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NEWS RELEASE · 26th May 2010
Office of the Premier
This year's Premier's Innovation and Excellence Awards honour public service employees and teams whose provincewide contributions include enhancing economic opportunities for First Nations youth and establishing full labour mobility for over 200 occupations in British Columbia, announced Premier Gordon Campbell.

"Tonight's ceremony recognizes public service employees whose contributions and accomplishments benefit all British Columbians," said Premier Campbell. "These employees think big, have achieved exceptional results, and have made a positive difference not just in their communities but across the province."

The annual provincial awards ceremony is the BC Public Service's highest recognition event. It acknowledges provincewide achievements in the categories of Cross-Government Integration, Innovation, Leadership, Legacy, Organizational Excellence, Partnership and Service Excellence.

"Public service employees live and work in over 280 communities in every region of the province," said Citizens' Services Minister Ben Stewart, whose ministry administers the awards. "The accomplishments of the finalists and winners of these awards are a testament that our public service is a place where people can achieve great things that make a real difference in the lives of all our citizens."

This year's awards recipients include a cross ministry team that worked with over 400 regulatory bodies across Canada to resolve labour mobility barriers, resulting in full labour mobility for all regulated occupations, including over 200 occupations in B.C.

Also among the winners is a team based in the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, recognized for the Reclamation and Prospecting Program, which provides young adults with training and experience in environmental monitoring, mineral exploration, basic prospecting and an understanding of First Nations culture.

The BC Public Service is the province's largest corporate employer and was recently named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and Canada's Most Family Friendly Employers for the first time. The organization has also been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for the past two years and one of the province's top 55 employers for the past three consecutive years.

Videos of all Premier's Awards finalists can be viewed online on the at [BC Public Service YouTube channel ]


Provincial recipients were recognized at the annual Premier's Innovation and Excellence Awards ceremony at the Victoria Conference Centre on May 26, 2010. Provincial recipients received honours in the categories of Cross-Government Integration, Innovation, Leadership, Legacy, Organizational Excellence, Partnership, and Service Excellence.

This year, there was a record 164 nominations, resulting in 17 regional award recipients and eight provincial award winners. External adjudicators selected a provincial shortlist and a group of four judges reviewed the shortlist and selected provincial Premier's Award recipients.

Ministry/Recipient Description

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Cross-Ministry Team for Full Labour Mobility

CROSS-GOVERNMENT INTEGRATION - Labour mobility allows a regulated professional from another jurisdiction, such as a teacher from Ontario, to be certified to work in B.C. without additional requirements. The removal of labour mobility barriers helps to ensure that B.C. has the skilled workforce it needs.

B.C. led the implementation of the First Ministers' July 2008 direction to achieve full national labour mobility in six months. The cross-ministry team worked with over 400 regulatory bodies across Canada to resolve barriers and meet the aggressive timeline, resulting in full labour mobility for all regulated occupations, including over 200 occupations in B.C.

Ministry of Housing and Social Development, Six Storey Wood Frame Residential Construction

INNOVATION - In 2009, B.C. led Canada with changes in wood-frame residential construction. B.C.'s building code now allows for six-storey wood-frame buildings, which expands markets for B.C. wood products, increases the stock of affordable housing and enhances community sustainability. The Building and Safety Policy Branch met the challenge of developing provincial building code changes that achieved high standards for safety and construction quality with the same degree of expert risk analysis and technical rigour as the national building code.

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Cindy Williams (Tie)

LEADERSHIP - Cindy Williams is recognized as a national leader in labour mobility through her work to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade. Labour mobility allows a skilled worker, such as a nurse, to move to B.C. and work without requiring additional training. The Agreement on Internal Trade, signed by all provinces and territories in 1994, was intended to achieve full labour mobility; however, it didn't work out as planned. Her ability to find common ground was instrumental in achieving full national labour mobility - a legacy that will benefit B.C. for years to come.

Ministry of Finance, Pat Parkinson (Tie)

LEADERSHIP - Pat Parkinson's leadership was critical to the successful implementation of B.C.'s carbon tax program. Pat delivered a complex and innovative program that included new legislation, wide-ranging communications, taxpayer education and staff recruitment. Designing the first-of-its-kind carbon tax program in North America meant that Pat had no models to guide her. Thanks to her strong tax background, she was able to identify potential risks and opportunities, such as engaging with business and industry, to ensure the program would be well received.

Ministry of Community and Rural Development, Gary Paget and Brian Walisser

LEGACY - Gary Paget and Brian Walisser have contributed a combined 65 years of exceptional public service dedicated to B.C.'s local government system. In this time, they have made their mark in a complex and challenging public policy environment which not only covers issues from assessment to zoning, but also engages multiple interests, including the provincial and federal governments, First Nations, industry and individuals.

Gary and Brian's success is a result of their skill and visionary leadership in seeking creative and far-reaching solutions. Their efforts have benefited regions, communities and people across the province, and their expertise is recognized throughout B.C., Canada and internationally.

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Corrections Branch, Adult Custody Division

ORGANIZATIONAL EXCELLENCE - With over 1,500 employees in nine correctional centres across B.C., the Adult Custody Division provides safe and secure custody for over 2,800 inmates. In early 2007, changing working conditions and budget challenges were having a negative impact on the work environment. Facing declining employee engagement and retention, leaders at all levels went to frontline employees for help.

Using their new "ask, listen, act" policy, the Adult Custody Division took action and transformed its organizational culture. The results have been profound - work environment scores, recruitment levels, overtime costs and direct employee feedback all demonstrate a major turnaround.

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Reclamation and Prospecting Program

PARTNERSHIP - The Reclamation and Prospecting Program is an innovative program to help First Nations develop leadership and employment skills. The program provides young adults with experience in environmental monitoring, mineral exploration, basic prospecting and an understanding of First Nations culture. A partnership of provincial and federal agencies, industry and educators collaborated to produce training that benefits First Nations youth and has led to the creation of a permanent Environmental Monitor Assistant Program.

Ministry of Labour, Employment Standards Branch

SERVICE EXCELLENCE - Employees at the Employment Standards Branch administer the Employment Standards Act and provide services to workers, employers and other interest groups around the province. Fulfilling this mandate requires building understanding of the Act, ensuring compliance with the requirements, and responding to about 100,000 calls annually.

The Branch handles over 7,000 disputes annually and has achieved voluntary resolution in 86 per cent of disputes between workers and employers over the last four years. This is despite an increase in the volume of complaints by over 40 per cent. Both employers and workers are benefitting from the significant reduction of delay in resolving their cases.