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December 12, 2016

BCGEU sends solidarity message to jailed Iranian trade unionists

As part of our ongoing support of the Free Them Now campaign to support jailed Iranian trade union members, the BCGEU Provincial Executive recorded a message of solidarity that was sent directly to jailed activists. The campaign received messages of solidarity from many unions around the world, and they have been compiled into a video. Watch the full video below. 

December 09, 2016

International Human Rights Day: Human rights are everyone’s rights, everywhere

Today we recognize International Human Rights Day.  Every December 10th since 1948, people have stood in solidarity against human rights violations in all forms.

In Canada we are fortunate to be living in a country where we have a legislated Human Rights Code and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is built into our constitution. 

Much of the world sees us as a country that defends human rights, but let us remind ourselves that it is due to each and every person who values human rights that we are able to create the society we live in which is envied around the world. 

As Canadians it is important that we do not take those rights and protections for granted and to take steps to ensure that these rights do not become diminished or restricted but instead strengthened.  

The BCGEU has and will continue to defend human rights for everyone.  We all live in this world together and we all must treat each other with respect, understanding and with equality. 

We must continue to hold governments around the world, including our own various levels of government, accountable for their actions and or lack of action. 

We must commit to defend the rights of immigrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, indigenous peoples, everyone who is vulnerable or at risk of discrimination, racism, violence, or any form of violation against a person’s human rights. 

 “It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity.”
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein -- 
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

If you are a member of an equity seeking group*, the BCGEU would like to encourage you to click here and join our Equity and Human Rights network.             

We also encourage you to visit the webpage for our International Solidarity committee which supports workers around the world.

*Equity seeking groups include: workers of colour, Aboriginal workers, workers with disabilities or LGBTQ workers.

December 06, 2016

December 6: Never forget

It’s hard to believe, but 27 years have passed since 14 young women were slain at the École Polytechnique, an event also known as the Montreal Massacre. It remains one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.

In 1991, the Parliament of Canada established December 6, the anniversary of the devastating event, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. Each year on this day we honour the 14 young women whose lives were tragically cut short in an act of gender-based violence.

Take a moment to remember the victims of the École Polytechnique, each of whom were singled out and murdered just because they were women.

It is not only a day to remember and mourn the victims of École Polytechnique, but it is also a day to reflect that gender-based violence and oppression is a daily reality for many women and girls. The brutal truth is that violence against women and girls is still pervasive throughout Canada, disproportionally impacting Aboriginal women, trans women, and women of colour. According to Statistics Canada, approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. The statistics are even more grim for Canada’s Aboriginal women: they are killed at six times the rate of non-Aboriginal women.

Violence against women has a devastating impact on women’s lives and on our society. We, as individuals and within our communities, must continue to work towards eliminating all forms of violence against women.

See below for a list of useful online resources and for events across the province.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
Chair, BCGEU Women’s Committee
President, BCGEU


  • PovNet has a listing of resources for women throughout BC: 
  • The Ending Violence Association of BC has programs targeting different areas
  • Women Against Violence Against Women offers many ways to volunteer
  • Native Women's Association of Canada for links to aboriginal resources:
  • Battered Women's Support Services has an extensive listing of services and volunteer opportunities: 


Click here for a comprehensive list of events in communities across BC.

December 03, 2016

Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Today we are proud to recognize the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities.   

This day was created to bring awareness and understanding and to take action to further the rights of persons with disabilities both legally and in society. 

Even though we have a come a long way in Canada there remains much more to do to achieve the equity in our society. 

The United Nations's theme for this year is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”.  Based on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 goals aim to help individuals and organizations identify easy ways they can make a difference. Click here for more information on the United Nations Sustainable Development agenda 

To join the BCGEU Equity and Human Rights network for workers with disabilities or one of our other equity networks please visit our campaign page.

November 29, 2016

OSH Appointment Process Deadline

D-day is here!!


On November 30th the names of over 2800 designated Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) representatives will disappear from the BCGEU database. Locals should ensure their confirmed choices for new or reappointed OHS representatives are submitted to their area offices before this date. If OHS appointments are not completed for each worksite, OSH representatives will not have the ability to attend committee meetings or to qualify for OHS education and training. More importantly, the BCGEU’s ability to represent our members in the protection of their health and safety will be seriously impacted.


  • Previous OHS representatives, please contact your local chair immediately if you have not communicated your intention to be reappointed.
  • Members who are interested in becoming an OHS representative, please contact your local chair immediately to be considered for appointment.
  • Local chairs, if you have already completed your OHS appointment process thank you very much. If you have not completed the OHS appointment process, we urge you to give this your immediate attention.


If you have any questions or concerns or need help please contact your area office or the BCGEU OHS Department at [email protected].


Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to health and safety at the BCGEU.



Download PDF of notice here



November 25, 2016

BCGEU supports trade unionists in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Early in October, Haiti was hit by Hurricane Matthew, causing more damage to an island still recovering from the earthquake of 2010. As part of the Public Services International (PSI) relief campaign, the BCGEU sent a contribution to help with community rebuilding. The relief will go to trade union members and their families directly. For more information on the campaign, visit the PSI Hurricane Matthew website

November 14, 2016

Union, B.C. private liquor stores push for pot to be sold in their stores

Recreational pot could be coming to a public or private liquor store near you. Read more...

November 11, 2016

Your sacrifice shall not be forgotten - Remembrance Day 2016

Today we honor and reflect on the sacrifice that those in our armed forces have made to protect our country and the freedoms we all enjoy.  We also must not forget the sacrifices made by men and women in our armed forces in protecting other countries. 

Remembrance Day commemorates the anniversary of the end of World War I.  Since then Canada has been involved in many conflicts and peacekeeping missions around the world and continues to be involved in military interventions in the middle east. 

Our service men and women play a role in not only protecting Canada but also other countries. 

In recent years there has been increased awareness about the less obvious effects that time in conflict can have on those who serve: those of mental and emotional distress.

In a recent interview, retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire touched on how he once avoided Remembrance Day “like the plague” due to the atrocities witnessed during his service.

Mr. Dallaire encourages all Canadians to acknowledge the sacrifices made by our armed forces and to express thanks for their service, but to also know that the day brings about difficult emotions for many of those we honour.

“It is a fundamental duty of the citizenry to feel that pride.  And to express it,” said Dallaire. “To express it by being there, to express it by buying poppy, to express by shaking the hands of a vet or serving soldier. Actually stopping somebody in uniform on the street and thanking them”

Today the BCGEU extends gratitude and thanks to all those who have served in Canada’s military and to those who are currently serving.

Your sacrifice shall not be forgotten.

November 10, 2016

A victory for students, teachers and public education in B.C.

On behalf of the 70,000 workers of the BCGEU, and as a parent myself, I want to congratulate the BC Teachers' Federation on their courage and determination in standing up for the children of this province. The BCTF was right to push back on the provincial government's attempts to decide by themselves what a classroom looks like. It's great news that the BCTF finally won the right to include class size and composition in their collective bargaining.

Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions, and by insisting that teachers have a say in class size and composition at the bargaining table, the BCTF has ensured the best outcomes for our kids. Teachers are in their classrooms every single day because they care, and they are best placed to know what's good for their students.

In their decision, the courts also reaffirmed the constitutional right of all Canadians to strike and have a fair collective bargaining process – things that impact all unionized workers across the country. This decision strengthens our rights to stand strong in solidarity with other workers.

Well done, BCTF!

- Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president