Update on meeting with government - BCGEU

This week our union met with Attorney General David Eby and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Court Services Branch, Lynda Cavanaugh to discuss ongoing sheriff's issues in Component 1.

Both are supportive of the extension of the work week from 35 to 40 hours, particularly as a partial solution to attrition. However, it was acknowledged that while the rate dropped to 3% in 2018-2019 from 18% in 2016-2017, attrition still needs to be addressed. We also discussed how implementing the extended work week would decrease the days needed for training courses and free up additional time for members to do more firearms training throughout the year – another positive. Minister Eby says he looks forward to hearing the results of our vote from our sheriff members.
Progress on the Auditor General's recommendations from the 2019 report Managing Human Resources at the B.C. Sheriff Service are being tracked and will be shared with the union.

Cavanaugh also noted that smaller JIBC recruit class sizes were an anomaly due to budgetary constraints, and that she expects them to be increased again to the usual number of 24 recruits.

We also followed up on an earlier conversation with Eby about moving sheriffs out of the Court Services Branch. Eby reported that he brought the idea to the Chief Justice for consideration but felt it was unlikely to get support. BCGEU President Stephanie Smith emphasized this was a recurring issue for members and that we would appreciate a definitive response so we can either get working on it or move on.

Finally, we raised the issue about moving to blue lights on all sheriff's vehicles. Ontario has recently moved in this direction as a result of safety issues and the fact that blue lights are proven to be more visible at night and during inclement weather. Minister Eby agreed to look into this further.

We will continue to update you on the progress of these items.

In solidarity,

Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice-President for Component 1 – Corrections and Sheriff Services
Deputy Sheriff Dave Iorizzo, Sheriff Component 1 Executive Member Local 103