This committee keeps members, locals and the executive board informed of issues affecting women members.
Corporation of Delta
Animal Control Officer
Tell me about your work background. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always loved animals more than anything and knew I wanted to work with them. I originally started out working in a dog training facility where I became a Certified Canine Trainer. To gain more experience working with different kinds of dogs, I began working at the Delta Humane Society. When the Corporation of Delta took over the shelter in 2008 I became their full time clerk and moved into my Animal Control position in 2010. I enjoy so many aspects of shelter work that I never left!
When did you join CUPE? Do you remember what you thought about unions and about CUPE back then?
In 2008 when I was hired by Delta I had never been part of a union before and had no idea what to expect. I had seen a lot of news reports over the years about employees and their unions fighting for employee rights. I didn’t realize there are so many unions for all kinds of professions until I became part of one.
Do you think things have changed for women in CUPE since you joined? How?
That’s tough to say as I have only been a union member for six years. I think most of the major triumphs for women’s rights happened in the 20th century but it is great to know they continue to fight for our equality and support us in our endeavours.
What are the biggest challenges for you in your work and in your life?
Without a doubt, it’s that there is never enough time in a day. Our hours can be long and our workweeks are not standard, so it sometimes feels like you live at work. Our job is never done either – there is always a new file to start or an old one to follow up on! I think we feel compelled to do as much as we can on a daily basis to ensure animals in our community are safe and being cared for. Working in animal welfare can be stressful and emotionally draining at times so it’s sometimes hard not to take your work home with you.
What are the biggest rewards?
There are so many and some are difficult to put into words. I think all Animal Control Officers do their job because they want to make a positive impact and you can make a difference in so many ways. It could be taking an injured animal to a vet to get them care and relief, educating an owner about how to improve the quality of their pet’s life, or seeing an animal that may have been abused learn to trust people again. Animals make such a great addition to so many people’s lives, but they don’t have the ability to speak up and defend themselves, so I love being their advocate.
What advice do you have for young women who are just starting out?
Be a reliable and hard working employee, but don’t forget to be a kind and supportive co-worker. Also, take advantage of opportunities to further your education.
Where should we be focusing our energies for women in CUPE?
One area that needs more attention is bullying and harassment in the workplace – so many women are faced with these issues every day.