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PAID, Civil Servant Olympic “Volunteers”- another novel idea sponsored by the BC government

I couldn’t believe what I heard on the radio on the drive home yesterday. The BC government has initiated an offer for any civil servants who live within the lower mainland, to be given up to 15 days off to volunteer at the Olympics.

Wow! Sounds great ,doesn’t it?  How noble of the government to give up their valuable employees, just to help out at the 2010 Olympics! Wait, it gets even better, and yes – there definately is a catch….. The employee’s will all be given  7 days EMPLOYER PAID LEAVE to perform their volunteer duties , the remainder to be taken as either vacation or unpaid leave.  So we, the taxpayers, will be paying for these people to take time off their jobs, and selflessly….. “volunteer”.

Apparently the BC Deputy Premier -who sent out the notice – and whoever approved of this piece of nonsense, must not actually know the meaning of  the word ‘volunteer’, or, they’ve gone ahead and created a meaning that suits them. As such, I’ve taken the liberty of posting the definition,  just to clarify things a little.


 volunteer  (vŏlən-tîr) : 

  1.    To perform or offer to perform a service of one’s own free will.               
  2.     To do charitable or helpful work without pay: Many retirees volunteer in community service and day care

VANOC and Minister Colin Hansen both think it’s a great idea, (big surprise there), and they hope to attract the kind of  “skilled workers” they need to the games . In fact, they are both hoping other large companies do the same.

Hey, last time I looked, private companies paid their employees themselves, so if that’s what they want to do, great. I have no issue with the private sector paying anyone on their own dime. However, last time I looked, the BC government wasn’t a private company, and  it is operated with tax dollars that come out of your pockets and mine –  not private ones. Taxpayers dollars that have to be accounted for.

  So, should they be paying civil servants to go and “volunteer”?

I say no, damn it !! If a government employee wants to volunteer, fine,great, but take your own vacation time, or unpaid leave. No pay “incentives”, no pay-cheques. Give me a break. Getting paid to go have fun watching and participating in all the Olympic experience?  I should be so lucky… anything I’ve volunteered for has been out of the goodness of my heart, not because I’m getting paid to do it. Not to mention the thousands of volunteers that will be  paying their own way to have the honour of volunteering : airfare, accomodation, time taken off work, with no pay, or using their valuable vacation time. That’s  true Olympic spirit. 

Paid government”volunteers” ? Geesh. Talk about having your cake and eating it.

Icing anyone?


  1. Um, doesn’t the banked holiday pay belong to the employee, not the government? Wouldn’t the employee get the pay whether they volunteered or not?


  2. The days spent as a “paid volunteer” have a bit of a bonus to them, as the cbc link states. see excerpt :

    ” ….But those civil servants who do volunteer will get a vacation time bonus — for every two days they volunteer, they will only be deducted one day of vacation time, said Hansen. The rest will be made up as paid leave.”

    Its vacation time – not vacation pay.

    They get paid for the entire first 7 days, but will only count as having taken 3 1/2 days of vacation TIME off. It adds up.

    If a civil servant wants to volunteer, let them – however, it should have to be their own vacation time, or unpaid leave that covers it – no extra cash.


  3. I cannot believe that my tax dollars will pay government employees to go and “volunteer” at the Olympics. I volunteer for a lot of organizations because it is the right think to do, not because I will get paid to do what I am doing.
    It is going to a source of embarrassment for Canada if a Government of BC “paid” volunteer is working beside an “unpaid ” volunteer and they start to talk. The government has to pay volunteers to volunteer… What a great country.
    Is Minister Colin Hansen as naive as to think you can use the word “paid” and “volunteer” in the same sentence and retain the respect of genuine volunteers for the Government and his character?
    So the fact that Minister Colin Hansen has indicated that in very few cases will someone be hired to do the “missed work.” That tells me that the “volunteer” persons work is unimportant, not needed or they are working at a very low level of productivity.
    A fiction writer could have thought up such a backwards and unethical plot as to pay a group of “volunteers” and not pay all the volunteers.
    How about taking that money before it is wasted and buy another MRI machine. The life you save may be your own…


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