VICTORIA, B.C. — Supporting evidence-based policy that restores protections for workers and ends pendulum swings in the labour code are priorities for the B.C. Greens, and the expert panel’s recommendations should be expanded on to address the unique challenges presented by the construction industry.
“My colleagues, staff and I engaged with a number of stakeholders to develop a deeper understanding about the forces at play and have concluded- as did the panel- that construction labour law is particularly unique,” B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver said. “Because of these unique challenges, we believe it is essential that we do not simply pass this legislation and move on. The construction industry and its workers deserves a thorough review, which it hasn’t had since at least 1998. The B.C. Green caucus is strongly in support of a panel mandated to address the unique realities of this sector of the economy, and expands on the recommendations of the current Labour Relation Code Review Panel.
“Until such a time that a separate review, one more focused on the challenges of the constructor sector, can take place, we feel it is prudent to follow that advice set out by the current review panel, and therefore support the amendment to ensure its language is reflected in the legislation. If a deeper dive identifies challenges with this, I hope that all members of this House would be prepared to support additional changes. We have heard loud and clear that there are numerous questions that remain unanswered and want to ensure a process is established that can get politicians objective analysis and recommendations to act upon.”
The B.C. Green caucus supports other significant provisions of this legislation, which take important steps forward to better protect workers and ensure balance in workplaces. These include:
- Extending successorship provisions to protect workers in building cleaning/janitorial services, security services, bus transportation services, non-clinical health care services, and food services;
- Improved access and protection of collective bargaining;
- Removing education as an essential service.
“More than anything, BC Greens believe this legislation will go a long ways towards ending the ideological tug-of-war that has been allowed to destabilize the province’s labour code for the past 30 years.”
These amendments are necessary adjustments to existing labour law, but there is more work to do to address the other fundamental challenges facing the economy.
“Unfortunately, what continues to be missing from the conversation is a focus on how we can adapt our labour laws to support people grappling with the changing nature of work,” Weaver said. “From increases in precarious, gig-based jobs, to the increasing use of contractors instead of employees, British Columbians are dealing with huge changes to job stability and income security, and our laws aren’t keeping up.”
The B.C. Green caucus consults with government to improve fairness for workers and ensure balance in the workplace as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.