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February 20, 2020

Lateral Transfers to Cannabis, deadline extended to August 1 - BCGEU

Your union has successfully appealed to the employer to extend the deadline for lateral transfers to cannabis, as per the Memorandum of Understanding explained below. The new deadline is July 31, 2020. There will be no further extensions to the process beyond this date.

The Cannabis Implementation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as agreed to as part of negotiations for the 18th Main Collective Agreement, allows current regular and regular part-time employees to laterally transfer from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to the new BC Cannabis Distribution and Retail Stores operations for the purposes of start-up and implementation. Given that implementation of the new cannabis operation has been unexpectedly slow, particularly in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley where the majority of Component 5 members work, there have been fewer opportunities for transfers than originally anticipated. The extended timeline will help ensure members can benefit from the MOU.

Employees wanting to express interest in a lateral transfer per the MOU must complete a cannabis lateral request form and email the form and their resume to

In solidarity,

Kusam Doal, Component 5 Vice President



February 18, 2020

BCGEU applauds increased tax fairness and investments in programs, infrastruc...

Victoria, B.C. – The BCGEU is applauding the government's continued and new investments in core programs, infrastructure and improving affordability for British Columbians. But the union representing tens of thousands of workers in direct government and the broader public service is highlighting the critical role of staff in the province's success moving forward.

"After 16 years of devastating cuts under the previous government, and compared to what's happening in other provinces across Canada right now, this budget is good news," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "From continued investments in child care, affordability and poverty reduction; to a new income tax bracket for top earners and new investments in infrastructure; there's a lot to celebrate." 

The BCGEU consulted with members across the province to inform their submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. That consultation revealed that workload, recruitment and retention, burnout, and occupational health and safety-all due to under-staffing-remain critical challenges for workers in practically every ministry and sector from community social services and residential care, to social work, corrections and court services.

"Services and programs are important," said Smith. "But it's equally important to have a human resources strategy in place to support the people that deliver those programs and services. Simply put: without our members, none of this works."

The BCGEU is one of the largest and fastest growing unions in B.C. with more than 80,000 members working in almost every community and economic sector in the province.

For more information contact BCGEU Communications:


February 14, 2020

Wet’suwet’en protests at worksites – information for members - BCGEU

Over the last week we have seen protests in support of the Wet'suwet'en people take place around the province, across the country, and around the world. These protests continue to escalate around the province.

While we support the rights of protest guaranteed by the Charter, we are not affiliated with these protests. The safety and well-being of our members is of paramount importance.

Here's what you need to know if you encounter a protest at your worksite 

  • Under their collective agreement and the Charter, members have the right not to cross a picket line. 
  • Members have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you have any concerns about this, please contact your steward or area office.
  • Members should not confront protestors or place themselves at any risk.
  • Members who encounter picket lines at their worksite should immediately contact their steward or area office for accurate information about how to proceed.
  • Should picket lines go up, your union will not likely be in a position to determine their legality at that time. However, picket lines should be assumed to be legal unless we are informed otherwise.
  • The BCGEU Provincial Executive has approved picket pay for members who are unable to attend work due to a picket line at their worksite if they are not paid by their employer. 
  • In the event that you are unable to work due to protests at your worksite and are not being paid by your employer for missed hours, please complete this online form to apply for picket pay:

I want to thank all of you who have contacted me, Paul or any other BCGEU member to seek advice. It's critical that members are fully informed when deciding how to act and react during these protests and your union is here to help!

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith


February 09, 2020

BCGEU statement on Wet’suwet’en events - February 9 - BCGEU

The BCGEU continues to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict on Wet’suwet’en territory.

As a trade union committed to supporting the full implementation of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the BCGEU is deeply troubled by the current and ongoing events on Wet’suwet’en territory including the use of exclusion zones, forceful removal of land defenders, and threats to journalists.

Further escalations threaten to unravel progress towards reconciliation. We urge the RCMP to withdraw and ask for all parties to resume talks to reach a negotiated settlement.

February 05, 2020

Independent advocate re-affirms our union's call to bring seniors’ care back ...

This week B.C.'s independent Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) published the first ever provincial review of the $1.4 billion-dollar contracted long-term care sector in British Columbia, A Billion Reasons to Care.

Overall, the OSA confirms what our union has been saying for years: the contracted long-term care sector lacks accountability and transparency in funding and monitoring and fails to meet the needs of seniors and their families.

In the report, the OSA also outlines how the system got to its current state. Prior to 1999 only 23 per cent of beds in long-term care were operated by for-profit companies. The rest were operated by non-profit societies and health authorities. In the two decades that followed, the sector shifted significantly towards the for-profit model due largely to legislation enacted by the BC Liberals. The previous government's legislation led to the deterioration of working conditions for health and social-sector workers by stripping workplace protections and rights and enabling contract-flipping which created a race to the bottom in terms of wages. Fortunately the BC NDP repealed these laws in late 2018, but the damage will take years to undo and leaves us where we are today – with staffing crises and care facilities under health authority administration as we have seen in Comox, Nanaimo and Victoria.

Among the report's specific findings:

  • for-profit operations generate millions in profits but fall short on the number of direct care hours they are funded to deliver, to the tune of 207,000 hours over a two-year period.
  • staff in the for-profit system are underpaid by as much as 28 per cent or $6.63 less per hour than the industry standard. 

The OSA makes five recommendations to address the problems it identifies:

  1. Funding for direct care must be spent on direct care.
  2. Monitoring for compliance with funded care hours must be more accurate.
  3. Contract agencies must clearly define their profit in their reporting.
  4. Standardize reporting for all care homes throughout B.C.
  5. Revenues and expenditures for publicly funded care homes should be available to the public.

Our union commends the OSA for providing this critical and long-overdue insight into the contract long-term care system and supports all five recommendations. However, while these measures would certainly bring improvement to a sector so lacking in regulation, we believe our province must go further to remove the profit motive from seniors' care altogether.

It's time to restore seniors' care in B.C. by putting people before profits and bringing the sector back under government as a public service. Only then will we have a long-term solution that supports our dedicated workforce with good wages and benefits to deliver the standard of care B.C.'s seniors deserve.

The BCGEU represents over 8,000 members in seniors care with 3,000 working in residential care facilities.

Read the report here:


February 04, 2020

Kelowna Area Office Closure – Feb 4 - BCGEU

Due to inclement weather, the Kelowna Area Office has closed for the remainder of Tuesday, February 4. The office plans to reopen, February 5, at 8:30am.

If you are a BCGEU member in the Okanagan (Area 07) and need emergency support at your worksite, please contact your union steward.

Facilities related emergencies at the site can be directed to Ryan Schmid at 778-870-7877.


January 20, 2020

BCGEU Office Closures – Jan 20th - BCGEU

Due to inclement weather, the Terrace Area office will be closed on Monday, January 20.

The office plans to reopen Tuesday, January 21, at 8:30am.

If you are a BCGEU member in area 12 and need emergency support at your worksite, please contact your union steward.

Facilities related emergencies in Terrace can be directed to Ryan Schmid at 778-870-7877.

January 17, 2020

New Prince Rupert labour history walking tour available - BCGEU

The BC Labour Heritage Centre is pleased to inform BCGEU members that a new Prince Rupert Labour History Walking Tour has recently been added to our BC Labour History Walking Tours mobile app. 

This tour explores over a century of union organizing, struggles and victories for fishermen, shoreworkers, longshore, the IWW, the Battle of Kelly's Cut, civic politics and colourful labour characters on the North Coast. 

The app is only available for download in Canada and is completely free. Visit the Google Play or Apple Store. Once you have installed the app on your smartphone or tablet, you will need to download a route in order to view it - we encourage doing this on Wi-Fi before you leave home to avoid mobile data usage. You can also explore content from the comfort of your own home.

Click here to learn more about the BC Labour Heritage Centre's walking tours.


January 16, 2020

ICBC fleet-insured vehicles policy change - BCGEU

ICBC agrees to change potentially devastating policy on personal insurance impacts of accidents in fleet-insured vehicles

In Fall 2019, ICBC announced a policy change that would have meant that commercial drivers found at fault for accidents in work vehicles would potentially pay more for their personal insurance.

"Our union immediately understood that the original policy was completely unfair and would have potentially devastating impacts on BCGEU members and tens of thousands of other working British Columbians who operate vehicles as part of their job," said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. "We raised those concerns with the BC Public Service Agency and were impressed with their willingness to work with us to protect our members' interests."

As a result of the efforts of the BCGEU and other advocates inside and outside B.C.'s labour movement, ICBC changed the policy: at-fault crashes in a fleet vehicle have no impact on the driver's personal policy or any other policies where they're listed as a driver. The employer has also confirmed that at-fault crashes while driving B.C. government fleet vehicles will not impact an individual's private insurance rates.

"The BCGEU understands and supports the ongoing work to put ICBC on solid footing," said Smith. "Given that context, we are extremely pleased with ICBC's decision to protect workers by changing this policy. And, on behalf of every BCGEU member who would have born the brunt of the original policy, I'm extremely grateful to the BCGEU members and staff who did the legwork to get this done."

Read more about the changes here.

In solidarity,


Stephanie Smith

Mike Eso
Staff Representative