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    • 28 JUL 21
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    Solidarity with Workers

    Colin Jones, FSA President

    For many of us, summer triggers time off or down time, but it is important for all of us as BCITFSA members to remember that even when some of us have chunks of time off (not all members do!) in the summer, work continues – both at BCIT and around the province.

    Recent tragedies remind us that work can be dangerous and that we must continue to advocate for increased safety and protections in the working conditions of British Columbians.

    We join the BC Federation of Labour in their statement about the dreadful and devastating crane collapse on a worksite in Kelowna. Our BCGEU colleagues at BCIT have deep connections and ties to the construction industry and we join them in mourning the lives lost. You can find out more about the BCFED’s work on health & safety here.

    Ariel photo of a forest fire near Lytton, BC

    Credit: FSA Member, Steve Finn

    We are also thinking of the numerous workers around BC who are battling the many forest fires. These fires have disastrous implications for both our climate and our health, and we are conscious that they are being fought by dedicated and skilled professionals. We contacted FSA member, Steve Finn, to let him know that we are thinking of him and the many other workers who do so much to fight on the frontlines of this disaster. Steve shared with us a photo he took during a recent flyover and shared with us how upsetting it is that so many people are being affected by both the fires and the related smoke. Steve shared some tips for all of us to support the firefighting efforts:

    • Don’t travel at present. Many roads and highways are closed or can close at a moment’s notice.
    • Report any smoke or fires that you see. *5555 on cell phones. Don’t assume that someone else has reported it.
    • Of course, don’t smoke in areas that it is not allowed. Don’t throw any butts out the window. Still, too many fires are human-caused. Have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and/or carry bottles of water.
    • Have a go bag ready, even in areas of the Lower Mainland in the wildland urban interface. Vancouver is incredibly dry at the moment. As of mid-July, Vancouver had received only 381 mm of precipitation. Normal year-to-date is 577 mm.

    No post about work can go without mentioning health care workers around this province. While many of us are enjoying the reduction of public health protocols related to the pandemic, health care workers are still at the front lines of vaccination efforts, caring for those still impacted by the virus, and supporting the many people who have lost loved ones. Many of those very health care workers are BCIT graduates, faculty, and staff and I know that I am constantly in awe of what this sector has done, and continues to do, for all of us.

    When acknowledging people and their work, I am aware that I will also leave many deserving people out if I attempt to be comprehensive but, as your president, I want to make sure to tell you clearly how much I appreciate the work that each of you do – in the summer and year-round. BCIT graduates enter the workforces of so many crucial industries around BC and that is because of your work. Your work sustains this institute and post-secondary plays an essential role in not only the economy but the safety and sustainability of our communities and the province. Thank you, and please join me in thanking workers around BC by continuing to advocate for increased workplace safety measures, protecting our forests, and continuing to put our collective health first as we move into the next stage of this ongoing pandemic.

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