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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 [email protected]

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

March 31, 2017

The BCGEU invites members to celebrate the life of John Shields alongside his...

It is with a heavy heart that the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) staff and members learned of the passing of former BCGEU president John Shields on March 24. Shields served seven, two-year terms as BCGEU president between 1984 and 1999. For decades he was a champion of labour rights and his legacy can be found in every workplace in B.C. —in the improved working conditions, benefits and wages that were achieved during his time leading the BCGEU.


If you were not able to attend an event, but want to offer thoughts, or share memories of John Shields you can send an email to [email protected] or sign the memorial books at BCGEU Headquarters at 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C.


Local 467/MoveUP

March 27, 2017

The BCGEU applauds government building asbestos inventory, a step towards pro...

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union is encouraged by steps the B.C. government is taking to complete a provincial inventory of asbestos in provincial government buildings built before 1990. This is a significant step in ensuring worker safety during construction, maintenance and renovation of government buildings, and an important step ahead of the promised ban on asbestos by the federal government in 2018.

Asbestos exposure and related diseases are the leading cause of worker deaths in B.C. according to WorkSafe BC (WCB). In fact, according to WCB, deaths linked to asbestos exposure represented 44 per cent of all accepted work-related deaths in 2016. That is why these steps to protect worker health are so important.

“It is unacceptable that workers are still being unknowingly exposed to asbestos in 2017,” said Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU. “We have known about its deadly effects since the 1980’s. It is time for the government to move forward with this provincial inventory of asbestos in government buildings.”

Last fall, Public Services and Procurement Canada launched a national online inventory of asbestos in buildings owned or leased by the federal agency, and it is expected other federal agencies will follow suit. Many groups, including the BCGEU, have been calling for the provincial government to take similar steps for years.

In BC, this inventory will cover 758 buildings, of which 451 are buildings leased by the province. The size of this project means the inventory could take up to four years to complete.

While BCGEU members are heartened by the announcement of the inventory, more needs to be done to protect workers’ health. Stronger legislation and enforcement is needed to ensure workers are not being exposed to asbestos without their knowledge and without proper equipment and training to protect their health and safety.


Quick Facts:

  • Asbestos was declared a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1987
  • According to WCB asbestos exposure has led to over 600 accepted worker related deaths between 2005 and 2016
  • According to WCB asbestos related deaths accounted for 75% of all occupational disease deaths and about 44% of all accepted deaths in 2016
  • Breathing of asbestos fibres can lead to health problems that include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer), and pleural thickening (a lung disease)



WorkSafe BC - Asbestos

WorkSafe BC - Asbestos: Be Aware program resources



Local 467/MoveUP