VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus introduced two amendments to improve the government’s paid sick leave legislation, both of which the government has indicated it is not willing to advance. The amendments would have increased the number of paid sick days from three to five and provided the eventual permanent paid sick leave program with legislative oversight.
“We offered the government two concrete ways to improve this legislation, but they rejected even a modest increase in coverage and a measure to provide oversight and stability to permanent paid sick days,” said B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.
“We were disappointed to see the B.C. NDP reject an increase in the number of provincially paid sick days. Advocates have been clear that 3 days is completely inadequate to protect workers as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. We offered the B.C. NDP a modest increase to 5 days, in line with other jurisdictions like Manitoba, which we thought they could accept."
“We are also concerned that this government has chosen to give themselves, and all future governments, a blank cheque for determining the number of paid sick days employees should receive going forward. We need to create an effective and equitable permanent program for sick days in BC. We brought forward an amendment that would create some legislative oversight and provide more stability for permanent sick days by having all parties engaged in the process.
“It is unfortunate that the B.C. NDP has indicated they reject this amendment and are choosing instead to circumvent the legislature as they bring in a permanent policy. This provides no certainty for workers or business, and is at odds with how things should work in a democracy like ours. Creating substantial new policy through regulation rather than through the Legislature avoids transparency to the public and circumvents the democratic process.”
B.C. Green Caucus worked with legislative drafters to move amendments to Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill. The amendment to Section 2 requires that the Minister prepare a report specifying the number of permanent sick days to be prescribed and any information the minister considers relevant, that the minister’s report be referred to a select standing or special committee of the Legislative Assembly, and that the committee approves the proposed number of days. The amendment to Section 3 increases the number of COVID-19 related paid sick days from 3 to 5.
B.C. Green Caucus
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