July 15, 2021
As you are aware, the nominations for delegates to Convention is now open. Unfortunately, every year at Convention, we have delegate seats go unfilled. Every seat that remains empty is a lost opportunity for our membership to have their voices heard, to exercise their rights of membership and to provide our Executive with direction. The importance of the position of delegate to Convention cannot be overstated. Put quite simply, our union requires the engagement of members to be successful.
What is the APBC Convention and why is it so important?
In order to explain the importance of the delegate position, it is important to understand what business is conducted at Convention.
Our APBC Convention is held annually every October. The length of Convention varies, alternating every year between two-day and three-day conventions. Convention 2021 is a three-day convention.
An agenda is produced every year for Convention and provides an excellent idea of what a delegate can expect from Convention. Agendas from previous years, along with reports can be found on our website: https://www.apbc.ca/members-area/information/convention/.
In addition to the reports provided to Convention every year from the Provincial Executive Committee and Standing Committees, two very significant and important events happen: elections and resolutions.
Every year at Convention, there will be elections. Calls for nominations go out in advance in accordance with our bylaws. As most terms for positions tend to be two years, every second year sees a larger volume of elections, and this coincides with the longer three-day convention. The importance of elections should speak for themselves – elections determine who will lead our union. Each delegate to Convention participates in the election process. An all-candidates forum is held at Convention prior to elections and provides candidates an opportunity to speak to their platform, and delegates an opportunity to ask questions. A call for nominations for all positions eligible for election at Convention 2021 will go out to the membership on July 21st.
Resolutions provide direction to our union Executive. Through bylaw, policy and negotiation resolutions, the membership can directly impact and influence the business of the Union.
- Bylaw Resolution Bylaws are the policies and procedures that govern the Union body. There are National bylaws outlined in the CUPE Constitution, which apply to all of CUPE National. There are also local bylaws, which apply only to local 873. The bylaws of local 873 can be amended, and new by-laws can be introduced through a ‘bylaw resolution’. Current APBC bylaws can be found on our website: https://www.apbc.ca/members-area/information/bylaws-and-constitution/
- Policy Resolution Policy resolutions can be broader than bylaws, and give general guidance to the Union. Current APBC policies can be found on our website: https://www.apbc.ca/members-area/information/bylaws-and-constitution/
- Negotiation Resolutions Negotiation resolutions give direction to our Negotiating Committee when engaged in collective bargaining. The proposals our Negotiating Committee puts forward to the employer during collective bargaining are developed from the resolutions passed at Convention.
All three types of resolutions are debated and then voted on at Convention. How our union operates, our union priorities, our strategies, our approach, etc., are all governed and determined through the resolutions carried at Convention. There is no more tangible and direct impact of the membership on the business of the Union than the debate and voting on resolutions to Convention. All delegates to Convention participate in the debate and voting process on resolutions.
As a delegate to Convention, what are my responsibilities?
Delegates to Convention represent their region at Convention. They are the voice of the membership. Once elected, it is important that delegates reach out to the membership in their region and make themselves available to hear concerns and engage in discussion on important topics, such as elections and resolutions. Regional Vice Presidents should arrange a regional membership meeting prior to Convention to bring together delegates and membership for such engagement to occur.
Our bylaws ensure that delegates to Convention fairly represent our membership base. This is outlined in bylaw 14.3 found here: https://bit.ly/3i4yrUq. By region, entitlements for full-time, regular part-time and on-call delegates are determined through a formula that ensures representation at Convention reflects proportionately the different employment statuses. Regular part-time and full-time are grouped together as they share the same entitlements within the Collective Agreement.
At Convention, delegates are responsible for representing the interests of the membership through participation through democratic processes that allow each and every attendee of Convention to have their voice heard. Delegates are able to ask questions of the Executive in response to the reports, participate in elections, make motions, debate and vote on resolutions. Through regional caucuses, they connect with other delegates to ensure their regions needs are identified and addressed.
Following Convention, as per our bylaws, delegates are to submit a written report for the membership to the Provincial Recording Secretary within one month of the close of Convention.
Regional Vice Presidents (RVP) ensure they are available to support delegates in their roles during Convention. If you have questions about the roles and responsibilities, you can reach out to your RVP (https://www.apbc.ca/members-area/contacts/regional-vice-presidents/).
Could I be a delegate to Convention?
The short answer is – yes! I have yet to meet a paramedic or dispatcher in our organization who didn’t have some thoughts on how we could make our service and our union better. Convention is a place where those thoughts and ideas could become a reality – but only if those ideas and thoughts get brought forward, debated, and voted on. If you are passionate about our ambulance service, about the work paramedics and dispatchers do, about how our union is run and how decisions are made – then you should definitely consider putting your name forward as a delegate.
If you are not quite ready to have your name stand for nomination, or you unable to commit the time away to participate as a delegate – you can still get involved. Nominate someone to represent your region as a delegate. And when the time comes, vote for the delegates you want to see represent you and your region.
Information about nominations and elections can be found on our website:
Other Frequently Asked Questions and Important Things to Know:
- If a delegate position does not get filled through the nomination process (i.e., an insufficient number of valid nominations are received to fulfill the delegate entitlement for the region) the seat cannot later be filled through appointments or by an alternate (as per bylaw 13.a10). This is why it is so important to make sure you nominate others or have someone nominate you and fill all those delegate seats.
- If a delegate is elected to Convention, but moves to a new region prior to Convention, they are no longer able to attend as a delegate and an alternate will be used to replace them at Convention. Delegates must represent the region they were elected in as members of that region. If a delegate laterals to a new station but is still within the same region they can attend Convention as an elected delegate. If a delegate changes their employment status (from full-time/regular part-time to on-call or vice versa) between being elected as a delegate and attending Convention, they are no longer able to attend as an elected delegate.
- Members who intend to let their names stand for election for delegate to Convention can submit a biography to the membership on our website: https://www.apbc.ca/members-area/elections/submit-a-candidate-biography/. Please note the important information regarding biographies:
- Biographies must be submitted before the election start date.
- IMPORTANT: After submission, please check your email to ensure a complete / accurate copy of your submission was sent back to you. If you do not receive this email, please contact us to confirm your submission.
- Your biography must speak to your own suitability to the position, and not about the suitability of any other candidates. Biography must be 250 words or less. You may include a photo. (Ensure file size is under 1MB)
- Elected delegates are entitled to TMA and shift coverage to attend Convention. Information will be sent out prior to Convention on how to secure accommodation and travel and submit for expenses.
- You do not have to be a delegate to attend Convention. Members at large in good standing with the union are welcome to attend Convention. A member at large cannot vote in elections or on motions or resolutions, but they will have an opportunity to speak to motions, resolutions etc. Once the speaker list of delegates has been exhausted. Members at large are not eligible for TMA or shift coverage to attend Convention. (A reminder that any in person events will still be subject to PHO orders and possible restrictions for event size may affect how members at large are permitted to attend.
In summary, the above information is intended to help provide some insight not only into the role of a delegate to Convention, but also the importance of that role. Please, do not hesitate to reach out to your RVP, shop steward or any member of the Provincial Executive Board if you have questions about Convention, resolutions to Convention or the delegate position. The deadline for nominations for delegates to Convention is August 25th.
Provincial Recording Secretary
Ambulance Paramedics of BC
CUPE Local 873
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