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Statement re BC General Employees' Union Petition

Friday, April 21, 2023, Territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations/Vancouver B.C. - Vancity issued the following statement in response to a petition being circulated by the BCGEU that includes inaccurate claims about Vancity.

Employee wellbeing and pension

At Vancity, we prioritize the health and wellbeing of our employees, and we take great pride in being recognized as one of Canada’s leading employers. We offer our employees extensive and customizable health and dental benefits, up to 18-months parental leave with 85% of salary, product perks and profit share to ensure their overall wellbeing. To further our commitment to our employees' mental health, we will be providing them with the option to have mental health practitioner benefits to the value of $10,000 per year for themselves and their dependent(s) from July 2023.

Vancity takes very seriously its responsibility to support all employees in having a stable and reliable retirement income, and has done so for many years by offering all employees either a Group RRSP or defined benefit pension plan. In 2020, we set out to expand access to a defined benefit pension plan to all employees. This type of pension plan is only offered by ten per cent of private sector employers in Canada and offers a predictable and stable retirement income. Since then, using employee feedback and working with a team of pension experts, we designed a pension plan that best fit the needs of Vancity employees. It went into effect on January 1, 2023, and we have now enrolled a majority of employees into a defined benefit pension.

There is an outstanding legal disagreement with the BCGEU over how this new plan should be governed. The BCGEU has been seeking to serve as the sole employee voice in governing the new pension plan, even though it represents less than 30% of Vancity employees.

Vancity remains committed to having BCGEU members participate in the new pension plan. However, until this dispute is resolved, Vancity employees who are BCGEU members are unable to join the new pension plan. BCGEU members remain eligible to participate in the existing pension plan with no change to their pension entitlements.

Board nominations and elections

As a member-owned cooperative, Vancity’s members have a say in how our credit union is governed, and Vancity members shape the credit union’s direction and future by electing board members every year.

The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), an agency of the Provincial Government responsible for regulating credit unions in British Columbia, requires all credit unions to use a recommendation process for electing members of the board. Vancity's Nominations and Election Committee, which is made up of a majority of Vancity members-at-large, conducts a rigorous interview and assessment process with all prospective candidates and makes recommendations based on candidates who possess the skills, attributes, and experience in accordance with Vancity’s Desired Director Attributes and Experience. This includes recommending candidates that:

  • best complement and strengthen the existing board;
  • are most consistent with Vancity's values and principles; and
  • are able to fulfil the fiduciary duties required of the board.

Despite these recommendations, ultimately, it is Vancity’s members who decide who is elected to the board through their votes. More information about Vancity’s Board Election can be found online here and voting for the 2023 elections runs until April 28, 2023.

Media Relations
T: 778-837-0394

Background Information

  • Vancity has offered all employees the choice of either a defined benefit pension plan or Group RRSP for over two decades.
  • Vancity has 2,727 employees. The BCGEU represents 805 employees (less than 30% of Vancity’s employees).
  • Only 10% of private sector employers in Canada provide access to a defined benefit pension plan. A defined benefit pension plan offers employees a predictable and stable retirement income, not bound by market fluctuations.
  • Vancity is one of the largest private-sector Living Wage employers in Canada, and a founding member of the Living Wage Campaign. The Living Wage Campaign ensures all employees receive or exceed the living wage required for two working parents to meet the basic needs of their family and contribute to their communities.
  • In 2022, Vancity provided all employees with a 2% lump sum award, and a 3% cost of living annual base salary increase, in addition to the regular annual merit increases and profit share.
  • Vancity supports employees with young families through maternity and parental leave top-up payments (85% of salary), for up to 18 months.
  • Vancity provides generous and customizable health benefits to employees including extended health, dental, life insurance, accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, disability benefits, and, effective July 2023, the option of $10,000 for mental health practitioner benefits.
  • Vancity was named as a Top Employer for both Canada and BC for 2023, as well as Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employer.
  • Vancity is one of the largest funders of union-sponsored initiatives in BC, including research, education and advocacy, and skills-training and certification programs. In 2022, Vancity provided over $1.5 million to labour-affiliated projects.