Dear Members,

We write to provide an update on discussions with management respecting office allocation. We received feedback from a substantial number of you. Thank you to those of you who took the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

We summarized the feedback we received in the attached document, which we shared with branch management and discussed at yesterday’s Joint Committee Meeting. The discussion was mostly positive and ended with a commitment by David Bennett that there will be a written policy on office allocation and the association will be consulted on that policy.

The policy will necessarily depend on the direction given by PSA respecting return to work. Branch management reiterated that, while LSB staff numbers continue to grow, there are no plans to procure additional office spaces. If this trend continues in the long term, our view is that it will become unsustainable. However, in this short-to-medium term, it presents some unity of interests between lawyers hoping to continue working remotely and management. It also, potentially, presents opportunities for flexible solutions, so long as they are consistent with PSA direction and WorkSafeBC requirements.

We emphasised that the needs and preferences of our members are not uniform and it is imperative that individuals have a say in where they work. We also noted that many of you considered seniority to be an important and objective basis for office allocation decisions, and it should not be cast aside in favour of the undefined and manipulable concept of “operational need”. Our expectation is that the association’s feedback will be considered and reflected in the final office allocation policy.

We will keep you apprised as this matter develops.

In solidarity,

Your BCGLA executive

office allocation summary 2021-07-07