"We know it will take time to restore proper service levels to British Columbians. We will support the government as they continue to do the right thing to make British Columbia a more affordable, equitable and healthy society for everyone, not just the one percent." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President.
Victoria (20 Feb. 2018) — Fixing 16 years of neglect in public services, childcare and housing will take time, but B.C. Budget 2018 signals a bold path forward on these important public issues, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
NDP government puts funding toward child care, housing
"We have consistently called upon government for greater investment to restore quality public services," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "Today's budget begins that renewal process and makes significant commitments to child care and housing affordability, which have positive benefits for our members and for all British Columbians."
"We support the initiatives to curb real estate speculation and enhance the supply of affordable housing for British Columbians," said Smith. "The first steps toward a universal, accessible child care system are also highly welcome. Together, these significant programs and strategies will help working British Columbians and the province's less advantaged to actively participate in and benefit from B.C.'s economy."
Investments made to restore key public services
"The commitment to fix public services that people count on is extremely important for our members and the public. Today's investments in new staffing for court services, sheriffs, legal aid, seniors care, income assistance, environmental and natural resource management, and programs for women and children affected by violence, demonstrate this public commitment," said Smith.
"We also need to make a serious effort to address recruitment and retention issues in the public sector, in part by increasing wages and benefits — issues we look forward to addressing in upcoming negotiations. In the meantime, government initiatives that make housing and child care affordable for working families also make it easier to attract and keep quality workers in the public sector."
Protecting the environment: more conservation officers to be hired
"Our environment and natural resource sector continues to need significant new investment to reverse the decades-long erosion of services. The commitment to hire 20 new conservation officer positions is positive news that will ensure higher levels of compliance and enforcement with a positive impact on our environment and the economy."
"We know it will take time to restore proper service levels to British Columbians. We will support the government as they continue to do the right thing to make British Columbia a more affordable, equitable and healthy society for everyone, not just the one per cent," concluded Smith.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE