The provincial government’s success at the negotiating table with BC’s public sector unions has paved the way for labour peace and business stability for years to come. Finance Minister Carole Taylor signed off on 138 labour agreements. Much credit is due to Minister Taylor and the BC government for the unprecedented progress in labour negotiations.
The Coalition would now like to see a dialogue take shape on the laws that govern labour relations in BC. The Coalition recently met with Minister of Labour Olga Ilich to present a discussion document calling for a series of labour law amendments that enhance employee rights and the economic viability of BC businesses.
2002 Labour Code changes are incomplete
The job of developing fair and balanced labour laws in BC is incomplete. The last round of reforms to the BC Labour Code occurred in 2002.
Despite some favourable amendments, sections of the Code continue to limit the protection and promotion of employee rights and challenge the economic viability of BC businesses.
Enhanced employee rights foster economic development
BC’s economic competitiveness and the province’s current labour shortage make the issue of employee rights all the more relevant and urgent. Positioning BC as a champion of employee rights will enhance the province’s reputation as a stable and attractive destination for employees and investors alike.
The BC government should enact amendments to the Code that empower individual employee rights but, of equal importance, the Labour Relations Board must relax some of the rigid standards and requirements that limit employee participation in the labour relations process.
Coalition consults with small and medium-sized businesses
In formulating its observations and recommendations, the Coalition has sought advice from a variety of sources. Most importantly, the Coalition was able to draw on the input of people who operate small and medium-sized businesses and are members of the various associations that comprise the Coalition. Their experiences with BC’s labour policies provide a most valuable benchmark of the effectiveness of these policies and what is needed to move forward.
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