Government looks for handouts

Times must be even tougher than we think because the provincial government is now paying its employees with "pop, chips, candy and Red Bull," as well as "awesome bragging rights." Last week, the government told bureaucrats it was looking for computer programmers to "make history" by producing "an original app for the citizens of BC." In a posting published on the civil service's internal Spark blog, would-be participants were informed the government initiative responsible for that project would put them in "contact with experts at Apple and RIM, and...what the heck! They'll even supply the pizza and pop! This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your awesome coding skill and make a difference for British Columbians."

But when a bureaucrat whether it was a paid assignment, this was the response: "The short answer is 'no,' we're not creating additional positions and TA'ing people into them, nor are we funding overtime to have folks work on this. We're all going to be working on this because we think it's the right thing to do and are willing to invest ourselves in the process."

"Having said that...we will provide the infrastructure and tools needed for the development, we'll set up a space that's available for use after hours (and that has enough pop, chips, candy and Red Bull to keep us all going and I'm sure that we'll have some more nutritional food as well)."

"This is something of an experiment for us, one in which we're looking for folks to take up a challenge. No it's not going to be paid, but when we're successful we're going to have some awesome bragging rights..."

Er...okay.

The following is a complete copy of that exchange.

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Wanna be part of a RAD project?

Posted By: Spark, Feb 16 2010 4:02PM
Last Updated: Feb 17 2010 4:03PM

This is a call out to all clever developers out there... we want you! If you're a coder, read on.

Can you envision how government can better reach people with mobile and web applications? Can you swiftly design and code swanky sites? Would you like to make history in the BC Public Service? If you answered yes to those questions, the Future of Work (FoW) initiative and the ministries of Health and Education would like to chat with you about an exciting project!

FoW will provide the development environment (located at 421 Menzies in Victoria), put you in contact with experts at Apple and RIM, and... what the heck! They'll even supply the pizza and pop! This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your awesome coding skill and make a difference for British Columbians.

So, if you're interesting in showing the BC Public Service what you're made of and producing an original app for the citizens of BC, contact Savannah Murphy now and get coding!

***

Feb 16 2010 4:25PM

Just to clarify - is this a paid assignment?

Thanks!
Adam

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Feb 16 2010 4:48PM

Hi Adam, I imagine that you've asked a question that is a lot of folks are wondering. The short answer is "no", we're not creating additional positions and TA'ing people into them, nor are we funding overtime to have folks work on this. We're all going to be working on this because we think it's the right thing to do and are willing to invest ourselves in the process.

Having said that...we will provide the infrastructure and tools needed for the development, we'll set up a space that's available for use after hours (and that has enough pop, chips, candy and Red Bull to keep us all going and I'm sure that we'll have some more nutritional food as well). This is something of an experiment for us, one in which we're looking for folks to take up a challenge. No it's not going to be paid, but when we're successful we're going to have some awesome bragging rights...

1 Comment

Well, where to start? So the government of BC is offering to allow people to work for free to design and code web application and sites for the benefit of government? Do I have that right?

According to the BC Governments own laws on minimum wages:

Minimum Wage Fact Sheet

* B.C.’s general minimum wage is $8 per hour.
* The First Job/Entry Level minimum wage is $6 per hour. This only applies to employees with no paid work experience before November 15, 2001. After they have worked for a total of 500 hours with one or more employers, these employees are entitled to the regular minimum wage rate. See the Factsheet - First Job/Entry-level Wage.
* Minimum wage for live-in home support workers for each day or part of a day worked is $80.
* Minimum wage for resident caretakers in apartment buildings with more than 8 but less than 61 suites is $480 per month plus $19.25 for each suite.
* Minimum wage for resident caretakers in apartment buildings with more than 60 suites is $1,635 per month.

Minimum Piece Rates - Hand harvested crops (Effective May 16, 2003)

The following piece rates include vacation pay (4%).

Apples

$ 15.60/ bin (27.1 cu. ft.)

Apricots

$ 17.94/ 1/2 bin (13.7 cu. ft.)

Applications (Web) 1 (bag of chips) 1 (pop)
?

It's really too bad government employees aren't protected by a union against being coerced into working for free. And make no mistake - what the government is offering is the chance to put something of substance on a government employees resume and give them some contacts at companies that juuuust might employ them.

Looking at the government directory and seeing the large group of people employed to make projects like this unpaid labour initiative a reality, one has to ask - are they being paid in chips and pop too?

http://dir.gov.bc.ca/gtds.cgi?show=Branch&organizationCode=CITZ&organizationalUnitCode=FWI

This needs to be addressed at a Federal level.

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