Election 2017

British Columbians will cast their vote May 9, 2017 

What Can You do to Get Involved?

Register to vote

If you aren’t sure if you’re registered to vote, or you need to update your address. You can do so by contacting Elections BC.

Cast your ballot

Do you have a plan on when you’re going to vote? Where is your polling station? What time are you going to cast your ballot? Make a plan for how you will cast your ballot on May 9, 2017. 

Get talking to your friends and family

Speak up about the issues that impact PEA members. Here are some talking points, facts and figures to use when discussing the upcoming election with your friends, family and colleagues.

Scientific integrity in the public service

  • Over the past several years, the number of Government Licensed Science Officers employed by the government has declined sharply due to staff cutbacks and an unwillingness to replace people who retire or resign.  The Liberal Government has eliminated 25% of PEA Licensed Science Officer positions since they took office.
  • Government Licensed Science Officers include foresters, engineers, agrologists, geoscientists, veterinarians, psychologists, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
  • They provide the provincial government with advice, guidance, research, monitoring and review services to help ensure the efficient and effective management, utilization and oversight of BC’s natural resources, infrastructure, food and water resources and some aspects of health care services.
  • The implications identified by various watchdog agencies such as the BC Auditor General, BCs Ombudsperson and BCs Forest Practices Board for the people of BC from a lack of government oversight (i.e. not enough Licensed Science Officers) include:
  • Loss of resource revenue due to reduced oversight – oversight that is inadequate;
  • The degradation of forest resources due to inadequate monitoring and inspection;
  • Public safety threats if infrastructure like bridges and water supply facilities are not regularly inspected and monitored;
  • Threats to the environment if development impacts are not properly assessed;
  • Bad decision-making by technical staff due to little or no professional guidance and advice, and;
  • Irretrievable loss of ongoing research data due to lack of staff to do the work.
  • The Auditor General investigated the Mount Polley disaster and found that there is insufficient staffing in both the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Mines to ensure that mine operators are in compliance with regulations.   The main conclusion is that the compliance and enforcement activities of the two ministries is inadequate to protect the province from significant environmental risks.

Post-secondary education funding

  • Universities are relying more heavily on private sources of revenue such as tuition and from avenues such as international students.
  • Student tuition fees and debt loads have increased dramatically. Students are paying more for fewer services.
  • Students are leaving BC or not coming to BC for their education, leading to a drop in revenue from students spending in BC towns and cities and to a potential drop in talented graduates.
  • Since 2002, provincial funding for post-secondary students has decreased by 20% after inflation. The BC Government cut funding to post-secondary education by 16 million in 2014 and 11 million in 2015. (1)
  • Government revenue from tuition and fees has increased from $450 million in 2002 to a forecasted $1.8 billion in 2016/17 – an increase of 400% - all coming out of the pockets of students and their families. (2)
  • Average student debt in British Columbia after completing a four-year degree program is $35,000 – the highest in the country. (2)
  • Adult basic education, adult special education, and English language learning programs have become far less accessible with the elimination of the tuition-free policy and the implementation of a regressive voucher-style upgrading grant. (3)
  • The 2017/18 budget provides a one percent increase to post-secondary education; however, this will not cover inflation, forcing further cuts at colleges and universities.(3)

Health care funding in BC

  • The lack of adequate health care funding has resulted in vacancies not being filled for months if at all.
  • Many professionals are choosing to seek employment in other provinces where salaries are higher. Other professionals are choosing to move to the private sector for the same reason.
  • This has led to longer patient wait times and the overwork of those working within the healthcare system as some struggle to do the work of two to three people, which results in a longer waiting times and a general deterioration of our public health care system. 

(1) http://www.the-peak.ca/2016/02/bc-budget-adds-25-million-to-post-secondary-funding-elicits-criticism/
(2) http://www.openthedoors.ca/issues
(3) http://www.fpse.ca/news/presidents-comment/bc-budget-2017

Reach out to your local candidates

We are asking each of you to meet your candidates to hear their positions on issues that you care about as a citizen and as a PEA member.

Meeting with your candidates provides an opportunity to:

  • Establish a relationship
  • Discuss the issues and solutions
  • Raise awareness of the PEA

Here are some basics to keep in mind to get the most out of these meetings.

Contact the candidates

  • Target all the candidates in your riding.
  • Send a letter by mail or email to the candidate. (We have provided a sample request at the bottom)
  • Follow up within a week by phone. Keep track of who you talk to and when for further follow-up calls if needed.

Prepare for the meetings

  • Do your homework.
  • Develop a short agenda of issues you wish to discuss. Prepare your speaking notes. You can use our key messages and background information under ‘Get talking’. Add specific details and stories if possible. Prepare questions for the candidate.

At the meeting

  • Thank the candidate for taking the time to meet.
  • Confirm how much time the candidate has.
  • Make an opening statement on the key issues you want to discuss.
  • Open the discussion. Use the questions you have prepared to move through the issues.
  • If you cannot answer a question they have, admit it and promise to get back to them with the information they request.
  • Listen carefully to what they tell you, even if you disagree. They will often let you know what types of information might change their minds on specific
  • Present the material you have brought with you as a leave-behind.
  • Take a picture to share on social media.
  • Thank them for the meeting.
  • If the candidate asks if they can count on your support, share that you are meeting with all the candidates to hear the views of all parties.

Follow-up after the meeting.

  • Immediately after the meeting, make notes on what was discussed and agreed to by you and the candidate.
  • Send a thank you letter, by mail or by email that summarizes your understanding of the discussion.

Send a letter by mail or email to the candidate


Listen to the candidates at a forum or debate

In the upcoming election, there will be all-candidates forums or debates in your local area. These are great opportunities for you to publically pose your questions directly to the candidates running for office in your area.

These forums usually follow the same format, all the candidates will be introduced by the moderator and will be given a chance to give a short opening statement. The moderator will either then proceed to ask each candidate questions directly or he/she will read out questions that are submitted by the audience. In some cases, the moderator will call on the member of the audience to step up to the microphone and ask their question directly to the candidate(s).

When asking your question, it is advisable that you state your name, what you do for a living and the fact that you are a member of the PEA.

As part of your question, you may want to make a short statement first, followed by your question.


"My name is Karen Smith, I work as a Forestry Engineer in the Ministry of Forests and I am a member of the PEA. In a 2012 report, the Auditor General stated that the Ministry of Forests was doing a poor job of managing our forests and providing stewardship of our resources for future generations. If elected what policies would you support in order to manage our forest resources better?"


"My name is Bob Jones, I work as a physiotherapist for the Interior Health Authority and I am a member of the PEA. In my occupation we are seeing many physiotherapists leaving the BC public service in order to pursue opportunities in other provinces or in the private sector because the pay is better. Many public service postings are going unfilled. What would you do in order to reverse this trend and to protect our public health care system?

It is advisable to state your question, listen to the response without interrupting the candidate and then thank them for their answer. Try not to engage in an "argument" with the candidate or the moderator.

Volunteer for a candidate

If you find a candidate that supports your issues, one of the best ways to make a lasting impression is to volunteer for their campaign. The candidate will view this as you not only being committed to your issues, but that you are willing to actually assist the candidate in getting elected in order for him/her to advocate on your behalf at the Legislature.

Campaigns can be exciting and a great opportunity to network with people who share your views and opinions.

Here are some of the volunteer positions that all campaigns need:

Voter Contact Person: These are usually people who work on the phone-bank. They work off a voters canvass list provided by the campaign. You phone the voter, inquire as to whom they are supporting and then record their answers on the canvass sheet. Sometimes the voter will ask questions about the candidates' positions on issues or will require more information. The recorded results of your canvass sheets are used on Election Day to help the campaign get their supporters out to the polls.

Door-to-Door Canvasser: These workers are provided with a canvass kit that contains a list of voters in a specific area, a map of the area and some campaign literature. The door-to-door canvasser knocks on the voter's doors, gives a quick pitch on their candidate, hands the voter the literature and then records which candidate that voter intends to support.

Sign Crew: These are volunteers who either construct the campaign signs or who deliver the signs to campaign supporters.

Campaign Office Workers: These are volunteers who perform various campaign office tasks from stuffing envelopes to marking canvass sheets.

Data Entry: These volunteers take the information off of the canvass sheets from the phoners and door-to-door canvassers and record them into the campaign database.

The Issues

When we asked our members what issue what most important to them in the 2017 election, they ranked these three priorities as most important to them:

  1. The environment and climate change.
  2. Cost of living.
  3. Affordable housing.

Below you'll find a summary of the three parties' platforms on these issues and more.

The Environment and Climate Change


Labour Legislation

Party Platforms

Hear from the Candidates

The PEA sent seven questions to candidates of the three main parties in the ten ridings with the most PEA members. The questions reflected PEA members’ election priorities from a fall 2016 survey. The BC NDP and BC Liberal candidates responses to the questions were addressed centrally on behalf of the ten candidates. Four responses were received from the BC Green Party candidates in Saanich North and the Islands, Kamloops South-Thompson, Victoria-Beacon Hill and Esquimalt-Metchosin. Following are links to the verbatim responses from candidates.

Election Update

It appears that a new BC Provincial Government made up of NDP and Green Members of the Legislature will take office in the near future. An agreement between the two parties has been made public and provides program priorities for the new government.     

Members may wish to review the entire agreement, as there are a number of priorities that present opportunities for redress to issues that have faced PEA members and chapters for a number of years.

PEA staff will be working with chapters to gather stories, facts and information to support continued political outreach, so we are prepared to meet with a new government as soon as it is in place. We will be asking you to help us over the course of the coming weeks, so that we can make the most of opportunities to influence the new government and politicians of all stripes. Given that more than 90 per cent of our members work in the public sector, this is a significant opportunity – please be ready to work with your union.

Authorized by the Professional Employees Association, registered sponsor under the Election Act (250) 385-8791

In this section

The PEA was formed in 1974, by a group of professionals working in the public sector. The story goes that the founders of the union mortgaged their houses to fund negotiations of the union’s first collective agreement. 

Now, the PEA is BC’s union for professionals. We represent a wide range of professionals including lawyers, foresters, engineers, agrologists, teachers, veterinarians, fundraisers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists program managers, librarians and more.

Our union is led by the PEA Executive. They represent members from across the chapters of the PEA and set the overall vision and direction for our union.

Resources for our members

Navigating a union can sometime be a challenging process. Under this section of the website you will find resources to help you navigate the PEA. In the members section you'll find expense claim reimbursements, information on the PEA's scholarship and bursary program and our grants and donations program.

Collective bargaining and job action resources explain the process of collective bargaining and what to do in the unlikely event of job action. 

Local reps can also find resources to help them complete their job more effectively. This includes ways to welcome new members, how to take notes in investigation disciplinary meetings and more.

The heart of our union

The PEA is made up of ten chapters, or groups of members who either work for the same employer or are in the same field of work. Each chapter has an elected executive tasked with running the affairs of the chapter. Each chapter is entitled to representation at the PEA Executive, the governing body of the union. 

Our members work for a range of employers: the Province of BC, the University of Victoria, St. Margaret's School, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Law Society of BC, Legal Services Society, the Okangan Regional Library and health authorities across BC.

Professionals need unions now more then ever

Since the 1970’s, when the PEA was formed, our mission has been to ensure our members can work in safe, productive environments and receive fair and reasonable wages and benefits for the valuable work they do. We help individuals and groups of professional workers to understand the challenges they face in their workplaces and some of the solutions available to them. 

We work with potential members to become certified as a union and achieve the wages, benefits and respect they deserve. 

The Professional | Volume 44 Issue 2

The Professional is the PEA's award-winning, quarterly magazine for members.

The July 2017 issue includes a profile of Barbara Jo May, Convention 2017, a recent PEA forester victory, unions and the movement for LGBT rights, as well as saying farewell to a loved labour relations officer.

Read the July 2017 issue



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