In 1973, per diem reporters were guaranteed ten days of reporting courts each month. Only full-time staff had office space; others worked out of their homes. All reporters provided their own paper and other supplies.
At that time the management structure was much simpler. There was a chief reporter in Vancouver and four regional reporters who supervised the reporting staff in each of five regions. Dennis Pearce, now retired, was the regional reporter in Victoria.
In the 1973/74 period, Court Services was formed and its management structure. The director of Court Services was Dennis Shepherd, later Mr. Justice Shepherd. His deputy director was David Warren.
Reporters were lobbying for an increase in transcript rates, but rather than increase the rates, the Ministry offered instead to provide all supplies. Xeroxing was at that time not widespread, and exam work was done mostly using carbons. Appeals work, at least in Victoria, was typed on Multilith plates that were then printed on a Multilith press owned by Pearce. He later made arrangements to rent the equipment to the Ministry, which also assumed payment of the part-time printer’s salary.
In 1974 the government decided that it would be responsible for all the provincial courts, which had until then been operated by the municipalities, and they absorbed all of the provincial court staff. It also decided to hire as permanent staff all the auxiliaries.
Per diem reporters became full-time staff and were eventually provided office space. They were entitled to one typewriter, one filing cabinet, desk and chair. They provided their own dictation and other equipment. Personal computers were then, of course, unheard of and CAT was only a dream! They were also required to become members of the BCGEU, a fact that didn’t sit well with many. However, in 1975/76 legislation was enacted specifically removing reporters from the union, and reporters were designated Schedule A excluded. Perhaps the reasons for this change were, among others, they earned extra income (their fees), and also they were considered an essential service and not allowed to strike.