PEA report warns of shortage of professionals who keep British Columbians safe

Wildfire and landslide response, bridge safety, and flood forecasting all impacted.

May 5, 2022 (Victoria) – The Professional Employees Association (PEA) has released a report pointing to critical recruitment and retention challenges within the BC public service for Government Licensed Professionals (GLP).

These professionals are the people the province puts its trust in every day. They are the engineers making sure highways reopen after floods and landslides. As psychologists, they take care of BC’s most vulnerable children and youth. During the wildfires of 2021 foresters and agrologists from across the province joined in to help with the emergency response. Yet the report, Understaffed and overstressed: How inadequate staffing levels and compensation of government professionals is hurting BC, clearly illustrates that there aren’t enough professionals in the public service to support and keep the province safe.

“Our members are the professionals the province relies on,” says Melissa Moroz, PEA Labour Relations Officer. “With climate change an ever-present reality, we need these experts. But a lack of competitive compensation in the public service is driving these trusted scientific professionals to the private sector where they can make a wage that keeps up with the cost of living, and where they have room to advance.”

The report highlights the current situation in BC, where an increasing number of extreme weather emergencies and a shortage of professionals with the public service who can step in to help has led to burnout, increasing reliance on out-of-province personnel and more expensive contractors. The result is inhibiting the effectiveness of BC’s emergency response during floods, landslides and wildfires.

The PEA entered bargaining with the BC Public Service Agency on April 11 for 1,300 GLP members. The collective agreement expired on March 31, 2022.

Report, audio, video, and images:

About the PEA
The Professional Employees Association is a labour union for professional employees. The union was formed in 1974 to represent the Government Licensed Professionals employed in the BC Public Service and has since grown to represent professionals in the education, legal, union and health care sectors. The PEA represents over 1300 licensed professionals in BC’s public service, including Mines Inspectors, Forest Research Scientists, Bridge Engineers, Wildlife Veterinarians, Petroleum Geologists, Agrologists and Foresters.

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Media Contact:
Jordana Whetter, Senior Communications Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 210

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