The Public Service Alliance of Canada applauds the BC government for making long overdue changes to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act and the BC Labour Code that will make a real, positive difference to workers and their families across the province.
The restoration of fairness to the BC Labour Code – the legislation that regulates when and how employees can join unions and outlines the rights and obligations of unions and unionized employers – includes a number of provisions that make it easier for workers to exercise their constitutional right to join or form a union and achieve their first collective agreement.
The legislation also expands successorship rights that protect workers when contract services are retendered or ‘flipped’ in several employment sectors, including security services.
"British Columbia remains a low-wage province, and precarious work is on the rise" says Jamey Mills, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for BC, "The best antidote to economic inequality is greater union density. These changes to the BC Labour Code will help restore much-needed fairness at unionized worksites across our province."
The modernization of the Employment Standards Act – the legislation that sets minimum standards for workplaces in the province – includes stronger protections for children and youth from dangerous work, makes it easier for workers to get help when they feel their rights have been violated, and provides more job protection to workers experiencing intimate partner violence. The legislation also extends the recovery period for which workers can recover owed wages from their employer, prohibits employers from withholding tips or other gratuities from workers, and creates a legal framework for regulating tips and tip pooling.
These measures apply to all workplaces, whether they are unionized or not, and protects all workers’ rights.
"Employment standards are particularly important for the most vulnerable workers in society, such as women, immigrants, minorities, young workers, and precarious workers," continues Mills, "Our union has long advocated for improving fairness for all workers and ensuring all workplaces are healthy, safe, and respectful. Members in BC are pleased to see the government bringing back basic rights and protections that were gutted by the old government."
PSAC BC, alongside the BC Federation of Labour, affiliated unions, and community groups participated in government consultations and the BC Fed’s "Workers Deserve Better" campaign that emphasized workers’ stories and showed the need for change to both pieces of legislation.
Two PSAC Directly Chartered Locals in BC – Local 22000, the First Nations Heath Authority and Local 20500, the Commissionaires Union of BC – fall under these pieces of provincial legislation.