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February 06, 2017

Report reaffirms urgent need for B.C. government to transform Aboriginal chil...

Report reaffirms urgent need for B.C. government to transform Aboriginal child welfare system

BURNABY – A report released today by the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY), Bernard Richard, exposed once again the systemic complexity and dysfunction of B.C.’s Aboriginal child welfare system and the urgent need for reform. The report, Broken Promises: Alex’s Story, details the tragic death of the 18-year-old while in B.C. government care and makes important recommendations with the goal of preventing other children and youth from experiencing a similar fate.

“The RCY has identified multiple failures to provide proper care on the part of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) prior to Gervais’ death,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Gervais was truly adrift within a broken system where he was placed 17 times and had 23 caregivers and social workers throughout his short life – he experienced a complete lack of permanency which as the report points out, is a top priority for child and youth care as called for in the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCS Act).”

Insufficient mental health supports, lack of financial oversight, and a failure to provide culturally appropriate care are also cited in the report. These findings reveal a patchwork system that is largely under-resourced, severely under-staffed, and with no comprehensive plan or strategy in place to properly deliver services in Aboriginal child and family welfare.

“Frontline workers caring for Aboriginal children and youth face these deficiencies on a daily basis and are forced into a situation of triage where only the most critical cases can be attended to” says Doug Kinna, BCGEU vice president Social Information and Health – Component 6. “The provincial government must step up to address unmanageable caseloads, constant staff turnover and provide training and support before another tragedy occurs.”

The report also calls on MCFD to create a robust support model that enables children or youth in care to be placed with extended family or another adult with a positive connection, an annual review of Care Plans to ensure Indigenous children or youth are connected to their Indigenous heritage, and that those with mental health needs receive timely and uninterrupted mental health services – all of which the BCGEU applauds.

Many of the recommendations in the RCY report align with the recommendations the BCGEU proposed in its 2015 report Closing the Circle which called on the B.C. government to make major investments in resources, staffing, and cultural training with better oversight and reporting mechanisms. Click here to download the BCGEU report Closing the Circle.

Click here to read the Representative for Children and Youth’s report Broken Promises: Alex’s Story, released today.

January 26, 2017

Statement on deportation of Arthur Lorenzo Jr.

Today, January 26, 2017 Arthur Lorenzo Jr., a migrant worker who has fought hard for the rights of migrant workers and in the community with LGBTQ refugees is going to be deported for his activism. 

Arthur raised the issues of the exploitative working conditions as restaurant worker.  

After standing up for his rights, which resulted in his employer’s permit being temporarily suspended, Arthur is to face deportation today.  

It is people like Arthur that we need in our society to bring change and awareness about the conditions that migrant workers face as well as other workers like the thousands of temporary foreign workers that come to Canada every day.  

We urge all of our members to show your solidarity with Arthur by emailing Minister Ralph Goodale and ask that he stop the deportation of Arthur Lorenzo Jr.

Please click the link to send your message to the Minister Goodale.




January 19, 2017

$10-a-day child care would boost B.C. economy in 3 years, report suggests

A $10-a-day child care plan in B.C. would start paying itself off in three years, according to a new report.



January 13, 2017

Chilliwack volunteers sought for ambitious project to interview every senior ...

Older people living in long-term care homes are often overlooked, forgotten behind the walls.

An ambitious project taken on by the province's Office of the Seniors Advocate aims to change that by interviewing all 27,000 residents in 303 care homes across the province.


January 10, 2017

Metro Vancouver seniors' care workers face more struggles with icy streets

Volunteers and homecare workers are bracing for another tough week caring for the city's homebound seniors as temperatures are predicted to drop again Monday night.



January 10, 2017

Icy road conditions are posing a danger to home care workers

BURNABY (NEWS1130) - Worries about injuries to homecare workers have increased dramatically in the past month as a result of icy road conditions.


January 10, 2017

Convention 2017: Guidelines for FT Officer and Exec VP Candidates' Election C...

1. No funds or assistance in kind will be contributed from the Union, Components, Locals or Cross Component Committees other than that specified in the guidelines. There will be no Component hospitality suites during Convention.

2. Declared candidates will have an opportunity to have a picture and a personal statement of no more than 1,000 words in a special election issue of The Provincial. Declared candidates will have an opportunity to have a picture and a personal statement of no more than 1,000 words on the BCGEU website. Appropriate notices to potential candidates will be announced in The Provincial and on the website. Information regarding how members declare their candidacy, as well as the guidelines in this policy, will be provided to members on the website and in the last issue of The Provincial in the year preceding the Constitutional Convention and again in the March issue of the Convention year.

NOTE: Deadline for submission of biography and high resolution head and shoulders photo: Friday, February 24, 2017. Please email to: [email protected]

3. Following The Provincial deadline as set for the personal statements by candidates for either full-time Officer, or for the Executive Vice President positions, the President will notify the Provincial Executive and the Cross Component Committee Chairs of the declared candidates and the offices they seek. Within ten days of that notice, the date for webcast(s) will be announced by Union Headquarters to include declared candidates for full-time Officer and Executive Vice-President positions. The webcast(s) will be chaired by a person agreed to by all candidates. Leave of absence and travel expenses for declared candidates only will be paid by Union Headquarters. Administrative assistance for the scheduling and conduct of the all-candidates' webcast(s) will be provided by the Union.

4. If Components wish to invite declared candidates for full-time Officer and Executive Vice-President positions to address a Component Executive meeting, or a Component caucus at Convention, they must invite all candidates who have declared their candidacy for the same position in the Provincial candidate statement issue, and pay related expenses.

5. Local Executive and convention delegates' mailing addresses, telephone and email addresses will be given to candidates for the exclusive purpose of the election campaign and candidates will be asked to sign a statement to that effect.

6. Photocopying at BCGEU offices will be available for candidates to a maximum of 2,000 copies, double-sided in black and white. Copying will be done by Union support staff. Envelopes, labels and postage will be provided by the Union for one all-delegate mailing by the candidate. If the candidate desires, support staff may run the envelopes through the Union’s postage meter. Such requests, as well as requests for photocopying, will be made through a servicing staff representative.

7. Campaign expenditures by each candidate are not to exceed $2,250 in cash or in-kind contributions (value of material goods provided), in addition to those provided for in points 3, and 6. All claims must be receipted. In-kind contributions are counted as expenses and must be accompanied by a statement confirming fair market value. Candidates shall be reimbursed for $750 of the $2,250 maximum expenditure.

8. No money is to be solicited or accepted from outside organizations or any sources external to the Union.

9. Within sixty (60) days after the Convention, a statement of campaign expenditures will be submitted by each candidate to the Provincial Executive. Candidates will be asked to use the electronic form available from the Finance Department.

10. There shall be no staff involvement in the political process. If there are any allegations of staff interference, the complaint should be made in writing to the President who will initiate due process and take action if warranted. Elected members shall not initiate involvement of staff in the political process. Should staff have complaints, they shall make them in writing to the appropriate Director who will refer them to the President for due process and action if warranted. Staff will be advised by the President of each candidate at the time that they announce their candidacy.

11. No candidate shall produce or make statements that will bring disrepute on the Union, other candidates or its members.

12. Campaigns will be kept internal and candidates will not seek out the media as a means of communicating with the membership or have the media present at all candidate meetings, nor will outside endorsements be permitted for a specific position.

13. During Convention, the following rules will apply:
(a) No posters in the hall will be permitted. Posters to be posted outside the hall will be dealt with by the Sergeant-at-Arms Committee.
(b) Buttons and leaflets must be distributed outside the hall.
(c) Equipment will be provided for candidates by Union Headquarters for display of electronic campaign material outside the hall.
(d) Honoured guests as appointed by the President will form the balloting committee.
(e) Each candidate can appoint up to two (2) scrutineers for the ballot count.
(f) The President will request an honoured guest or life member to chair the elections.
(g) Candidates will have a total of five (5) minutes to address voting delegates from the Convention stage. Nominators will speak from the floor and limit their remarks to nominate their candidate. Should the candidate wish their nominator to speak for them, the nominator will have the opportunity to do so later, after the nomination is accepted, from the Convention stage.

14. Any campaign materials that are accessible by the general public (e.g. websites) or produced for distribution at Convention, must include the following statement: “This is a publication of (name), candidate for office at the BCGEU convention. It is not an official publication of the BCGEU. Views expressed are those of the candidate”. No campaign materials will use the BCGEU logo.

15. A candidate workshop will be provided for declared candidates prior to the candidate webcast(s).

Download pdf version of the guidelines

December 16, 2016

Government’s announcement to ban asbestos: Groups express support but asbesto...

Immediate Release                                                                        December 15, 2016

Toronto – The federal government’s announcement to ban asbestos has been highly anticipated over the past few days. Groups expressed its support to the announcement but notes their expectation for additional federal work needed to fully achieve protection from asbestos for all Canadians.

“The federal announcement to ban asbestos in Canada comes at a crucial time as the health data confirms that deaths from asbestos related diseases has continued to increase in Canada” states Fe de Leon, Researcher at the Canadian Environmental Law Association. 

“This news is important if Canada is to achieve comprehensive protection from asbestos exposure,” explains Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association. ‘We look forward to working with the government to ensure the remaining challenges associated with asbestos are addressed.”

“The federal government’s decision to ban asbestos is welcome news for CAUT members and other workers exposed to asbestos in their workplaces”, says David Robinson, Executive Director at the Canadian Association of University Teachers.  “However, there are still many other issues regarding asbestos that need to be addressed, and CAUT looks forward to working with our partners to ensure this work is addressed by the government.”

The announcement of the ban is significant to protect the health of Canadians, particularly in the occupational setting.  According to Statistics Canada, the number of new cases of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in the workplace, increased from 335 cases in 2000 to 580 cases in 2013. Some other asbestos-induced diseases include lung cancers and asbestosis (with estimates of at least 1900 new cases annually).

The Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two of 68 signatories on a letter addressed to the Prime Minister urging a ban on asbestos and the establishment of an expert panel review on asbestos. 

See letter to the Prime Minister at


Canadian Environmental Law Association website: