THE BCGEU (BC Government and Service Employees’ Union) is calling on the provincial government to either immediately distribute the stipend promised under the B.C. COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay (TPP) program or provide a firm date when workers will get the long-awaited funds.
“Thousands of our members and other workers across the province have been waiting for this stipend to be paid out for months and these delays are frustrating and unacceptable,” says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “Essential workers are counting on this money to pay their bills, but the TPP was also meant to be recognition of the important contribution they’ve made to get our province through this public health crisis. Delays send the wrong message.”
B.C.’s TPP program was announced in mid-May, more than three months ago. The 16-week period the stipend is meant to apply to ended in early July, almost two months ago. While workers in every province have experienced some delay in getting this much-needed money, workers in B.C. appear to be the only ones still waiting.
There’s no end in sight to the delay. But the delays are not the BCGEU’s only issue with the program.
“The BCGEU pushed hard to get our provincial government to make B.C.’s TPP program the most inclusive in Canada,” said Smith. “And we’re happy that B.C.’s program covers more essential workers than in any other province. But the bottom line for us has always been that the program should cover all frontline essential workers—not just some of them. We aren’t finished working on this.”
Pandemic pay has been a key focus of the BCGEU’s work to support its members through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. BCGEU members have been instrumental in continuing to deliver the essential services British Columbians count on and the BCGEU will continue fighting to get all workers the recognition and support they deserve.
Some of the workers who are currently not eligible for the TPP program include workers in B.C.’s public liquor stores, child care workers, and the provincial enforcement officers enacting the government’s new enforcement measures announced last week. The BCGEU continues to call for all essential frontline workers to be included in the program (see release here).