BCGEU President and Treasurer

Stephanie Smith
BCGEU president
​Smith was elected BCGEU treasurer in June 2011 and BCGEU president in May 2014.

Paul Finch
BCGEU treasurer
Finch was elected BCGEU treasurer in May 2014.

  • Paul Finch biography (three year term: 2017-2020)

BCGEU Presidents-Emeritus

Darryl Walker 

Darryl Walker was BCGEU president between 2008 and 2014.
Darryl first signed on as a steward at the Forensic Psychiatric Institute in the early 1980’s during the time of Operation Solidarity. He sat as a component chair, and BCGEU vice president for nine years. During that period, he sat on or chaired almost every standing committee of the union. He was a member of the Master Bargaining Committee, a trainer in Occupation Health and Safety, and a representative on the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Darryl also sat on the West Coast Environment Law Board and the Labour Environment Alliance Society Board.

He retired from the BCGEU in 2014 following two terms as president.

George Heyman 

George Heyman served as BCGEU president between 1999 and 2008.

A log-scaler and grader with the forest service, George was first elected as a steward in 1978.

Since retiring from the BCGEU, George has served as the Executive Director of the Sierra Club of B.C. In 2013, he was elected as the MLA for Vancouver-Fairview. He was re-elected in 2017 and now serves as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.



John Shields served as BCGEU president between 1984 and 1999.

He helped form B.C.'s first union for social service workers – the Social Service Employees' Union - and led that union into the BCGEU.

After leaving the BCGEU, he worked for the Land Conservancy of BC, and held teaching posts at the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University.

John had a Masters Degree in Theology. He worked with Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in the U.S. He went on to teach popular theology in Canada and the U.S. before moving to B.C. in 1969.

He’s the author of a memoir entitled, “The Priest Who Left His Religion – In Pursuit of Cosmic Spirituality”.

John passed away on March 25, 2017. 


Norm Richards

Norm Richards served as president between 1968 and 1985.

He quit his logging job at age 17 to fight in WWII for 6 years and three months. After coming home, he became an activist with the Amalgamated Transit Union and later with the B.C. Government Employees' Association as he worked as a postal clerk in the B.C. Legislature.

In 1968, Norm was elected president of the BCGEA. He knew that to protect the rights of members, the BCGEA needed to be more than just an association. Government workers needed a union.

In 1969, Norm became the first president of the new B.C. Government Employees’ Union. Soon after, government employees won the right to bargain collectively.

Norm was BCGEU president for 17 years and also acted as vice president of the National Union of Public and General Employees and as vice president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

Norm passed away at age 79 in the year 2000.