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December 09, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE: BCGEU applauds new agency to make work safer for health care w...


Dec. 9, 2019

BCGEU applauds new agency to make work safer for health care workers

The BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) applauds the B.C. government's commitment of $8.5 million over three years to build an independent provincial occupational health and safety agency to address the high rate of injury in the health care sector.
"The BCGEU represents thousands of front-line health care workers who too often risk their own health and safety in the course of their work," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "This new agency will change that and it's just one more example of how this government is making life better for working people."
As part of the most recent round of public sector collective bargaining, the need for a provincial effort to combat rising rates of injury and make workplaces safer was identified. As the lead union in the Community Bargaining Association (CBA), the BCGEU worked alongside other stakeholders in the Provincial Framework on Occupational Health and Safety in Health Care Working Group to develop a report and recommendations to create the new agency. These recommendations were endorsed in their entirety by the Ministry of Health.
"This work also reflects a strong consultative approach on the part of government to involve those with front-line knowledge of these issues, and a commitment to taking action based on those consultations," says Smith. "With this foundation, I expect to see the agency develop robust best practices to make the industry safer."
The working group will now turn to the work of establishing the new agency including appointing a board of directors, strategic planning and creating policies and procedures. Through the CBA, the BCGEU will continue its role as a stakeholder in the establishment of the agency and will hold one of six Worker Director seats on the board once appointed.
The BCGEU represents thousands of health care workers from community home support for seniors to those impacted by mental health and substance abuse issues or facing addictions in the community.
For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications,


December 06, 2019

Remembering l’Ecole Polytechnique - 30 years later - BCGEU

December 6, 1989 was a Wednesday like any other: I spent the day at the childcare centre I worked at surrounded by kids and my colleagues. I found out about the massacre at l'Ecole Polytechnique on the radio while I was driving home that evening.

I was shocked and devastated at the news. Having been raised in a strongly feminist family, the idea that 14 women had been singled out and killed by a man targeting feminists shook me to my core. For me, and for millions of other Canadian women and feminists, that day changed the fabric of our country.

Thirty years later, I'm proud to work alongside strong feminists from every point on the gender spectrum as a member of a union that has done and is doing so much to eliminate gender-based violence in all its forms-from implementing anti-violence programs like "Be More Than a Bystander", to negotiating domestic violence leave and anti-bullying/harassment language into collective agreements, to being the only union in Canada to be granted standing at the Commission of Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls-the BCGEU does good work.

But as much work as our union does and as much progress as our society has made, the fact is that 30 years after the Montreal Massacre women in Canada-especially Indigenous women and trans women-still face disproportionate risk of discrimination, harassment, and violence from men.

There is so much more to do.

December 6th is a chance to honour the memory of the women who were killed by a man because they were women-Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colga, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

December 6th is a chance to recommit to creating families, workplaces and communities that are free from gender-based violence, discrimination and harassment in any form. 

December 6th is a chance to ask yourself: what more can I do in my family, my workplace, my union, and my community?


In Solidarity,

Stephanie Smith



December 03, 2019

BCGEU met with Health Minister Dix - Forensic Psychiatric Hospital - BCGEU

Yesterday your worksite Union representatives, along BCGEU president Stephanie Smith met with provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix. 

We discussed a number of issues with Minister Dix regarding BCGEU members working at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, including the number of serious injuries to our members, staffing levels, program closures, heavy workload, forensic pay and wage issues, particularly for frontline workers.

Minister Dix acknowledged the Union's concerns and respects the work our members do and their commitment to the patients.

We will continue to try and work with government on important issues to improve the working conditions of our members at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

In solidarity,

Mahen Ramdharry

Component 4 Vice-President & Local 403 Chair

Jacqueline McGuire

Staff Representative

Download PDF of Notice Here


December 03, 2019

The Provincial – Fall 2019 - BCGEU

Check out the latest, redesigned issue of The Provincial.


This issue has updates on how our union's work on investing ethically, a number of recent conferences and workshops to strengthen our union, and the guidelines on electoral campaigns for our upcoming Convention 2020.



December 02, 2019

BCGEU reaches tentative agreement with Western Pacific Marine for inland ferr...

The communities of Kootenay Lake are no longer facing disruptions to their ferry service due to the labour dispute between BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) ferry workers and their employer, Western Pacific Marine. On November 26, after 13 days of intensive bargaining and more than five months after the negotiations reached an impasse, the two parties reached a tentative agreement.

"This bargaining process was hard work and this tentative agreement is fantastic news," said Stephanie Smith. "I'm proud of the solidarity shown by our members and the support of the community throughout this process. And I'm grateful that the employer was ultimately willing to get back to the table and get this deal done."

The tentative agreement includes provisions similar in principle to the collective agreement between the union and the other two inland ferries employers-WaterBridge Ferries and Waterbridge Equipment. That agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by union members in October. These provisions included wage parity with BC Ferries within the term of the agreement and a commitment to successorship training that will protect existing members.

BCGEU members will vote on the agreement this weekend. The union's bargaining committee is recommending ratification. If ratified, the WPM agreement will take effect immediately and expire on March 31, 2024. 

"This tentative deal is a game changer," said Smith. "If our members vote to ratify it, they'll be voting for an agreement that could ensure the sustainability of the inland ferry system, and the families and communities that rely on it, for the foreseeable future."

Inland ferry workers on the Balfour, Harrop and Glade crossings have been without a contract since March 31, 2019. After negotiations broke down in June, the union initiated job action on WPM's Kootenay Lake route with a three-day work stoppage over the Labour Day long weekend followed by an overtime restriction as of September 18. 

The communities of Glade and Harrop were unaffected by the union's job action due to an essential service ruling made August 29. When talks resumed on November 13, the union eased up on its job action – which had been resulting in up to 70 per cent of regular sailings being cancelled per day – ensuring all regularly scheduled sailings on Kootenay Lake while bargaining was ongoing. 

Community support for reaching a collective agreement has been significant, including the website and Facebook group Our Ferry Matters, organized 'unity' sailings, and calls to all parties for a sustainable service.

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


December 02, 2019

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Western Pacific Marine - BCGEU

A strong majority of the 80 inland ferry workers represented by the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) have voted in favour of ratifying their collective agreement with their employer, Western Pacific Marine (WPM). 


The agreement, which was reached on November 26 and ratified by members on November 30, achieved wage parity with BC Ferries within the term of the agreement and a commitment to successorship training that will protect existing members. These achievements will help ensure the sustainability of the inland ferry system – and the families and communities that rely on it – for the foreseeable future.


WPM, which operates B.C.'s inland ferry routes on Kootenay Lake, Glade and Harrop, is the third and final inland ferry operator to reach an agreement with BCGEU members after the previous contract expired March 31, 2019.


For more details about the agreement, read the media release .



November 29, 2019

BCGEU members ratify collective agreement with Community Living BC - BCGEU

Nearly 600 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) who work in communities across the province have voted to accept a renewed collective agreement with Community Living BC (CLBC) – the provincial crown agency that provides supports and services to adults with developmental disabilities. 

The parties reached a tentative agreement on October 17. The workers, who had been without a contract since April 1, voted 89 per cent in favour of ratification at a meeting on November 25. The agreement takes effect immediately and expires March 31, 2022.

"This was a challenging round of negotiations, but we've achieved progress on key issues identified by our members," says Judy Fox-McGuire, vice president of the BCGEU's social, information and health component. 

One of the key issues for members was the need for an understandable collective agreement. The previous agreement was an unpolished amalgamation of three agreements that was created in 2005 when the work of CLBC was removed from direct government. As a result, the agreement contained repetitive articles and outdated terminology that made it challenging for workers to use.

Another key issue for BCGEU members in this round of bargaining was addressing workload issues and recruitment and retention challenges for specific roles.

"As the demand for CLBC's services has increased, so have the demands on our members who work frontline supporting clients," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. "I'm glad we've found common ground with the employer and achieved an agreement that balances the clients' need for access to care and our members' need for fair workload and compensation."

The three-year agreement also achieves parity with the main terms of the public service agreement, including a two per cent wage increase per year for the term of the agreement, and a one-time payment related to savings from the elimination of MSP premiums.

The BCGEU represents most employees at CLBC including social workers, facilitators, analysts, and administrative workers. CLBC receives funding from the provincial government to provide services to more than 20,000 individuals with significant demands for support and services.

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



November 25, 2019

Volunteer opportunity: BC Fed free community Christmas Dinners - BCGEU

This dinner is for those in the community who are less fortunate. They are served a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings, music, carol sing-a-longs, gifts from Santa for every child and teenager, a visit to the boutique, and a food hamper.

To volunteer please call Marisha Zuckerman at 604-306-4156 or email at

  • Surrey - December 23, 2019 5:00pm – 8:00pm Kwantlen Secondary School 10441 132nd Street
  • Vancouver - December 24, 2019 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm Maritime Labour Centre 1880 Triumph Street

Download PDF of Notice Here


November 14, 2019

BCGEU Dawson Creek chalk painting night

BCGEU Dawson Creek Chalk Painting NightWhere: South Peace Campus, Northcourt10808 15 St., Dawson Creek BC
December 9, 2019From 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.


Get in on the new décor trend of the year!
Chalk Couture's silk screen transfers make decorating fast, easy and beautiful.
With the reusable surfaces, you can change up the look of your sign over and over!

Open to all BCGEU Members but space is limited to 20 spots.
All supplies are provided.

Please RSVP, no later than November 25, 2019
, by clicking on the following link: 

BCGEU Peace River Area Office
10147 100 Ave. Fort St. John BC V1J 1Y7
Phone: 250-785-6185 Fax: 250-785-0048

Download a copy of the poster here