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    • 03 MAY 19
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    FSA supports progressive changes to workers’ rights in BC

    FSA supports progressive changes to workers’ rights in BC

    The BC Ministry of Labour has been reviewing two important pieces of legislation which govern employees working in British Columbia (both unionized and those who are not unionized).

    The Employment Standards Act provides the bare minimum working conditions applicable to all employees in BC. This includes minimum wages; overtime provisions; statutory pay et cetera. On April 30, 2019, Minister of Labour, Harry Bains announced progressive changes to the Employment Standards Act.

    The changes include increasing the age of full employment to 16 years old, and providing a definition of light duty work people aged 14 to 15 may conduct. B.C. is out of step with international child employment standards. Both the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organization recommend Canada’s minimum work-start age should be 16.

    People in the hospitality industry will have better protections allowing individual to keep tips they have earned.

    The Act also allows for time off for those who are victims of domestic violence. It is clear this has come after many unions have negotiated gains in their collective agreements for paid leave for the same reason.

    The Ministry of Labour has also made changes to legislation covering unionized employees labour relations code summary.

    These changes include:

    • Successorship language – to protect employees in vulnerable sectors like janitorial/building cleaning services; health care staff; bus staff; security staff. The sectors included in the legislation were those that are most at risk of contract flipping, Bains said. “In recent years it has become common practice for service contracts to be taken over by a new service provider, but they don’t honour the collective agreement that is in place. As a result, current employees lose their job or are forced to accept lower pay and benefits for the same work.”
    • Providing the Labour Relations Board with broader discretion to impose union certification when an employer is found to have unduly interfered with the certification process.
    • Shortening the requirements for the time between an application for union certification and an employee vote — from 10 days to five business days.
    • Language to better protect already unionized staff from being “raided” by another union.

    The BCITFSA applauds and supports these progressive changes that bring many vulnerable employees up to a better, safer standard.

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