago, the term 'racial equity audit' was virtually unheard of at Canadian banks. BCGEU and other shareholders have played a vital role in changing that. Both RBC – and now BMO's – commitments today cement racial equity audits as industry best practice. Looking ahead, we hope to see other Canadian companies commit to racial equity audits as they validate a company's commitments and create long term company value".

Sarah Couturier-Tanoh, Associate Director of Corporate Engagement and Advocacy at SHARE which represents the Atkinson Foundation, the Hamilton Community Foundation, the United Church of Canada Pension, and the United Church of Canada Treasury added:

"These new commitments from RBC and BMO are the start of a meaningful process for the banks to address their racial equity risks. We will continue working with Scotiabank to get similar commitments in the near future. This outcome shows the power that long-term shareholders can have through active ownership and constructive engagement."

Tom Powdrill, Director of Stewardship at PIRC which represents the Greater Manchester Pension Fund in the engagement with RBC said:

"Investors in Europe have been increasingly active in support of racial equity audits over the past two years and are now starting to co-file resolutions. We welcome the commitment that RBC has made and look forward to positive outcomes driven by the audit process. We also encourage others to follow the example RBC has set."

In its announcement, RBC committed to a review of both its employment and business practices and will engage a qualified independent auditor quickly with audit work to begin in 2024 and public reporting to be released in 2025. Although BMO has publicly committed to conducting a third-party racial equity audit, the bank's plan and timeline remain unclear.

The proponents stress the need for the audits to address the most significant risks related to racial equity, including Canadian, US, and international businesses, and personal and commercial lending. Further, the full audit results, including the auditor's findings, recommendations and corrective action plan should be publicly available for shareholders to have confidence in the quality and robustness of the audit process.

BCGEU and SHARE first filed racial equity audit shareholder proposals at both companies in 2023. Both earned the support of a plurality of shareholders, with 42% support at RBC and 37% support at BMO. When neither RBC nor BMO initially committed to conducting an audit, investors representing $2 trillion in assets under management wrote to the RBC board in October 2023 requesting RBC conduct a racial equity audit. Similar expectations were conveyed to the Board of Directors at BMO by the BCGEU and SHARE.

For more information contact:

Emma Pullman

Head of Capital Stewardship and ESG, BC General Employees' Union

[email protected]





The B.C. General Employees' Union represents over 85,000 workers in almost every community and economic sector in British Columbia. Under BCGEU's capital stewardship strategy, the union has submitted shareholder proposals at some of Canada's largest companies on topics like human rights, racial equity, and executive compensation. The union's strategy has succeeded in achieving strong commitments on ESG issues.


SHARE is an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing investor leadership for a sustainable, inclusive and productive economy. We do this by supporting our investor networks and amplifying their voices to improve corporate sustainability practices and implement better rules and regulations that govern capital markets. For more information on SHARE, visit


October 16, 2023

Atira workers rally for pay equity, fair contract - BC General Employees' Uni...

Atira workers rally for pay equity, fair contract 

VANCOUVER, B.C. (Coast Salish Territories) – Newly unionized members of the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working at Atira Women's Resource Society (AWRS) will rally in the Downtown Eastside to demand a fair contract that provides the same rights, protections and compensation as thousands of other community health workers. 

AWRS is one of the four largest supportive housing agencies in B.C. along with the Portland Hotel Society (PHS), Lookout Housing + Health Society, and RainCity Housing and Support Society. All but AWRS are currently covered by the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) Community Health sector agreement. Minister of Finance, Katrine Conroy, is expected to make a decision on their inclusion this month. 

It’s essential that the women and gender-diverse workers at AWRS are granted the same recognition and compensation as their peers now, and through all future changes that may affect the sector. 

WHAT : Rally to demand pay equity, inclusion in Community Health sector agreement. BCGEU president Stephanie Smith will speak at 1:05 p.m. followed by Atira workers and BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch will make closing remarks. 

WHEN: Monday, October 16, 2023, 1:00 - 1:25 p.m. PST 

WHERE: Wendy Poole Park, 199 Alexander Street, Vancouver, B.C. 

VISUALS: Atira supportive housing workers and allies in the Downtown Eastside rallying across from Atira’s Vancouver headquarters (190 Alexander) with colourful flags and signs. 

CONTACT : Please send requests for interviews to Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU communications officer by emailing [email protected] or calling 604-291-9611.

As the lead union in the sector, more than 4,000 supportive housing workers are unionized with the BCGEU.   

One of the largest unions in British Columbia, the BCGEU has over 85,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province. 

Backgrounder: Supportive Housing is Health Care Rally 


October 06, 2023

Winter School 2024 Application - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Winter School 2024 will be taking place in-person at Harrison Hot Springs Resort! We are so excited that our communities will be able to come together, to learn and discuss with peers and colleagues at the upcoming Winter School. As we continue to work with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) on updating you with further details, please complete your registration application form to express your interest in attending. Please note, this form does not mean you are registered to attend Winter School. Upon receipt of your registration/application, it will be forwarded to your Component Education Committee for consideration. 

Once your Component has made their decision on who is approved to attend, you will be contacted by our Department to finalize your attendance.

 Please complete by October 30, 2023: Winter School 2024 Application.


September 18, 2023

BCGEU Strongly Denounces Hate-Fueled Anti-Trans Attacks - BC General Employee...

Many of you will have heard about rallies planned across the country this week which look to further anti-trans hate speech.
The B.C General Employees' Union (BCGEU) vehemently condemns the upcoming wave of hate rallies slated to occur under the misleading banner of #1millionmarch4children on September 20.
These rallies represent an alarming assault on the 2SLGBTQI+ community. Our families, children, union members and the very fabric of an inclusive and equitable society are their targets – a unified labour movement is the strongest defense.
These events are just one facet of a broader, disturbing trend of attacks targeting transgender individuals and in particular trans youth. We don't want to give these hateful rallies more publicity than they are due, but we cannot stay silent. 
With the rallies days away, BCGEU resolutely calls upon political leaders to denounce these hate rallies. Public declarations of support for trans youth will serve as a powerful counterforce against the destructive and unfounded narratives peddled by these rallies and a necessary shield for children and trans community members.
Many people are planning to counter-protest these events and our union members are encouraged to demonstrate strength in numbers by attending alongside individuals they know. It's up to all of us to stand shoulder to shoulder in unwavering solidarity and to vehemently oppose acts of hatred and discrimination.
The BCGEU stands in solidarity with trans workers and communities to ensure we safeguard the fundamental right to live in an environment where they feel safe, secure, dignified and protected!
If you need support, you can find resources available to you at:
In solidarity,
Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President