United Way 20/21 Impact Report

On behalf of the United Way of Southern Vancouver Island

CUPE Local 2081 has a standing motion to donate $1 per member annually, every October. In October 2020, CUPE Local 2081 donated an additional $500 above our standing motion to assist our community through the pressures of COVID-19. For the 20/21 fiscal year, United Way raised $6.2 million thanks to donations such as this. United Way was able to fund 184 local programs, positively impacting the lives of 125,000 Southern Vancouver Island residents. Read their full 2020/21 Impact Report to find out how donors such as our union made an impact in the community.


BCFED Puts Pressure on Government to Uphold TRC Calls to Action

On behalf of the BCFED

On Thursday, July 8th President of the BC Federation of Labour Laird Cronk sent a letter to put pressure on Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier John Horgan, as well as federal and provincial ministers regarding the TRC Calls To Action:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Federal Ministers Bennett, Miller, Lametti, and Tassi; Premier Horgan and BC Ministers Eby and Rankin:

Re:       TRC Calls to Action

We write to you today on behalf of the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) which represents over 500,000 working people in the province of British Columbia through its affiliated unions. We write in the wake of the uncovering in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Sioux Valley Dakota and Muskowekwan territories over the past weeks of unmarked children’s graves at the sites of multiple residential schools.

It has been over five years since the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada were published, and over five years since you promised to take immediate action to implement them all.

We are calling upon you to uphold that commitment and to fully implement all the TRC Calls to Action, and to pay special attention to the Calls to Action that deal with missing children, justice and health.

There were over 130 government-operated residential schools, all of which need to be fully investigated for remains in culturally appropriate ways. This work must be led by Indigenous communities and fully resourced and funded by the federal government. It is expected that thousands of unmarked graves exist across Canada of Indigenous children who died at residential schools. Families who never saw their children return home experience never-ending grief and continue to live with deep scars.

The BCFED is deeply concerned by the federal government’s inaction on identifying and returning the remains of stolen children, as recounted by TRC Commissioner and Chair, the Honourable Murray Sinclair:

“We asked the government to allow us to conduct a fuller inquiry to that part of the work of the TRC, to explore that on behalf of the survivors and Canadian public. We submitted a proposal, as it was not within the mandate of the TRC, and that request was denied. So largely we did what we could, but it was not anywhere near what we needed to investigate. Now we are seeing evidence of the large number of children who died.”

In the wake of the evidence coming to light on multiple sites of residential schools across the country, we urge you to do right by the memory of the children, and their families.

As such, there are a number of pressing priorities that require urgent action. We call upon you and your government to stop fighting residential school survivors in court, as per TRC Call to Action 29.  Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling, which was an expansion of the 2017 ruling, found that the federal government is willfully and recklessly discriminating against First Nations children in ways that contributed to child deaths and a multitude of unnecessary family separations. The Tribunal ordered Canada to pay $40,000 to each victim of its discriminatory conduct, dating back to 2006. We publicly acknowledge that despite your own repeated assertions that you allowed your government to file a judicial review to “quash all financial compensation” on October 4, 2019.

In addition, we also call upon you to stop blocking the creation of statistical reports on residential school abuse claims and the direct transfer of all other records to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

We call upon you to immediately implement the Spirit Bear Plan of the First Nations Family and Caring Society, led by Cindy Blackstock, to end inequalities in public services for First Nations children, youth and families. We also call upon you to provide adequate and sustainable mental health and addictions services to Indigenous peoples on and off reserve in both rural and urban areas.

We call upon you to immediately solve the lack of clean drinking water for First Nations and implement United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/292 which explicitly recognizes access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right and has been endorsed by Canada.

And finally, we call upon you to legislate full adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the requirement for free, prior and informed consent when making decisions that impact Indigenous rights, with full support and collaboration from Indigenous Peoples.

The moral imperative for action is clear. We look forward to seeing imminent progress.

Yours sincerely,


President                           Secretary-Treasurer

Legislative Update – June 2021

On behalf of Justin Schmid, Legislative Coordinator (CUPE BC)

Minimum Wage Increased
On June 1, 2021, B.C.’s lowest paid workers received a pay boost, when the general minimum wage increased to $15.20 an hour and the lower discriminatory minimum wage for liquor servers ended.

Paid Sick Leave for Non-Union Workers Introduced
Employees working under the Employment Standards Act now have access to three days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result. Employers are now required to pay workers their full wages and the Province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program Up to $200 per day for each worker to cover costs. A permanent paid sick leave for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury will be established beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

New Skilled Trades Certification System
A new skilled trades certification system is being developed by the provincial government. Following public consultation, implementation will start with ten initial trades from electrical, mechanical and automotive disciplines:
• mechanical: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic and sheet metal worker;
• electrical: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction); and
• automotive: heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician and autobody and collision technician.
Once implemented, individuals in these ten trades will be required to either be a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice to work. Government will also be working with industry to introduce journeyperson to apprentice ratios for each of these ten trades, as in every other province. B.C. was the only province not to require compulsory trades certification for skilled trades since it was eliminated in 2003.

Federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Statutory Holiday Created
A new statutory holiday was created for employees in the federal government and federally regulated workplaces. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, commemorating the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada, will be recognized on September 30 each year.

Accessibility Legislation for a More Inclusive Province
The accessible British Columbia act will allow government to establish accessibility standards aimed at identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility and inclusion. Standards will be developed in a range of areas such as employment, the delivery of services and the built environment. Additionally, a $4.8-million grant from the Province will support employers to hire, rehire and retain people with disabilities for long-term successful employment.

New Childcare Legislation & Regulations
New child care legislation will allow the government to set limits on child care fees for parents. This will help ensure child care is more affordable for families. The new legislation will also allow more flexibility in providing trained ECEs throughout the province. A change to the regulations will also exempt school grounds from minimum requirements for the provision of childcare since schools are already designed to be safe for children.

Electoral Boundaries to Be Reviewed
The Province has amended the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act to provide the upcoming electoral boundaries commission with more independence and flexibility as it works to recommend an electoral map for the next two general elections. These amendments will ensure the location of political boundaries between seats is determined not by politicians, but by an independent commission.

CUPE BC’s General Updates & Resources for CUPE Members

On behalf of CUPE BC

Pensions & Retirement Fact Sheet | CUPE BC Pensions Committee

A “Pensions and Retirement” Fact Sheet has been prepared by the CUPE BC Pensions Committee as part of its 2019-2021 Committee Action Plan.  The factsheet can be found here: Pension Fact Sheet May 2021

Aubrey Burton/Reg Ford Scholarship | Application Form | Aug 31, 2021

CUPE BC is now accepting applications for the Aubrey Burton/Reg Ford Scholarship.  Please find linked a copy of the application form, which is also available online on the CUPE BC website (click here).

Scholarships are awarded on both a competitive and lottery basis based on the following criteria:

  1. Parent, Guardian or Spouse of Applicant, or the Applicant her/himself must be a member in good standing of a CUPE Local affiliated to CUPE BC at the time of application.
  2. Applicant must have completed Grade 12 in the current or previous calendar year.
  3. Applicant must be entering first year of a recognized public postsecondary institution in BC. A copy of the acceptance letter from the admitting institution must be supplied.
  4. Applicant must complete an application form supported by copies of the Senior Secondary Statement and letter(s) of reference from school principal or counsellor.

All applications must be received by the CUPE BC Office (info@cupe.bc.ca) by end of day on August 31, 2021.

CUPE BC Web Conference | Build Your Resilience | June 15

Please join CUPE BC’s Summer 2021 Web Conference led by Diana Vissers, Occupational Health Consultant and CEO of Work to Wellness.  In this webinar, Diana will introduce a framework for understanding mental health and wellness and share tools for managing the stress of the pandemic.

Build Your Resilience: Tools for Managing the Stress of COVID-19

Date:  June 15, 2021

Time:  9:30-11:00 am PST (90 minutes)

Presenter: Diana Vissers

Free Registration: Click here

Registration Deadline:  Monday, June 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm PST

Live captioning and translation in French will be provided.  Members of all affiliated and non-affiliated locals are welcome to attend.

CUPE BC Pink Triangle Committee | Video & YouTube Channel

The CUPE BC Pink Triangle Committee created a video and started its own YouTube Channel, both of which can be accessed using the links below:

“Sending Virtual Hugs” Video:  https://youtu.be/JT6x7AWs6IA

Pink Triangle YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG_VYpJP_fU9_GzX0GmUxUQ/featured

SD 73 Video | Brake for Buses | #brakeforbuses

Each school day, thousands of students leaving their school bus are at risk of being struck by vehicles that fail to stop at the flashing stop lights and signs.  Please click here to view a video produced by School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson), which was cited by CUPE members during the 2021 CUPE BC Convention.

 Call to Action | CUPE Climate Change Emergency Declaration

The CUPE National Environment Committee invites all CUPE Locals, District Councils, and other CUPE contacts to sign a declaration recognizing the global climate crisis.  Please find links below to the climate declaration form (ENG/FR) and submit the completed form by email to  enviro@cupe.ca.



A Message Regarding the Discovery of 215 Children Buried at Kamloops Residential School

Trigger Warning: This post contains disturbing information about colonization/residential schools

CUPE BC and CUPE 2081 stand in solidarity with Indigenous colleagues, friends, and communities as they mourn and process the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried at Kamloops Residential School (Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation).

We ask that you give Indigenous communities space and time for grieving as they process this traumatizing information. Please be mindful about what you share on social media as much of this information is triggering. It is not the job of Indigenous communities to educate non-Indigenous folks about these traumatic experiences. We encourage everyone to educate themselves, and resources are provided below. This is 215 more reasons to hold the federal government accountable for their role in systemic racism, Indigenous genocide, and violence towards Indigenous peoples.

For non-Indigenous folks, here are some education resources to consider:

http://www.trc.ca/resources.html for a comprehensive list of resources from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html for a free course that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada from an Indigenous viewpoint.
https://legacy.camosun.ca/about/teaching-learning/events/ttw.html  for Camosun employees, TTW is a free course which provides insight into an Indigenous worldview

For support services, here is a list of resources:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society: https://www.irsss.ca/
Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line at: 1-866-925-4419. The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their Residential school experience.
The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support offers Counselling support. They can be reached at: 1-877-477-0775. They provide former Indian Residential School students and their families–regardless of status or place of residence within Canada–with access to counselling, cultural, and emotional support services.
KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
Tsow-Tun-Le Lum: 1-866-925-4419
Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2432
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text: 686868

We honour the survivors and their families who face intergenerational trauma as a result of residential schools. We must never forget the children who lost their lives, and we strive to do everything we can to meaningfully reconcile with Indigenous peoples.

Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism – May 10th

On behalf of the Canadian Labour Congress


The City of Burnaby is the first city in Canada to officially declare May 10, 2021, the “Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism”. Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC), which brings allies together to raise awareness and to combat anti-Asian racism, is organizing a nationwide Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism E Rally via Zoom on May 10 at 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET. To sign up for the rally, please click here. Please note the rally will be in English.

SWAC has also put out a call to action through the following options:

1. Endorse the City of Burnaby’s proclamation. To do so, please contact SWAC organizer, Doris Mah, at 604-729-3107 or doriswkmah@gmail.com.

2. Please tell your members about the Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism E Rally and share the sign up link shared above.

3. Social Media Posting:

  • Post about the rally and take a selfie with one of the rally signs (signs are attached here in PDF form, please send them along to your members)
  • Post your selfie on your social media and please tag SWAC’s Facebook page
  • Draft caption you can use when posting: “Join us on May 10 (5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET) the National Action Against Anti-Asian Racism E Rally Via Zoom”

In solidarity.

CUPE BC Legislative Update – May 2021

On behalf of the Legislative Coordinator, CUPE BC

PAID VACCINATION LEAVE: The provincial government recently passed legislation that entitles employees to up to three hours of paid leave to receive a vaccination against COVID‐19. The new provision is effective retroactive to April 19, 2021. The full new language can be found here.

THRONE SPEECH COMMITS TO SUPPORTING PEOPLE: Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin delivered the Throne Speech on April 12, which explains the government’s priorities for this legislative session, focused on recovery, housing, affordable childcare, expanding support for mental health care and tackling inequality and discrimination. The Throne Speech highlighted the work of K-12 support staff, including education assistance, clerical workers, custodial staff and school bus drivers for the work they have done keeping schools open safely and committed to continued investments in keeping schools safe and classrooms well supported

BUDGET 2021 FOCUSED ON ECONOMIC RECOVERY: The provincial budget was released in April and is focused on strategic investments in priority areas, such as K-12 public education and childcare, while laying the groundwork for post-pandemic economic recovery. The budget also provides significant funding to address the opioid overdose crisis, increases income assistance and disability rates and provides new investments in transportation.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: The minimum wage will increase to $15.20 an hour on June 1, 2021. Also, the lower liquor server minimum wage will be replaced by the provincial minimum wage. Currently over 13% of all workers in British Columbia earned less than $15 an hour.

LEGISLATIVE SESSION: The current legislative session is scheduled to continue until June 17.

National Day of Mourning

Today is the National Day of Mourning. Each year we take a moment of time to reflect on workers who have lost their lives serving their community. This year is another year where we reflect on the added risks for workers during a global pandemic. We must keep fighting for the health and safety of all workers in BC and in Canada.

Visit dayofmourning.bc.ca to watch or share a video message, or to view the digital memorial wall.
BCFED will be hosting an online commemoration ceremony today at 10:30am; please visit the event page by clicking here

Legislative Update – April 2021

From CUPE BC, the Legislative Coordinator’s report

Job-Protected Leave for Vaccination or COVID-19 Caretaking: Part-time and full-time workers can now take the time needed to travel and receive the vaccine or to take a dependent family member to receive the vaccine. Also, workers can now take job-protected leave if they need to care for other family members because of COVID-19, and not only a child or dependent adult as previously defined. Improvements also allow workers with underlying conditions, who are undergoing treatment or who have contracted another illness that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, to take the leave.

Community Partnerships Support Vaccination Efforts: More than 1400 tourism and hospitality workers will be employed in vaccination clinics through partnership with the provincial government. CUPE workers from Air Canada, Pacific National Exhibition, and WestJet who have been laid off due to the pandemic will have the opportunity to provide their expertise and support as nonclinical staff at immunization clinics to help people move through the clinics efficiently and safely. Some municipalities will also be helping with contributions of staff, furniture and supplies.

Basic Income Report: The Basic Income Expert Panel released its report with 65 recommendations. They do not recommend moving to a straight system basic income, but instead recommend stronger public programs and supports combined with a basic income or guaranteed minimum income for target groups, such as our most vulnerable citizens. The report also recommended a number of improvements to address precarious work through increased worker rights. The full report can be found here.

Local Election Campaign Financing Rules Strengthened: New changes for local elections, which will take effect for the 2022 Local Government Elections, will extend the pre-campaign from 29 days to 89 days, limit sponsorship contributions to $1200, require elector organizations to register with Elections BC, and provide Elections BC with new investigative tools to support investigations and additional penalties. Elector organizations will also be required to register with Elections BC and complete annual financial reports. They will also be banned from accepting no one campaign contributions to pay for operational expenses in non-election years. More information can be found here.

Assistance Rates Permanently Increased: Starting with payments issued in April 2021, individuals on income assistance and disability assistance will automatically receive a permanent $175 per month increase. This will benefit more than 300,000 British Columbians who receive income assistance and disability assistance. There will also be an increase to the senior supplement of $50 per recipient, which represents the first increase to this supplement since 1987.

Legislative session: The Spring legislative session, which began on March 1, is on a two-week constituency break and will resume on April 12 with a Throne Speech and the budget will be delivered on April 20. The house will then continue sitting until June 17.