B.C.'S UNION SINCE 1919

NEWS

May 30, 2016

OHS Representatives in the province right to refuse unsafe work

Recent incidents at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam have highlighted the need for workers to be made aware of their rights and duties under the Worker’s Compensation Act in carrying out their work.

On May 23, BCGEU members were injured while transporting a patient from the Royal Columbian Hospital back to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. A preliminary investigation has been conducted and temporary measures put in place until the full investigation is completed.

The BCGEU believes that had the workers been made aware of their rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act, this incident could have been prevented. Workers have a “right to refuse unsafe work”. It’s a step by step process that brings in a WorkSafeBC Board Officer to the work site if the employer and worker can’t agree on how to address a safety issue. Remember, the employer cannot take action against you if you properly follow the process when exercising your right to refuse unsafe work as per Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and Part 3, Division 6 of the Workers Compensation Act.

The BCGEU will continue to monitor the most recent incident at Forensic Psychiatric to ensure these workers receive the support they need.  But we will also be supporting your workplace OHS Committee in their efforts to ensure the employer fulfills its responsibility for ensuring workers have the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to stay healthy and safe on the job. 

We know workers at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital experience a higher rate of injury from violence than at other health facilities. A WorkSafeBC Board Officer inspection Report noted, “the employer’s current injury rate is 3% higher than that of other acute hospitals, with 47% of the employer’s injuries resulting from violence”. Clearly, there is a need for improvement at this worksite.

On May 24, our Occupational Health and Safety Officer delivered training sessions that specifically instructed members on how to invoke their “right to refuse unsafe work” as per Section 3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. We are prepared to offer additional training sessions as needed.

The BCGEU has also created a new pocket card to guide workers, step by step, through the process of refusing unsafe work. Contact information for WCB and the BCGEU is included on this card so you can access extra support. Click on the link below to print off a PDF of the pocket card or contact us if you would like cards mailed to you.

If you have any questions, contact us at ohs@bcgeu.ca  604-291-9611 or toll free at 1-800-663-1674                 

            Click here for PDF of pocket card

Sherry Ogasawara      Vice President, Health Services

Sean Antrim              Staff Representative

Wendy Mah               Occupational Health and Safety Officer

May 27, 2016

2016 BCGEU Scholarship Winners

Shaelyn Ann Loise Blatta, West Kelowna

Flora Copley, Barriere

Ruth Dyck, Williams Lake

Haven Evans, Prince George

Elisabeth Hill, Port Alberni

Ramona Jones, White Rock

Isaiah Joseph, Langford

Pamela Lozano Fernandez, Chilliwack

Kayla MacKay, Victoria

Tessa Milic, Delta

Sarah Osborne, Victoria

Tenysha Ross-Van Mierlo, Castlegar

Lindsay Russell, Port Moody

Jaya Scott, Victoria

Jordan Tarchuk, Surrey

Gary Wong, Burnaby

*Winners will receive a letter with instructions on how to claim their award.

Please check back in the fall for information on the 2017 Scholarship Award Program.

May 20, 2016

The National Union's scholarship program for 2016

Four awards of $1,500 are given each year to children of NUPGE, including BCGEU, members. The deadline for applications is July 6, 2016.

Each year, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) offers four scholarships that reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for all workers. They are open to the children, grandchildren or foster children of the National Union’s 360,000 members who are starting a post-secondary education. Some scholarships may have additional requirements, as noted below.

The Tommy Douglas Scholarship for $1,500 is open to all students who plan to enter the first year of a Canadian public post-secondary education institution full-time in 2016 - 2017 and who are the children, grandchildren or foster children of a NUPGE member. It will be awarded for the best 750 — 1,000 word essay on: How Tommy Douglas contributed to making Canada a more just and equitable society.

               Information and application for Tommy Douglas Scholarship available here.

The Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship for $1,500 is open to all students with disabilities who plan to enter the first year of a Canadian public post-secondary education institution full-time in 2016 — 2017 and who are the children, grandchildren or foster children of a member of NUPGE. It will be awarded for the best 750 — 1,000 word essay on: The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of people with disabilities.

               Information and application for the Terry Fox Memorial Scholarship available here.

The Scholarship for Aboriginal Canadians for $1,500 is open to all Aboriginal Canadian students who plan to enter the first year of a Canadian public post-secondary education institution full-time in 2016 — 2017 and who are the children, grandchildren or foster children of a NUPGE member. It will be awarded for the best 750 — 1,000 word essay on: The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of Aboriginal Canadians.

               Information and appliction for the Scholarship for Aboriginal Canadians available here.

The Scholarship for Visible Minorities for $1,500 is open to all visible minority students who plan to enter the first year of a Canadian public post-secondary education full-time in 2016 — 2017 and who are the children, grandchildren or foster children of a National Union of Public and General Employees member. It will be awarded for the best 750 — 1,000 word essay on: The importance of quality public services in enhancing the quality of life of visible minorities.

               Information and application for the Scholarship for Visible Minorities available here.

Download a notice about the scholarships for posting in your work place here.

For further information please phone (613) 228-9800 /  or email scholarship@nupge.ca

May 20, 2016

Free pensions webinars

Learn more about pensions in a webinar series offered by NUPGE, our national union.

 

Capital stewardship

Friday, June 10

10.00 am (11.00 am Mountain Daylight Time)

Pension assets in Canada now exceed $1 trillion. The way this money is invested has significant impacts on retirement security, the wider economy, and the welfare of society. It can also affect the jobs of NUPGE members and other public sector workers. This session will examine the growing role of social, environmental, and governance factors in pension plan investment. NUPGE policies and practices related to the responsible stewardship of pension assets will be described.

Register for free here.

Watch these previous pensions webinars on the NUPGE YouTube channel:

  • Overview of Canada’s retirement system
  • Plan funding and the role of the actuary
  • Pension investment
  • Pension law

May 18, 2016

The BCGEU is proud to announce the following winners of a 2016 BCGEU Scholars...

Shaelyn Ann Loise Blatta, West Kelowna

Flora Copley, Barriere

Ruth Dyck, Williams Lake

Haven Evans, Prince George

Elisabeth Hill, Port Alberni

Ramona Jones, White Rock

Isaiah Joseph, Langford

Pamela Lozano Fernandez, Chilliwack

Kayla MacKay, Victoria

Tessa Milic, Delta

Sarah Osborne, Victoria

Tenysha Ross-Van Mierlo, Castlegar

Lindsay Russell, Port Moody

Jaya Scott, Victoria

Jordan Tarchuk, Surrey

Gary Wong, Burnaby

*Winners will receive a letter with instructions on how to claim their award.

Please check back in the fall for information on the 2017 Scholarship Award Program

May 16, 2016

All members in Haida Gwaii - Pension Seminar

What's New With Pensions?:  Your pension, Your plan, plus CPP, OAS and GIS

A BCGEU pension specialist will begin with an explanation on the differences between a defined benefit pension and a defined contribution pension plan – do you  know what type your plan is?  Learn the differences in predicting retirement income under the different arrangements and why this is important.

You will then be given an overview of the various public sector (MPP, PSPP and College) pension plans BCGEU members are in.

In addition there will be an update on the changes to the three basic government programs that are currently underway for the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

See how it all ties together to provide you with a more financially secure retirement.

 Please complete the attached registration form and return it by June 6, 2016.

Kim Shelley

Staff Representative  

UNIFOR467/MoveUP

May 13, 2016

Government Members on Haida Gwaii pension seminar

What's New With Pensions?:  Your pension, Your plan, plus CPP, OAS and GIS

A BCGEU pension specialist will begin with an explanation on the differences between a defined benefit pension and a defined contribution pension plan – do you  know what type your plan is?  Learn the differences in predicting retirement income under the different arrangements and why this is important. 

You will then be given an overview of the various public sector (MPP, PSPP and College) pension plans BCGEU members are in. 

In addition there will be an update on the changes to the three basic government programs that are currently underway for the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. 

See how it all ties together to provide you with a more financially secure retirement. 

As this is during typical work hours you will required to have approval to attend from your supervisor or manager.  Please complete the attached registration form and return it by June 6, 2016.

Kim Shelley 
Staff Representative  

UNIFOR467/MoveUP

May 04, 2016

BCGEU president’s statement re: Fort McMurray wildfire & $50k donation

NEW: The BCGEU has made a $50,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross towards relief efforts.

Like you, I’ve been watching the images and video footage from wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta. It’s heartbreaking to see. The lives of those affected have been changed forever.

We know some of our BCGEU members have loved ones and friends who’ve been impacted by the evacuation of a staggering 80,000 area residents. Our thoughts are with you. We hope everyone stays safe.

The BCGEU represents forest firefighters in B.C. who’ve been busy fighting fires recently in the northeast. It’s risky, dangerous work. It takes people away from loved ones for long periods. We understand the sacrifice firefighters everywhere make to bring fires under control and we thank you.

Today, as I watch rain fall outside my office window at BCGEU HQ, I wish for a return to cooler and wetter weather conditions in Fort McMurray. Let’s hope this tragic situation turns around soon.

 

--Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president

 

 

May 02, 2016

BC Federation of Labour "Stress in the Workplace" Course

The “Understanding and Preventing Stress in the Workplace” course will be offered at the Castlegar area office on Friday June 3, 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. This course will be facilitated by a BC Federation of Labour Health and Safety Centre facilitator. This course is designed to help identify stressors such as job demands, job control, lack of support, organization styles, bullying and lack of work / life balance. All these factors can cause workplace stress and worker burnout. You will learn how your work on the Joint OHS committee can help the employer to develop prevention strategies to reduce worker stress.

Your employer must pay for you to take at least 8 hours of annual Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) education. You must apply for this training through your employer and the cost of this training is $115 per person. Employer OHS representatives are invited to register but will only be accepted if there is space. The maximum registration is 24. A pre- requisite for this course is the BCGEU 1 day Basic OHS (Labour Code) or 2 Day Basic Government OHS training.

If you have already taken your 8 hours of annual training, the OHS department will consider sponsoring you to take this training. Please indicate your need for this sponsorship when you register through your area office. The area office will then confirm the funding with the OHS department.  

Call the Castlegar area office at 250.365-9979 to register and to provide your leave requirements and dietary restrictions.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your ability to advocate for worker’s health and safety rights and to enable you to reduce worker stress at your worksite – register today! 

If you have any questions, please contact your area office or email ohs@bcgeu.ca

Download PDF of notice here.

UNIFOR467/MoveUP