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Should government employees get paid leave to volunteer at the Olympics?

The B.C. government is offering partially-paid leave to its 30,000 public servants if they volunteer for the 2010 Olympics, according to reports on Thursday.

As part of the plan, B.C. government employees who are accepted by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) as volunteers will be able to claim part of the time as vacation time, and the other part as paid leave.

Colin Hansen, the minister responsible for the Olympics, said no extra money will be spent on the program and all government ministries will have to work out arrangements with employees within their normal operating budgets. Full Story

What do you think of this plan?

Do you think it's fair for B.C. government employees to get paid leave to volunteer at the games?

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Comments: (99)

Shaun (Northern_BC) wrote:

This is a terrible misuse of tax payer's money. Government employees generally receive far more holiday time than those in the private sector and should use it if they wish to donate their time to volunteer for the Olympics. If a private organization chooses to allow employees to volunteer on company time, that decision directly impacts their bottom line and is thus a business decision. If the provincial government feels that it is necessary to pay people to ensure the Games run smoothly there are thousands of people who would gladly take the work while being paid a reasonable wage. This would at least be much more transparent than hiding costs via use of public service employees.

Posted March 12, 2008 11:19 AM

James (Burnaby) wrote:

I am disturbed by the amount of vitriol directed at civil servants in this thread. Union pigs at the trough that do 20% of the work of people in the private sector? Based on what. Collective bargaining has brought all of you jerks the standard of living you enjoy, whether you are in a union or not. Do you think you would get even one week of vacation a year without the history of labour activism? Nope, you'd all be Bob Cratchit, begging for one more lump of coal. Learn some history and get real.
Don't take out your petty resentment on people who work hard for you, such as nurses. They have a right to use the limited tools they have to fight against employers who want to roll them back and lower standards of care. And you morons make the government's job so easy. All they have to do is sit back and refuse to negotiate, and your stupidity will do the rest.
By the way, I am not in a union and never have been. I am opposed to the paid volunteer program, and not just because it's an oxymoron. I just get tired of the mindless hate that spews forth here.

Posted March 7, 2008 08:59 AM

Dont Panic (Vancouver) wrote:

This is a good idea.

This will ensure that many of the volunteers will be competent people of working age.

Although I'm sure many of the regular volunteers will be good.
But, I think having a good percentage of people not being under 20 or over 60 years old can only help the Olympics run smoother then without. Especially when some of these people will have experience in areas like large event operations.

I was planning on taking 2 weeks vacation time to be a volunteer for 2010 and I still plan too, but if I could volunteer for 2 weeks and only use 1 week vacation, that would be great. I only get 3 as it is.

Posted February 18, 2008 10:21 AM

bctaxpayer () wrote:

NO WAY. What part of VOLUNTEER don't you understand?

Posted February 18, 2008 09:09 AM

Ana Lise (Vancouver) wrote:

I wonder what the volunteer policy would be for govt workers who volunteer outside of the Vancouver 2010 games. Does the staff person who's been volunteering at the local food bank every Monday morning get to do so on company time or is that considered 'vacation time'?

When a company as a collectiver organization decides to donate 5 hours of their day to help build a Habitat for Humanity project - is that considered "community goodwill" and paid time or special leave time?

I think this is a terrific example of what we define as "volunteer" work. For years, many Canadians have been doing "unpaid" (and I'd add "undervalued" and "unappreciated") work as volunteers. Now that the government has put a value/price on it, it's casting a negative light not only on the recruitment of volunteers for VANOC, but for those companies who have a policy of volunteering as part of their perks (another way for professional development, a gesture of goodwill, etc.).

I look forward, with interest, to see how this dialogue will continue.

Posted February 18, 2008 08:36 AM

MLC (Prince_George_BC) wrote:

In a word? Nope.

Posted February 18, 2008 05:05 AM

EricB (Vancouver) wrote:

No, this not a good idea. It's probably well-intentioned but at best it's a thoughtless waste of taxpayers' money. If people want to volunteer, let them do so in the spirit of giving. There will be no shortage of true volunteers.

I'm amused that the government reps say there's no cost to this. No cost to them, perhaps... it's not their money. I have no problem with a private company donating their employees to any volunteer cause, and many do. They have to answer to their shareholders for the costs incurred. In the case of government work, the shareholders- you and me - can't be consulted and have no recourse if we disagree, which makes the proposition untenable. It should not be considered.

Posted February 17, 2008 08:01 PM

Nicole () wrote:

The last time I checked the dictionary, the definition of volunterr did not state "and shall recieve payment for such rendered services" anywhere. If you . as an individual would like to volunteer, out of the spirit of the games, than do so. If you are so daft as to expect payment to volunteer, or in this case to pay in order for others to volunteer, then you are in fact not volunteering, but are on the payroll. I know this is all confusing, but that is what happens when the gov'ment gets involved. As a resident of this beautiful province, I'd rather that the government left the volunteering to the "professionals", and just stuck to seeing what other astronomical taxes they can stick onto our already over-taxed (carbon tax, I mean really, I drive a 3 cylinder) gas prices. (Please note, the previous staement is to be read as bitingly sarcastic).

Posted February 17, 2008 06:02 PM

Ron (Pritchard______BC) wrote:

Like hell they should!The highest percentage of civil servants, be they municipal,provincial or federal,perform at 20% of the production level of employeees in private industry and business.

Posted February 17, 2008 03:35 PM

retired (Van) wrote:

What do you expect, the people in this province continue to turn their backs on what the gov't does .so the gov't does what is likes. Until such times as enough people get tired of all the crap and decide to do something,it will continue.Remember when the nurses unions almost shut down the province,that got the attention of the IDIOTS in Victoria.Until the people demand that workers shut down this province, Campbell and his cronies will continue to bleed us dry,and the cronies in Ottawa as well.So unless you are willing to email, phone or do whatever and get together to stop this kind of crap,it will continue.By the way, I do email and call MLA's on a regular basis to let them know they are doing a lousy job of sitting on their butts.

Posted February 16, 2008 09:49 PM

Mary (Qualicum_Beach) wrote:

Yes government employees should be paid. All the people working at the Games should be paid. If we can't afford to pay the workers we can't afford the games.

Posted February 16, 2008 08:34 PM

Carolyne () wrote:

Of course not!!!

Posted February 16, 2008 07:30 PM

sherry (vancouver) wrote:

how about no. Why should the gov't be able to double dip? that might be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I thought volunteering was an unpaid gesture....kind of means they aren't volunteering doesn't it?

Posted February 16, 2008 06:42 PM

Karen (Victoria) wrote:

I really don't think that the Campbell government knows the difference between the terms 'volunteer' and 'paid workers'. This is a real slap in the face for all those who REALLY volunteered for the Games and didn't expect to be paid.

Another very disconcerting thing is that the pay these government workers will be getting is not going to be factored into the 'cost of the Olympics'.

This is more sleight of hand by the current government and still another strike against the mounting criticisms of the Games.

Posted February 16, 2008 05:50 PM

Wm Manchulenko (Winnipeg) wrote:

I thought you had a progresive goverment , not aa NDP goverment , just goes to show how many volunteers are getting a free ride and others have to pay their way in LOTUS LAND

Posted February 16, 2008 02:50 PM

JJ (Victoria) wrote:

For those of you saying "Next time I'll vote NDP" uhh.. I guess you missed the part where the NDP did the same thing? This isn't a 'Campbell and the Liberals' issue. What I'm really wondering is if anyone will actually notice when all the government employees are taking paid time off to 'volunteer' for the Olympics. My guess is that it won't make much difference, given the miniscule amount of work that these union happy government pigs at the trough do in an average 'work day'.

Posted February 16, 2008 11:09 AM

Philip (Victoria) wrote:

I think that it is a good incentive that Government employees volunteer. Without this incentive, governemtn employees use their vacation and go to the Olympics as a spectator. With the incentive, the employee still uses their vacation(1 week) and is given an additional week to volunteer for 1 week and work for one week at the olympics. It's not really a vacation. They are at the games volunteering. Whoopee! Imagine standing at a door all day for 2 weeks, when they could be attending events as a spectator. In reality, the government is saying, let all your work pile up back at the office and go work at the olympics, and use your vacation. When you get back to work, deal with your pile. How many people want to sit in a ticket booth all day, or scrub toilets or secure a door, shovel snow. It's not all cracked up to what it sounds like. If you ask me, the olympics are the winners if this goes through.

Posted February 15, 2008 10:08 PM

Chris (Vancouver) wrote:

I don't understand why with 25,000 volunteer positions, and 100,000 expected applicants, how there is any need for financial incentives for government employees to volunteer. It's non-sensical.

Posted February 15, 2008 09:26 PM

Scott (Duncan) wrote:

Absolutely ridiculous! Paid by me to have an extra two weeks off to play in addition to their regular holidays...

I do not like it at all.

Posted February 15, 2008 08:04 PM

tom (van_island) wrote:

If this is so that goverment employies get payed I will not take part in volintering

Posted February 15, 2008 07:27 PM

D. Gallas (Gulf_Island) wrote:

I too am a working single mother; and I'm just disgusted at the way taxpayer's money is being sucked up by these Olympics, meanwhile BC has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada.

Posted February 15, 2008 07:04 PM

Todd (Victoria) wrote:

I'm a Govt employee. Liberal politicans stating to utilize us as volunters is just political reteric to degrage and isolate govt employees. This is just crap.

Posted February 15, 2008 06:29 PM

Katharine Harris (Salt_Spring_Island) wrote:

I think it would be wrong and unfair for govt. employees to get paid leave to volunteer. Everyone else takes their own time, probably quite often at a fair bit of expense to have the satisfaction of taking part in this event. Too opften the govt. looks after it's own people too well while the rest of us pay for it. I'm quite sure many of those civil servants make a good enough wage and have plenty of benifits to allow them to donate their time.

Posted February 15, 2008 06:02 PM

Dougie (Coquitlam) wrote:

Michael - I've received lots of cheques from the government. They've all been in the form of interest free repayment of yearly loans I give the government (also known as a 'Tax Return' to some - see, I've been to school too! ). I've also received a GST cheque from time to time. Again, this is usually based on me providing the Gov with a yearly interest-free loan via payroll deductions so they can afford the ever-increasing cost of benefits that our civil servants have in their CBA.

Are you insinuating that the rest of the population is freeloading?

Because I don't even think "irony" would begin to describe that.

I wish some of these Civil Servants could come up with an honest, legitimate reason for this volunteer "policy."

Though, it does tell you what your bosses think of your work when they're willing to pay you to go away for a week.

Posted February 15, 2008 04:46 PM

Veronica Dolenc (Vancouver) wrote:

I spend ALOT of time volunteering at the schools my children attend, their soccer teams and the local freestyle ski club. I can attest that getting people to volunteer their time is not easy. However, I can also attest to the fact that each of these groups struggles to raise money to deliver their services. The boards of these groups dream of having paid personnel replace their hundreds of hours of volunteer time. Rather than pay government employees, with no particular or relevant experience, why not ask the thousands of not for profits to get volunteers and, in exchange, pay their organizations for their time. Seems to me this would do much more to promote sports and education than paying government employees.

Posted February 15, 2008 04:44 PM

KD (White_Rock__ish) wrote:

By all means let anyone, at any time use their own time-off to do whatever turns their crank. If volunteering for the Olympics is it - have fun. Under NO circumstances is it okay for the provincial government to pay employees to volunteer! If the games can't get enough volunteer help and needs more warm bodies, hire people and pay a competitive wage... no subsidies, no "deals" just use the job and volunteer marketplace like any other legitimate organization.

Posted February 15, 2008 04:33 PM

B Graham (Maple_Ridge_BC_) wrote:

I think the suggestion that B.C. government employees will be paid to "volunteer" for the Olympic Games is appalling. This is just one more way of hiding the true cost of these Games. This is yet another instance of getting the taxpayers to pay, and pay, and pay. Will it never end?

Posted February 15, 2008 02:43 PM

Denise (Vancouver) wrote:

I am in favor of the government and employers of BC doing anything they can to improve the quality of workplaces in BC. This is especially true when the government and other employers are facing challenges to retain skilled workers in a climate of shortages. Happy workers with excellent job satisfaction are more productive, stay at jobs longer and have less absenteeism. I think all employers should take the governments lead and provide innovative approaches to their Human Resources challenges.

Posted February 15, 2008 01:57 PM

Stan (Burnaby) wrote:

Michelle - you're missing the point. You have to take 2 weeks vacation. A gov't employee only needs to take 1, but still gets paid to miss a second week. There's still vacation time left over that doesn't get used up. So no, it's not the same thing.

Ann - if that's the kind of spelling that our Government workers use, no thanks, I'll keep my job.

Posted February 15, 2008 01:52 PM

Michael (Beyond_Hope) wrote:

It would seem that the majority of the people who are dead set against this feel that it is not fair to taxpayers. I wonder how many people who have ever received a cheque or benefit from a Provincial or Federal Government (ie GST, Universal child care or those rebates to help offset the rising natural gas costs a few years back) at the cost to other taxpayers, sent the money back?

Posted February 15, 2008 01:28 PM

Carolyn S. (Dawson_Creek_BC) wrote:

No, they should not be paid.
A) It's VOLUNTEER work, therefore it is UNPAID work.
B) I don't get paid to be a volunteer, why should they?

Posted February 15, 2008 12:17 PM

Bob H (Coquitlam) wrote:

I agree, to get the brightest and the best, you have to pay. Unfortunately Gov't Employees are not known to fit that criteria. I have been against this unneeded expense since day one. The billions spent on this 2 week political party could have been spent where it is really needed, Health Care and affordable housing. As a person who has voted Liberal in this Province since I was able to vote,I will vote Liberal no longer, this latest heap of crap has seen to that. The people of BC should boycott and demonstrate against this event and show Campbell and his stooges what we really think of them. The demonstrations should start now, and the boycott when the games are in full swing. The best demonstration of all, will be voting Campbell & Co out of office come the next election. Perhaps when we get rid of Campbell we can also get rid of TransLink at the same time. This whole mess is at the expense of the Tax payers of BC, so lets show the World what we think. Campbell & Co don't like or take embarrassment very well, so lets embarrass them. Do not buy venue tickets. BOYCOTT BOYCOTT BOYCOTT

Posted February 15, 2008 11:39 AM

Bob H (Coquitlam) wrote:

I agree, to get the brightest and the best, you have to pay. Unfortunately Gov't Employees are not known to fit that criteria. I have been against this unneeded expense since day one. The billions spent on this 2 week political party could have been spent where it is really needed, Health Care and affordable housing. As a person who has voted Liberal in this Province since I was able to vote,I will vote Liberal no longer, this latest heap of crap has seen to that. The people of BC should boycott and demonstrate against this event and show Campbell and his stooges what we really think of them. The demonstrations should start now, and the boycott when the games are in full swing. The best demonstration of all, will be voting Campbell & Co out of office come the next election. Perhaps when we get rid of Campbell we can also get rid of TransLink at the same time. This whole mess is at the expense of the Tax payers of BC, so lets show the World what we think. Campbell & Co don't like or take embarrassment very well, so lets embarrass them. Do not buy venue tickets. BOYCOTT BOYCOTT BOYCOTT

Posted February 15, 2008 11:01 AM

Andy (Dawson_Creek) wrote:

I lived in Calgary in 1988, I was an Olympic volunteer. Most private companies had a simular program to the one proposed by the BC government. I'm not sure if the Alberta government did the same .

Posted February 15, 2008 10:30 AM

adam (Vancouver) wrote:

I've registered my name with the volunteer recruitment program for 2010, but now I'm about to reconsider that offer, knowing that some volunteers beside me will be actually getting paid - and that's with my taxes, to be precise. The organizers of 2010 just can't stop reminding us that the whole event is about transferring vast amounts of public money into private hands, and who's getting the short end of the stick.
If this idea is not abandoned, an extended trip out of town in February 2010 will be a far better option.

Posted February 15, 2008 10:12 AM

Paul (Victoria) wrote:

This is crazy! I had already filled out the volunteer application online. I work as a Consultant and figured that I would make the sacrifice to take almost 2 months off - with no earnings (not even vacation time) - to be part of something special and work with others thinking the same thing.
And now our government undermines the entire concept of volunteering by allow the real volunteers the 'privilege' of working alongside a paid BC Government employee!
I'm ashamed to admit I voted Liberal...With inane moves like this, I think the Liberals will successfully get themselves ousted from office at the next election. Then maybe they can volunteer to be our Soup Kitchen, homeless shelter, needle exchange volunteers?

And for Colin Hansen to use the line, "Well the NDP did it in '94 with the Commonwealth Games" is just plain petty. Regardless of what happened in '94, this is now: Just because people smoked 40 years ago (not fully appreciating the health implications) doesn't mean that it's still a fine, relaxing pursuit today.

Posted February 15, 2008 09:41 AM

andrew (burnaby) wrote:

gov.employees should not be paid or allowed to work at 2010 Olympic.
No such as "volunteers" should work for free, gov. should pay at least min. wage for people working at 2010. Are we getting anything for free from governement ???

Posted February 15, 2008 09:20 AM

Leslie Nelson (Vancouver_BC) wrote:

Gordon Campbell is treating the government of BC as his own private corporation which he can do whatever he wishes with. Paying someone to volunteer is not volunteer work!! There are many people who do not have the security and cushie jobs which many civic employees enjoy. My personal experience with government offices is frustration because many of them don't perform well in the workplace to begin with. Now we the taxpayers are going to pay out millions of dollars to these already over paid workers to volunteer!! Is Gordon Campbell going to pay the other volunteer workers the same dollars he is offering civic employees. I urge all volunteers to boycott the games and not offer to volunteer until this rediculous offer is withdrawn.

Posted February 15, 2008 09:12 AM

Sheila (Prince_George_BC) wrote:

Wow! I can't believe that the gov't is going to pay people to volunteer. But better yet, its me that's going to be paying them, yet if I want to volunteer I lose my wage and pay them. Sounds like a double loss to me. Go figure.

Posted February 15, 2008 07:58 AM

B Smith (Greater_Vancouver) wrote:

Let me get this straight: as if government departments weren't inneficient enough, we are going to financially support government employees to not do their job -- officially. Nice.

What possible rationale can anyone supply for this utterly preposterous misuse of public funds. These are volunteer positions that would easily have been filled FOR FREE. But instead we have chosen to spend public funds to fill the positions anyway.

I wonder how many hundreds of dollars we are each contributing toward sending government employees to see the games. Remember, fellow taxpayers -- WE ARE ALL PAYING FOR THIS.

Posted February 15, 2008 02:29 AM

Mike (Kelowna) wrote:

This is not right but that is my view. Agree or disagree you need to share your views with your elected MLA. As a former Government employee I am embarassed by the suggestion. Minister Hansen show some leadership and admit that you have errored, reverse your decision. Believe me you will garner greater support come election time...

Posted February 14, 2008 11:18 PM

Ann (Vancouver) wrote:

It sounds like some of you wish you worked for the province.

Well it's your lucky day: THERE'RE HIRING!!!!


Posted February 14, 2008 10:04 PM

Joyce M. (Vancouver) wrote:

It is appalling.It isn't enough they get paid as much as thye do with self chosen raises while the rest of the province are struggling with basics like a roof over their heads, food and clothing,inadequate resources in schools, condemned partially schools,rsing Translink fares where meetings are held in secreat..now this..for the love of life..couldn't there jobs get much easier..no doubt with their volunteering comes free tickets as well..which of course are well out of the range of most BC families to afford..yea another great idea..gee wouldn't be surprised if they also get fudning for stress leave after they've completed their paid volunteering..

Posted February 14, 2008 08:40 PM



Posted February 14, 2008 08:32 PM

m (northern_bc) wrote:

More deception by Campbell and gang. Too bad you had to get caught. What a scam!

Posted February 14, 2008 08:15 PM

Anonymous () wrote:

Yes! Citizens constantly criticize govt employees for their lack of quality service and knowledge. Why??? The best and the brightest would never want to work in the public sector. Who would you want to work for a employer that could never reward you for being actively engaged or a job well done due to fear of public assault.Maybe if we start to treat those public servants with a little more thanks and recognition we can achieve all those things that make everyone so enraged.

Why not start to spend our tax dollars right. Lets attract employees that actually want to work for your tax money. Sometimes these things require perks, just like in any major corporation.

So yes a small reward to those who everyday get out of bed to serve you, their fellow British Columbians, only ever to get kicked in the back for a job well done.

Posted February 14, 2008 06:56 PM

Michelle (Vancouver) wrote:

I plan to take two weeks vacation time in order to volunteer my time, so I'm technically getting "paid" too. What's the big deal?

Posted February 14, 2008 05:47 PM

Daniel Pearce (Prince_George) wrote:

Like others have posted volunteer means no pay. The idea that the Olympics should run while civil servants from B.C. stop there services to the province and "volunteer" at the Olympics for their wage is absurd. Citizens of the B.C. obviously need to help guide the Liberal Governments decision making processes because evidently their plans of making the rich richer, and the poor poorer is going in a new direction of paying some volunteers and not paying others. Plain ridiculous, lets put this one with the ‘lovely’ mascots, and the ‘great’ idea of asking people to work different hours or not leave their homes while the Olympics is occurring. Nice job Gordo.

Posted February 14, 2008 04:50 PM

Karen (Vancouver) wrote:

Absolutely NOT unless they get paid for 'all volunteer activities'. Are you telling me that working for the games is more important than volunteering for the food shelters, United Way, A Loving Spoonful, etc???
If they are highly skilled employees, their services could be used other places as a volunteer as well, and the employee should have the right to decide which services they would like to contribute their efforts too.
I am a highly skilled member of the private sector and have already volunteered to help at the games. This is somewhat insulting as the governement thinks their skills are more highly valued than mine. If they are paying people to volunteer, they should pay ALL Volunteers, even those of us in the private sector.

Posted February 14, 2008 04:47 PM

Dana (Trail_BC) wrote:

Absolutely NOT!!!! Give me a break. I am a single, working mother. I cannot in any way attend the Olympics other than by watching on my television. Pay me to attend, I WOULD LOVE TO!!! Oh, and volunteer does not in any way include monetary GAIN!!!!!

Disgusted in the Kootenays.

Dana S.

Posted February 14, 2008 04:40 PM

John (Osoyoos) wrote:

WHY? If they are so keen to help in 2010, let them take vacation like so many others will no doubt be doing. Civil servants are worldwide over paid,underworked and generally not the best of the best. Why else would thet want to work for politicians? Who, we all know are in it for themselves certainly not for the people who vote for them.

Posted February 14, 2008 04:38 PM

Don Skelley (Burnaby) wrote:

If the leeches at Translink get paid a bonus to do their job, (attend meetings) then I guess squandering of the taxpayers money is the norm.
How does one get on this bandwagon? is there sex and drugs involved? One would think so.
I think handing out car safety seats for children was a mistake. They should have handed out a more practical freebie , like a wheelbarrow, to haul away our tax dollars!

Posted February 14, 2008 04:35 PM

Mark (Auckland_NZ_formerly_Victoria_BC) wrote:

No, BC Gov employees should not get paid leave to volunteer at the Olympic games. This is yet another ridiculous double-speak brought to you by the party that was elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

Posted February 14, 2008 04:01 PM

Jim Sherwood (Surrey_BC) wrote:

Absolutely not!
Our taxes already pay for a level of incompetence unseen in the "regular" work force. The gov't employees no longer need to be accountable as the union is so strong that firings are unheard of. The public servants rarely do an adequate job but are protected from recourse by the unions. Now the government wants to give them more money for doing nothing! Ridiculous!

Posted February 14, 2008 03:57 PM

Bill (BC) wrote:

Unfair participation: First free seats for politicans, now half pay for the civil service. For the rest of us: familar backdrops as we watch televised games at home.

Posted February 14, 2008 03:51 PM

William (North_Vancouver) wrote:

I'm not a civil servant but would like the same opportunity. The anti poverty groups are starting to make more sense - are these games open to all to celebrate human potential or are they a game for the privileged?

Posted February 14, 2008 03:30 PM

Linda (Vancouver) wrote:

I wonder what percentage of these civil servants will be "chosen" in the volunteer selection process.

What a joke. I don't get paid for any volunteer work that I choose to do. This has confirmed my decision NOT to apply to volunteer, and to book a 2 week holiday away during these 2 weeks in 2010.

Posted February 14, 2008 03:18 PM

Dana (Vancouver) wrote:

I guess some volunteers are more equal than others...

Why should citizens be asked to volunteer for free and then to turn around and pay again for civil servants to "volunteer" at six-digit pay scales?

Premier Campbell is screwing the citizens who elected him once again. We're all being screwed already by having our tax dollars diverted from urgent needs in health and education to pay for this ridiculous junket that 90% of British Columbians will never see any benefit from. But I'm saving my outrage for when we get the final bill.

Posted February 14, 2008 03:12 PM

Rhea (Fraser_Valley) wrote:

The BC government needs to pick up a dictionary and review the definition of "volunteer". Payment ain't in it.

IMO, anyone who willingly volunteers to assist this fiasco d

As for making volunteers "accountable", don't make me laugh. This government has shown no sign of being accountable to the taxpayers who provide the dough, so why should the employees be any different?

I'm leaving the province for February 2010. I'm ashamed to be associated in any way with the greed and blatant corruption of the Games. And I really hope that the 2010 Vancouver Olympics goes the way of the Seattle WTO. It's about time that all the people who have been ignored and exploited in favour of this garbage stand up and say "This is enough". If they can do this in front of an international audience, just maybe people will clue in that spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a 2 week party for the rich while we have people dying, whole industries collapsing and third world living conditions for a huge number of people isn't in the interest of the majority. Maybe being shamed in front of the international cameras will finally being some action.

Posted February 14, 2008 02:40 PM

Ginger (Sechelt_BC) wrote:

I think it is a wonderful idea (no I am not a civil servant), what an opportunity for BC's brightest and best acting as ambassadors to the Olympic Games. One could view it as a reassignment of duties due to the extrodinary event. I know during the Olympics in Athens, the Greek government gave all their employees paid vacation time during the games and because of the extreme accomodation shortage they added extra financial incentive if employess left Athens and rented out their homes.

Posted February 14, 2008 02:30 PM

Keri (White_Rock) wrote:

Many employers now offer paid "volunteer days" amounting to a week of leave as part of their benefits package. I think its a great benefit to the employer, employee and community. However, it shouldn't be limited to one volunteering opportunity.

It's only a portion of the leave and its only for those selected -c'mon.

Posted February 14, 2008 02:26 PM

Angie (Greenwood_BC) wrote:

Yea!!! This makes great sense to me. I probably can't afford to see any of the events, so let's take what little money I don't have and send the Gov't Employees in my place. Can we make sure they send us great pictures?

Posted February 14, 2008 01:07 PM

Bob (Cranbrook) wrote:

Great idea... wrong venue. I am sure the volunteer positions for the Olympics can be filled by true volunteers so how aout they offer the same deal, two weeks paid volunteer time for government employees at approved locations such as homeless shelters, nursing homes, detox centers, etc... They probably wouldn't get as many applications for that type of duty though.

Posted February 14, 2008 12:52 PM

Bud Green (Vancouver) wrote:

I get a huge laugh out of the logic behind this - "we're looking for the best and brightest." Anyone who has dealt with oh, ANY Gov't service can tell you that we're not necessarily dealing with the "best and brightest."

I think any paid "volunteer" should wear a special brightly coloured uniform, with a tag that says "Hi, my name is ____ and I'm being paid to volunteer. Because I was able to land a Government office job, I am clearly brighter and better than you suckers who are taking unpaid time off to work for free."

Then, I will have no problem standing next to one of them, wondering how much I'm paying them.

I wonder if Gov't "volunteers" will still get hour lunch breaks and 8:30-4:30 hours while they're putting their lives on hold for the "opportunity to volunteer"

Posted February 14, 2008 12:44 PM

jw (Parksville) wrote:

This just makes me not want to volunteer for the games. I think I, like many others, will plan on being out of the province while the games are on. Shame on you, Mr. Hansen, for thinking that this is okay.

Posted February 14, 2008 12:29 PM

SH (Victoria) wrote:

I have had an opportunity to reflect on my previous post and have come to the conclusion that this is a great idea. 30,000 public employees take two weeks of paid leave (half freebie and half vaccation time) to volunteer and no one would be able to attend the Olympics cause the province would be shut down. One more for the provincial brain trust!

Posted February 14, 2008 12:14 PM

Mike (Northern_BC) wrote:

Why not!!!
It's not like they get alot of "perks" from their jobs anyway. Maybe having accountable individules with special skills would help these games.
Maybe I work for the wrong employer......

Posted February 14, 2008 12:05 PM

SH (Victoria) wrote:

Marvellous! Nothing like having secure employment with reasonible wages and benefits and more perks. Being paid to volunteer is only one! How about paying off 1/3 of all civil servants' student loans too? Oops that one is already on the books. How will non-government employers compete? How long will we have to put up with this charade? Perhaps reducing some of the perks to the civil servants would mean that EVERYONE who volunteers could be fairly compensated for their efforts . . . and I do not mean tickets to see Outer Mongolia versus Kyrgyzstan in hockey. . . sorry volunteers, all the hockey games are sold out.

Posted February 14, 2008 12:04 PM

Ian (North_Vancouver) wrote:

No,No,No. I almost drove off the road listening to this in the morning commute. This is a once in a life opportunity for the host city of Vancouver showcasing the greatest sporting event in the world in one of the most picturesque cities in the world. To have paid CIVIL SERVANTS is just wrong. The cost to the taxpayers is going to be a burden for years to come, is this just adding salt to the wound. I would much rather see volunteers at the Olympic Venue be it young or old who are there through the goodness of the hearts and experience the passion of being at the Olympics. Next thing we will hear is they are given free ski passes to Whistler / Blackcomb as extra compensation for time as paid CIVIL SERVANTS. How would the unpaid volunteers feel when the person next to them is getting paid for the same position. VANOC should be ashamed of even considering this option before true volunteer positions are filled.

Posted February 14, 2008 12:04 PM

Annette (Smithers) wrote:

No Way, we up north are already paying through the nose for something that we will not see anything from but higher taxes and poorer roads. BC Gov't employees Have BC by the nose already, time to cut loose and look after yourselves by yourselves leave the tax payers alone

Posted February 14, 2008 11:58 AM

Tom (Langley) wrote:

Give me a break! What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Why are we discriminating against the general public? Is it "volunteering" if your paying someone? I say let's pay everyone, not just the chosen few.

Posted February 14, 2008 11:31 AM

Ryan (Victoria_BC) wrote:

This sends a pretty clear message: if you are a civil servant, the government works for you. If you are not a civil servant, the government works against you. Our government has an "us vs. them" attitude, turning the notion of civil servant on its head.

Posted February 14, 2008 11:22 AM

Mike Christian (Kelowna) wrote:

This is wrong, wrong, wrong!!!! For the Minister to even suggest that this is a good thing or a proper thing to do is simply irresponsible on his part. This decision should be debated before the house but before doing so it should be reviewed by the conflict of interest Commissioner. The Government of the day is tasked with Managing our scarce resources and how they could honestly say that this is a wise decision when our health care is in dire need of extra funding is beyond me. And please I can't beleive the Minister can honestly think that crediting their employees leave bank one day for every two volunteered doesn't cost us. Clearly they don't understand who's money it is they are managing. The Minister should retract this decision. Government should allow employees to book time off just like any other employer.

Posted February 14, 2008 11:19 AM

C. Louis-Ralston (Golden) wrote:

No they should not get paid to volunteer for the 2010.

They already get enough perks and benefits, paid sick days, mental paid days from our tax dollars.

Posted February 14, 2008 11:03 AM

mrie (BC) wrote:

No, I don't think gov't employees should get paid for VOLUNTEERING for the 2010 Olympics. The whole purpose of VOLUNTEERING is just that, you give up your OWN money & time to do this sort of thing. I think part of the spirit of volunteering is knowing you are doing something to benefit someone else, not yourself. Don't get me wrong, it should be a benefit to you as well(as a volunteer)but there should be no monetary gain, it should just make you feel like you have acomplished something, make you feel good inside!!!
If the Olympic committee forsees problems in getting the number of volunteers needed they should have thought of this before applying for them in the first place. The debt accumulating from the Olympics will be big enough for us as tax payers. On top of that we don't need to know that gov't employees are getting paid & the average volunteer won't be!!! Wouldn't seem fair!

Posted February 14, 2008 10:55 AM

Fred (__Kamloops) wrote:

More Vanoc crap.

Do they think we are all fools?

Tell it like it is.... the Government is now picking up the tab for up to 30,000 employees to work to put on the great Olympic fiasco.

Now they can all add Olympic Flunky to their job descriptions.

What a joke!!

Posted February 14, 2008 10:54 AM

Geoff (NewWestminster) wrote:

The whole thing about volunteering is that it is supposed to be UNPAID! Taxpayers have already contributed enough to this sinking ship that is the olympics. Those who wish to contribute more should do so with their own time and own money, not time subsidized by the province. Unless they choose to use their annual vacation to do so.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:45 AM

Ted (Calgary) wrote:

Here we go folks. With the Olympics already spiraling out of control cost wise the goverment wants to pay the civil servents. What a slap in the face for the regular volenteers. Oh ya Mabe Gordon Cambell should go out and by a dictionary and look upthe word VOLENTEER. I don't remember it saying anything about PAY!

Posted February 14, 2008 10:44 AM

Mary (Vancouver) wrote:

Certainly not! Either the BC Government and VANOC sort this out or else the move is open to the charge of conflict of interest.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:38 AM

Neil Williams (Vancouver) wrote:

On the surface, or course this looks very unfair.
However, it's a good idea to have some accountable volunteers.
When you are volunteering as a representative of your employer (The BC government) you have to live up to your commitment. Because believe it or not, many people that volunteer have no interest in doing any work, they see this as a "free" way to see events.
I was a volunteer at the world junior hockey tournament. I remember several "volunteers" had no interest in doing what they were asked to do, and would sneak off to just watch the game. With the attitude of "What can they do? Fire me?".
If it is someone there representing their employer, perhaps people will be more accountable, who knows?

Posted February 14, 2008 10:38 AM

John (Clearwater_BC) wrote:

Are you serious?
If you want 'paid' volunteers, try 'employing' the people who are on social assistance, not people who already have a well paid and well benefited job!
Gov't employees should be treated no different that all the other hard working folks who actually PAY their salaries!!!

Posted February 14, 2008 10:30 AM

Jason R (Vancouver) wrote:

I think the plan is fine. It should also be extended to staff of olympic sponsorship corporations. Though Volunteering work is technically unpaid by definition*, (it may only be undertaken for non profit causes). The Olympics is grey in this area. If necessary, a separate category of workers for staff on paid leave should be created for public servants and staff on leave.

More of the volunteers (workers?) should be paid for the time they spend on Olympic activities. In the current arrangement thousands of volunteers will go unpaid, as they work tirelessly for an event that supports Government and Corporate Interests. I have experienced far too many events whereby the organisers take advantage of the goodwill of volunteers for the development of their own organisational interests.

Now that the precedent has been set, public servants should also be allowed paid leave for other volunteer efforts, work for social, and environmental endeavours to:

• build healthy, sustainable communities that respect the dignity of all people;
• empowers people to exercise their rights as human beings and thus to improve their lives
• helps solve social, cultural, economic and environmental problems; and
• build a more humane and just society through worldwide cooperation.

Source: Universal Declaration on Volunteering, 2001*

*Volunteering Australia and the International Association for
Volunteer Effort

Posted February 14, 2008 10:28 AM

Lisa (Vancouver) wrote:

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! There are over 100,000 people who are interested in doing it for FREE!!! As volunteering is usually done!!!

Posted February 14, 2008 10:26 AM

jeff (langley) wrote:

Absolutely NOT! See what you get for government when you can't muster a credible opposition . . .

Posted February 14, 2008 10:17 AM

Shannon (Chetwynd) wrote:

No problem, as long as all the other volunteers get paid too. If govenment employees want to use vacation time to volunteer, there's nothing wrong with that. They can use their vacation for whatever they want. Paid leave? As a volunteer for many years for many different organizations I understand the valuable work that volunteers do. And the work that would not get done if not for volunteers. However, 'paid volunteer' is an oxymoron and insulting to all of us real volunteers. If anybody is going to get paid, maybe the govenment should think about paying some of the thousands of marginalized people in Vancouver and solve several problems at once.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:14 AM

Guy (Victoria) wrote:

The SAD part of this story is that British Columbians will allow this to happen. Why? Because most really don't care anymore. Most people in BC are just happy to allow government to waste our tax dollars. hat's what happens when most are working. They have lots of money to throw around. Go figure.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:14 AM

maggie paquet (Port_Alberni) wrote:

This is just another ideologically misguided decision that is so typical of this blinkered government. I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. I wonder what the BCGEU thinks of it. Do you know?

We're already paying through the nose for these Olympics. The environment, and all that lives in it--from north of Whistler to the displaced low- and fixed-income residents of Vancouver--including the destruction along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, are unconscionable costs on top of the taxes we'll all pay for years into the future. This is ridiculous, to put a "positive" spin on it; nearly criminal (certainly some kind of conflict-of-interest concept underlies this decision) at its most negative.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:10 AM

Suzanne Robson (Langley_) wrote:

I absolutely disagree with this. Why should that group of government employees have a benefit of volunteering and still being paid part of that time. I can't volunteer because I have bills to pay. Why can't all British Columbians be treated the same

Posted February 14, 2008 10:03 AM

Barry C. (Northern_BC) wrote:

Any volunteer work I have ever done - and there has been a lot - has been "voluntary" - ie. because I wanted to - and there was never pay involved. If the Olympics (Ego-lympics as some call them) are that short of help, we are in serious trouble because obviously not enough people believe in them to turn out and help. Paying government workers for doing anything other than their taxpayer funded job should definitely not be permitted.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:03 AM

ben hunter (prince_george) wrote:

"paid volunteers"?!?
As a shareholder and part owner of British Columbia Inc. i am having a serious problem with our management over this. Paying our employees to volunteer at the Olympics is another way in which upper management is telling the the people of the province, their employers, that they have lost touch with business reality. perhaps it's time for a shareholder's meeting to 'discuss' management's high hand, and start screening resumes for their replacements.

Posted February 14, 2008 10:00 AM

Kaye (Chilliwack) wrote:

Absobloodylutely not!

Posted February 14, 2008 09:57 AM

Carol Dixon (Vancouver) wrote:

I expressed shock and awe in my car this morning at the idea of paying government employees (even in vacation time) to volunteer at the Olympics. When I look at volunteers anywhere, at the hospital, at the airport, at the art gallery I always admire the dedication to cause and community that generates that effort. Paying people to volunteer is not only an oxymoron it lowers the status of volunteers everywhere. The excuse that it won't cost any money is not true, those workers that get the extra time off, will not be there working for me or any other taxpayer.

Posted February 14, 2008 09:55 AM

christineforester (Richmond) wrote:

I think that government employees are governed by a collective agreement which clearly spells out the terms under which they will work outside of their normal working hours.
The government is obviously trying to encourage people who already work full weeks (and much more in the case of management)to use their personal time to volunteer at the Olympics.
This seems to be a fair compromise. Time off for some time off that will not negatively impact the ongoing operations of the government.

Posted February 14, 2008 09:52 AM

Elaine Reiben (Kelowna_B_C) wrote:

Absolutely not! Why do we as taxpayers have to foot yet another bill to have civil servants get paid to volunteer? Generally speaking civil servants have great contracts, ie. sick days, holidays, pay scale, etc. I would like to volunteer but I am not in a position to take unpaid time off and my employer is not in a position to pay me while I take time off to volunteer. Why don't we make it fair for all...let the Government pay all who want to volunteer with a small subsidy to the employers who may have to hire "casual" employees? I would love to volunteer for the Olympics and get paid! I get to see some of the Olympics and get paid while I am doing so...BONUS!

Posted February 14, 2008 09:45 AM

sue spivey (langley) wrote:

no. volunteering is a gift given.

Posted February 14, 2008 09:45 AM

Anonymous (Vancouver) wrote:

Are you joking?????? There has already been an overwhelming response to the call-out for volunteers, which does not necessitate this incentive and expense.

Of COURSE this will cost the taxpayers more money, we're the ones who are paying for their salaries in the first place. If it's that easy to 'work out arrangements with employees within their normal operating budgets', maybe somebody needs to take a look at their budgets and allocate some of that flush money to other services.

Posted February 14, 2008 09:45 AM

Mike D. (Surrey_BC) wrote:

Quite simply, no. Whether within other operating budgets or not, it is still another infusion of our tax dollars. It is also unfair to those volunteers who are using their own time/money to help out. I can see it as a way to top up any shortfall prior to the games, but not at this point. If it does go that way, then these paid volunteers should have last pick of the open positions.

Posted February 14, 2008 09:43 AM

Jim Hill (Prince_George_BC) wrote:

This somehow doesn`t surprise me...They want the general public to volunteer for free at the games, but the high priced gov`t union-backed "civil" servants get compensated. WOW!!....how about putting some homeless, low-income seniors, disabled, starving students, or unemployed people to work? The ticket prices for the games are beyond the reach of the great unwashed anyway so raise them some more and give those in need a few bucks as well as a memorable experience? Sometimes I`m glad I live up north "beyond Hope"

Posted February 14, 2008 09:41 AM

David (Vancouver_Island) wrote:

Another "hidden" cost for the taxpayer. Why not just come out and say they are seconding x amount of public service employees to Vanoc for the duration of the Olympics? Oh, and the costs of replacing them for their "volunteer" time will be borne by who?

Posted February 14, 2008 09:33 AM

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