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August 09, 2019

Government includes BCGEU recommendations in Budget 2020 report

Last month our union participated in the public consultation to offer input into next year's budget by submitting recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services (more on this here). The Committee has now reported out on the results of this process and we are pleased to let you know that government listened to many of our positions and put a number of them into their recommendations released this week in Report on the Budget 2020 Consultation.

Some key recommendations that closely align with the BCGEU's submission include:

  • Continuing to make comprehensive investments in child care to improve access and affordability.
  • Ensuring investments in the continuum of services for mental health and addiction needs, including funding for integrated, wrap-around support services with housing.
  • Ensuring stable, quality care in residential care facilities by reviewing and establishing minimum staffing levels, equalizing compensation, reviewing sub-contracting of care and services, and addressing recruitment and retention challenges.
  • Ensuring adequate funding and staffing for the Employment Standards Branch and Labour Relations Board to enable them to effectively enforce employment law.
  • Continued investment in prevention, mitigation, adaptation, response and recovery for wildfire, flood and climate-related natural disasters, with an emphasis on cooperating, collaborating and partnering with local and Indigenous communities.
  • Increasing operational funding for BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC to support staffing, monitoring and enforcement, maintenance, public safety, and recreational infrastructure and services.
  • Fully funding and supporting the CleanBC strategy and increasing investments in shifting to clean and renewable energy, including expanding electrification for energy use.

Our union is disappointed to see that our call for accelerated and expanded investment in affordable housing, and our call for improved staffing ratios and safety measures in the corrections sector were not included. However, we will continue to lobby government and increase public pressure in regard to these and other issues that are important to BCGEU members.

We hope to see the above recommendations included in the upcoming 2020 Budget to be presented in February. Once Budget 2020 has been released, we will present our analysis on our website and social media channels.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith


August 08, 2019

Affordability experts respond to announcement to build 1,100 housing units in...

For Immediate Release


Affordability experts respond to announcement to build 1,100 housing units in Vancouver

WHAT: The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) will hold a press conference at its Vancouver Area Office Friday at 10:00AM in response to the federal government's announcement of $180M in loans and funding for affordable housing in Vancouver.

The federal money will help build a small portion of the housing needed in Vancouver, but it does not represent the kind of long-term funding required to address the housing crisis in a stable and responsible manner. The authors of the report Building an Affordable B.C., BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch and Vice President of CUPE Local 1767 representing union members at BC Assessment Authority Harpinder Sandhu, will offer a critical analysis of the announcement. They will also discuss how local governments can use a land value capture tax to generate stable funding for the public build-out of affordable housing.

Paul Finch and Harpinder Sandhu will then respond to questions from the media. Individual interviews immediately after the conference will also be possible.

WHEN: Friday, August 9, 2019, 10:00AM

WHERE: BCGEU Lower Mainland Area Office, 130 - 2920 Virtual Way, Vancouver
(Please check in at reception.) 

View the report Building an Affordable B.C. here: 
Opinion: Land Value Capture idea gaining traction as housing affordability crisis continues


August 07, 2019

BCGEU members in the public service – your new collective agreement between t...

The new 18th Main Public Service Agreement and Component Agreements are in effect as of April 1, 2019. BCGEU members who work in the B.C. public service ratified these agreements last year following five weeks of negotiations.

The agreements are for three years and expire on March 31, 2022. The main agreement features many improvements, such as:

  • a two per cent general wage increase in each year of the agreement;
  • improvements in benefits and the addition of dual coverage;
  • addresses labour market pressures in specific occupations;
  • expands bullying and harassment language;
  • achieves special leave for members experiencing domestic violence.

We're finishing up the editing and other housekeeping on the agreements. Download the draft version of the main agreement here.

Download PDF files of draft component agreements:

Draft Environmental, Technical and Operational Component 20 agreement
Science, Information and Health Component 6 agreement

We will update you again when printing and distribution details are finalized.

-Your BCGEU public service bargaining committee


July 31, 2019

Housing activists hail Burnaby's 'robust' tenant relocation plan - BCGEU

Proposed policy would guarantee temporary accommodation to renters displaced by renovictions and demovictions.

Their signs and T-shirts read "tenant power" and "end demovictions." There were speeches, cheers and chants. It was a familiar scene outside Burnaby City Hall – the battlefield between housing activists and local politicians in recent years – but Monday was different. 

Read full article here


July 25, 2019

Your new member ID card is almost in the mail - BCGEU

We are excited to announce that BCGEU Member ID cards are about to get smarter! Just like your transit pass or credit card, your new ID will now have computer chip technology which will enable us keep moving forward as a union with the ability to use contactless "tap" technology to sign into BCGEU meetings and events. We're excited about all the projects we'll be rolling out in the coming years based on our new cards, and we hope you are too!

We've upgraded our cards' security measures as well with new unique Member IDs that enhance your privacy and our overall data integrity. 

Around end of November, you will receive a new Member ID card in the mail. But before we send your card out,
we want to make sure we have your current home mailing address. Please check and update your address before mid-August by logging into the BCGEU Member Portal or by calling your area office. If you have not yet activated your Member Portal account, please go to

Thank you for taking the time to provide any updates and if you have any questions please contact your area office

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
BCGEU President

Paul Finch
BCGEU Treasurer

P.S. - If you have a co-worker who did not receive this message, please share with them. We want to make sure that everyone receives their new card. Thank you.



July 19, 2019

‘Restore balance to the system’ BCGEU tells workers’ compensation review - BCGEU

BURNABY, July 19, 2019 – Today the BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) provided its written submission to the B.C. workers' compensation system review. The provincial government initiated the review in response to years of advocacy by workers and their unions to make the system more worker-centered.

"The workers' compensation system was created as a compromise between the interests of workers and employers," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Thanks to the changes enacted by the previous BC Liberal government, our current system favours employers and fails workers. I'm glad to see our government taking concrete steps to make the compensation system work for injured workers."

A series of changes enacted starting in 2002 shifted the system's focus from the needs of injured workers to the financial impact on employers resulting in an overall reduction in compensation benefits for injured workers, a limited ability for injured workers to appeal decisions, and a reduced focus on the merits and justice of an individual worker's case.

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith was the first presenter to appear at the review's public hearings where she emphasized the need to restore a balance between workers' and employers' interests and rebuild workers' confidence in the system. At subsequent public hearings held in 14 communities across the province, dozens of current and former BCGEU members who have been injured on the job also courageously stepped up to tell their stories.

"Workplace injuries can be devastating for workers," says Smith. "Unfortunately, our current workers' compensation system just compounds their challenges. But that doesn't have to be the case and I am very hopeful that this review will be a critical first step in getting our compensation system back on solid footing with a renewed focus on the needs of injured workers."

The stated goal of the independent review, with its report due to government this fall, is to make the system more worker-centred. To that end, the BCGEU looks forward to reviewing the report's findings and recommendations with the expectation that significant changes are proposed to repair the social contract that is our workers' compensation system.

You can read the full text of the BCGEU's submission here.

The BCGEU is one of the largest unions in B.C. with over 79,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province.

For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications,


July 15, 2019

BCGEU statement opposing Quebec Bill 21 – religious symbol ban - BCGEU

On behalf of 79,000 members, including over 33,000 public service workers in B.C., the BCGEU condemns the decision of the Coalition Avenir Quebec Government to pass Bill 21 in Quebec which bans the wearing of religious symbols by public service workers in a position of authority. Any public employee should have the freedom to express their religious and spiritual beliefs in a safe and secure environment. As instances of Islamophobia, Antisemitism and other forms of racism are on the rise, this bill will act to push many Muslims, Jews and Sikhs to the margins of society. There is no doubt the impact of this bill will be felt beyond the public service, as the public rhetoric supporting this bill has been largely xenophobic. Muslim women in Quebec have already reported an increase in hate since this bill was tabled in March. 

We are also very concerned about the fact that Bill 21 infringes upon the freedom of religion protections enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at a time when those very protections and the principles behind them need to be reinforced. The passing of this bill picks on the most marginalized segments of society (in particular women), many of whom are racialized and newcomers. It has no place in a society where the principles of equality and freedom are paramount.

The BCGEU supports in principle the National Council of Canadian Muslims and Canadian Civil Liberties Association legal challenge against Bill 21. We call on other unions, organizations, and local governments to support the legal challenge to this discriminatory piece of legislation.


July 11, 2019

Join us to commemorate 100 years of standing up for our rights at work – cele...

On July 26, 1919, a group of provincial government employees gathered in Vancouver to form an organization dedicated to fighting for their rights at work. Included in their stated goals were: a fair policy for promotions, equal pay for equal work for women, the abolition of patronage, and a civil service commission with employee representation.

Through many changes in our union and the world around us, 100 years later the BCGEU continues to be at the forefront of fighting for dignity, fairness and respect on the job for all workers in B.C.

Please join me, members of our provincial executive, active and retired members, and friends of the BCGEU as we celebrate our last 100 years and envision what the next 100 years will look like for working people in our province.

BCGEU Centennial Celebration
4911 Canada Way, Burnaby (BCGEU HQ)
July 26, 2019
Doors open at 5:30pm, program at 6:00pm
Click here to RSVP 

In honour of our union's centennial, the BCGEU is producing a series of six short films on our history – the first two of which will be screened at the celebration.

Light refreshments will be served.

In solidarity,

Stephanie Smith
BCGEU president

Download centennial poster here 


July 11, 2019

Registration is now open for the biannual BCGEU/Compensation Employees' Union...

Due to the overwhelming response, we are currently taking registrations for a waitlist at this time. Thank you.


BCGEU/CEU Health & Safety ConferenceFriday, October 4 – Saturday, October 5
Pacific Gateway Hotel, Richmond
Click here to register

The focus of this conference will be on psychological health and safety.
Promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work is an emerging focus worldwide. We recognize health and safety representatives need tools and support to address these issues. 
The conference will provide occupational health and safety representatives with an opportunity to network, improve their skills, discuss their successes and challenges, and make recommendations for action at their workplaces. The aim is to increase awareness and learn strategies to address physical and psychological hazards.

To register for the conference, you must be an appointed BCGEU occupational health and safety representative. Fill out the registration form by clicking here. 

Travel, leave of absence and, if required, accommodation, are paid by the union. Space is limited, so register early.

The conference begins with registration at 8 a.m. Friday morning at the Pacific Gateway Hotel. After a day of learning, there will be a social with light snacks and a cash bar. The conference will continue on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This conference is co-sponsored by the BCGEU and the Compensation Employees' Union. The CEU is a BCGEU affiliate, whose members work for the Workers' Compensation Board (WorkSafeBC).

Click here to register for the BCGEU/CEU Health and Safety Conference