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BURNABY–The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE BC) is joining its voice with other critics of the BCSPCA and calling for the resignation of the current BCSPCA Board of directors.

Mark Hancock, acting president of CUPE BC, today announced that CUPE will be undertaking an information campaign to inform British Columbians of the just how important it is that the BCSPCA become more accountable to members and front-line staff.

In CUPEs campaign, says Hancock, We will be calling on citizens throughout the province to demand that a new BCSPCA board open up its books to scrutiny, obtain an official auditrequired by the BC act governing the organizationand renew its respect for members, staff and most particularly to the animals in need.

Hancock also indicated that the public awareness campaign will encourage concerned citizens to bring food and toys to the animal shelters during the holidays and offer to walk the dogs or play with other animals. These tangible donations reach the animals directly and arent used to pay off severance packages or start up marketing campaigns that dont directly benefit the animals or the public.

The BCSPCA in a recent press release announced that it was laying off 28 front-line workers and cited union wages as a problem. They failed to mention the scandalous wages paid to an increasing senior management staff. And while they refer to management layoffs they omitted the fact that this charitable organization has paid out in excess of $800,000 in severance packages alone in the last couple of years. says Hancock.

Among jobs eliminated are the employees specifically designated to provide night emergency services in the Lower Mainland even though these jobs are funded through municipal by-law enforcement contracts. Animal control contracts have provided a base of financial support to the work of the SPCA for years in addition to ensuring that cruelty and other calls related to the mistreatment of domestic animals are handled expeditiously said Hancock. We think the public will share workers concern that the BCSPCA is diverting money away from animal care by using private veterinarians instead of their own hospital and are closing publicly sponsored shelters, letting them go private in some locations. Were calling on the public to voice their objections to these practices by demanding the boards resignation.

Hancock made it clear that he is speaking on behalf of members who have been silenced. Unfortunately, in todays BC, whistle blowers are not tolerated. said Hancock. And an organization as closed and unaccountable as the current BCSPCA is particularly vulnerable to criticism by those closest to its operation. Some former BCSPCA members who have been publicly critical have even had memberships rescinded.

The way in which the BCSPCA is currently treating its staff and membership calls into question other programs it is trying to get off the ground like its BCSPCA certified program. Why should the public trust the BCSPCAs designations, says Hancock, when it is at the same time putting animals at risk by cutting off the very services that people who support the program depend on. Marketing programs need to be backed by solid reputation. BCSPCA has been putting their reputation and the animals they care for at risk for some time. Its time for concerned people to step in.


Louise Leclair
CUPE communications representative