Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 7, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why British Columbia Utilities Commission was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2022):
- British Columbia Utilities Commission encourages employees to take the time they need to recharge with a generous time-off policy (up to four weeks of starting vacation allowance) and up to 10 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled at employees' discretion
- British Columbia Utilities Commission introduced a new $300 benefit to all employees during the pandemic, including new hires, for needed equipment and supplies for their home offices
- British Columbia Utilities Commission offers phased-in work options for employees nearing retirement and offers peace of mind with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
Serving B.C. keeps staff energized at the BCUC
While TGIF has entered the lexicon to signal the end of the work week, Kristine Bienert is more of a TGIM kind of person – thank goodness it’s Monday and the start of another week at the Vancouver-based British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).
“I don’t get the Sunday evening jitters about having to go to work in the morning,” says Bienert, executive director, energy supply, compliance and mandatory reliability standards. “No two days are the same which makes you excited, energetic and positive about going to work each day.”
The BCUC has a broad mandate to regulate public energy utilities, the Insurance Corporation of B.C., common carrier pipelines, the customer choice program and the Mandatory Reliability Standards program. The BCUC is also the administrator for the Fuel Price Transparency Act. “We make a big impact to the economic well-being of British Columbia,” says Viki Vourlis Fisher, executive director, corporate services. “That drives us.”
It also helps attract top-tier talent. Charlene de Boer was grateful to join the BCUC in mid-2020 when she relocated to Vancouver after a successful career in Ontario’s and Massachusetts’ public utilities sectors.
“I was looking to continue to contribute on behalf of utility customers and continue to be in public service,” says de Boer, manager, energy. “I love what we do. We’re here on behalf of British Columbians.”
The BCUC employs a diverse group of professionals, including accountants, administrators, engineers, economists, actuaries, lawyers and those with a public policy background. Bienert says the BCUC generally hires senior level people with both professional and life experience.
But even though many arrive with solid track records in both spheres, BCUC provides what Vourlis Fisher calls a “continuous learning environment.” The BCUC supports employees pursuing executive training, project management designations and other advanced educational opportunities.
For the most part though, learning takes other less structured but no loss relevant forms. The BCUC encourages employees to attend conferences devoted to new and leading-edge practices in regulation and the utilities sectors.
“Our team is exposed to cutting-edge knowledge from the best people in the world who come together to explain what’s new,” says Bienert.
The BCUC also brings in leading academic researchers who deliver talks and share the results of their work. “There’s technical knowledge we need that’s always changing,” says Vourlis Fisher. “It’s challenging, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
Sheena Zyp, director, people, culture and procurement, says that since the start of the pandemic, the BCUC has hired over 30 new employees including Melissa Mah, a receptionist and administrative assistant, who joined the organization remotely.
However, that was no impediment – just the opposite in fact. “I’ve felt very supported,” says Mah, “Anytime I have a question for someone in the organization, they will stop what they’re doing to assist me.”
Although the office was open through most of the pandemic, in September the BCUC formally welcomed staff back to its offices and began rolling out its new hybrid working model. Within the hybrid framework, employees may continue to work remotely or in the BCUC’s office, or a combination of both, based on arrangements worked out with their managers.