UVic Pandemic Information

Duty to Accomodate

If the risk of COVID-19 has a particular impact on certain members based on their membership in a protected group under the Human Rights Code (such as if a member is immunocompromised, is elderly, is pregnant or possibly if they are in a caregiving relationship with someone who is at high risk) a duty to accommodate may arise.

In this circumstance, a member should consider requesting an accommodation that limits their risk of acquiring the illness. Please connect with a Labour Relations Officer if you are in this situation.

Mental Health - Employee & Family Assistance Program

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is offered through Lifeworks. EFAP is a confidential program that includes professional counselling, information and referral services.

Access your EFAP through LifeWorks, 24/7:
Call: 1-844-880-9142 
Login: lifeworks.com gives you access to hundreds of articles, tools and resources
Mobile: Download the LifeWorks app on your mobile device app store

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Services include:

Short-term Professional Counselling: provides support for personal and emotional issues.

Specialized Counselling and Online Programs: to assist with career challenges, managing stress, and more.

Family Support Services: provides access to child and eldercare resources.

Naturopathic Services: provide consultation with Naturopathic Doctors.

Legal Support Services: provide consultation with professional lawyers to answer legal questions.

Nutritional Services: offer consultation with Registered Dieticians on any nutritional matter or concern.

Financial Support Services: provide consultation with financial professionals to answer financial questions.

Health Coaching by Registered Nurses: can provide information and advice.

Find more information here: UVic EFAP

Other mental health resources at UVic: UVic Mental Health Resources

Term Employees

Medical and Extended Health Benefits Plans and Dental, Basic Group Life, Optional Group Life: A term employee holding a term appointment for a minimum of three months at 0.50 FTE or more is eligible, on a voluntary basis, to enroll in the Medical and Extended Health Benefits Plans effective from the first of the month following appointment, and in the Dental, Basic Group Life, Optional Group Life after twelve months of continuous service. Term staff who choose to enroll are required to stay in these Plans until the end of their term or contiguous terms on the same cost sharing basis as regular staff members.

For more information please see: Term Employees FAQ

Return to Work 

The Return to Work (RTW) program is a collaborative process involving departments, unions, staff and faculty members at UVic. The program provides a planned approach to returning or remaining at work following an injury or illness, whether occupational or non-occupational.

To contact the RTW program, please call or email the Work Life Consultant responsible for your department.

Find more information here: UVic RTW

Remote Working

As part of return to campus planning, the university is introducing opportunities for staff to continue to work remotely on a part-time, trial basis. Any staff member may apply for a RWA through their supervisor.

Find more information here: UVic Remote Working

Health and Safety Responsibilities When Working From Home

WorkSafeBC has provided guidance on employer and worker responsibilities for ensuring their workspace is healthy and safe.

What are my rights to refuse unsafe work?

We understand that most of you have shifted to working at home while some of you remain in the workplace. This information will apply to members who may be asked to work in an area that they believe to be unsafe.

Under health and safety legislation, employees have the right to refuse unsafe work. This is not specific to potential exposure to COVID-19. A member who makes a work refusal is expected to have reasonable cause to believe that the work at issue puts themself or someone else at risk.

Recommended PEA Member Procedure For Refusing Unsafe Work:

Report the unsafe work condition to your supervisor
Your supervisor must immediately investigate and ensure that any unsafe condition is remedied without delay
Your supervisor must inform you if they consider the reported unsafe condition to be safe.
If you still believe the work is unsafe and decline to carry out the work assigned please contact your PEA Labour Relations Officer to move this process forward.

Further information on this process can be found here:

Refusing unsafe work
OHS Guidelines: Refusal of unsafe work

BC Centre for Disease Control

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is the provincial source of information on COVID-19.

BCCDC provides health promotion and prevention services, and diagnostic and treatment services. They work to reduce communicable and chronic disease, preventable injury and environmental health risks. BCCDC also provides analytical and policy support to government and health authorities.

To find health information about COVID-19 for the public and for health care professionals, and to use the self-assessment tool for COVID-19 testing, visit the BCCDC website.

PEA Office Closure Extended

The PEA’s Victoria office will remain closed until further notice. Staff will continue to work from home and will remain available to our members via email and phone. You can find PEA staff contact information on our website at pea.org/contact-us.

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 nine 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 48 Issue 1

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

The Spring 2022 issue takes a deep dive into the work of GLP members and their work during provincial emergencies.

Read the latest issue



The PEA was formed in 1974 to represent licensed professionals in the BC Public Service. Since then the organization has grown to include a wide range of professionals from across BC. Find our more about our governance, staff and strategic direction.

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