Work Environment Survey results show urgent need for changes in Corrections and Sheriff Services

Survey results point to what the BCGEU/NUPGE has been saying: there is a poisonous work environment, chronically low staff morale and other significant problems that must be addressed. 

Vancouver (08 March 2016) —  Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) were asked by the provincial Public Service Agency to take the Work Environment Survey (WES). In 2009, 2011, 2013 and again in 2015 the members voluntarily took part.

Survey results points to chronically low staff morale, poisoned work environment, among others concerns

The Public Service Agency says WES results are a way to diagnose the work environment and show senior government officials what changes need to be made at particular worksites to improve the work environment and the productivity of the workplace. Survey results were released last week and BCGEU/NUPGE has received emails from Sherriff Services and Correction members voicing their concerns about the survey results.

The low WES scores in both Corrections and Sheriff Services point to what the BCGEU/NUPGE has been saying for years: there is a poisonous work environment, chronically low staff morale and other significant problems that must be addressed. These problems concern workload, stress, staffing levels, salaries, and job satisfaction.

BCGEU/NUPGE has raised concerns at every level with management, government

These same issues have been brought up at Union/Management meetings, the Provincial Joint Union/Management meetings, at the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Article 29 Committee meetings, as well as separate meetings with the employer.

“Senior management have hammered home the message that times have changed, repeatedly stating the old ways of doing business are gone, and that they are bringing in a new, modern, progressive way to manage that involves staff participation and employee engagement,” says Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice-President Corrections and Sheriff Services. “Our members would like to buy into this philosophy but are starting to have doubts.”

WES results even lower than previous surveys

The WES scores at several prisons, already low in previous WES surveys, are down even more: Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (down 22 points), Surrey Pretrial Services Centre (down 10), and Nanaimo Correctional Centre (down 4). With a WES score of 45, North Fraser Pretrial Centre continues to have the lowest score of all provincial prisons.

The WES scores in Sheriff Services continue to be very low with an overall score of 49. Some key areas such as executive level management and staffing practices are concerning and these low scores point to chronic, systemic problems in the Sheriff Services that must be addressed.

BCGEU/NUPGE to continue to push from solutions to improve working conditions

Both Corrections and Sheriffs had low scores on compensation. This is an area that is in the employers control with the current benchmark reviews now in the final stages.

The Sherrif Services and Corrections (Component 1) Executive has engaged the employer and are willing to work to make the workplace better for all members.  The troubling WES survey results will be discussed when the union senior leadership meets with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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

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