Panel should also review ministry's oversight capacity says union
VANCOUVER, Aug. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The B.C. Government and Service
Employees' Union (BCGEU) issued a statement supporting an independent
third party investigation into the Mount Polley mine disaster today,
and urged the expert panel to consider the impact of staffing cuts on
the ministry's ability to provide oversight of industry.
"The BCGEU welcomes an independent third party investigation of the
Mount Polley disaster," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "The
public and our members need to know that the process will be open,
transparent and fair.
"We are also encouraged that the dam safety inspections ordered by
government will now require an independent third party review process.
Until today, there has been no requirement for an independent review of
these industry-created safety reports."
Deep cuts to government services beginning in 2002 resulted in steep
declines in inspections, compliance and enforcement. Since 2000,
Ministry of Energy and Mines staffing levels have dropped by more than
36 per cent.
"Our members do an incredible job with very limited resources," said
Smith. "Even the minister himself noted that staffing levels in
resource ministries are inadequate to properly serve the public."
In 2010, minister Bennett was quoted saying, "The fundamental problem
facing the natural resource ministries is they're underfunded. We work
the heck out of them [employees] and we don't have enough funds… to do
the work that actually leads to the majority of revenue that comes into
The BCGEU, which represents Ministry of Energy and Mines workers will
provide on-going representation and support for members affected by the
SOURCE: B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Contact Chris Bradshaw at 604-369-8411