The Employment Standards Act and its enforcement were gutted by the BC Liberal government, leaving workers vulnerable to abuse from their employers. At the same time, we have a seen a dramatic change in the nature of the employment relationship with the rise of temporary, gig, and precarious work. BC has the highest proportion of part-time and temporary workers of the provinces.
With insecure employment, little to no enforcement and a flawed complaints process, workers lack recourse for exploitation on the job. This too often means a job isn’t a path out of poverty. BC’s Employment Standards Act and its enforcement need significant improvement.
It's time to:
1) Eliminate the self-help kit to ensure protection and recourse for workers whose rights have been violated;
2) Increase funding for enforcement of the Act including proactive investigations and enforcement;
3) Increase and expand penalties for employers who break the law;
4) Enforce the definition of an employee to ensure that employers cannot misclassify employees to skirt responsibility for meeting the minimum standards of the Employment Standards Act;
5) Improve basic protections and benefits to workers, such as leave for intimate, personal and relationship violence;
6) Improve the conditions of employment for children, including increasing the minimum work age from 12 to 16 years old;
7) Establish a temporary foreign worker registry and develop legislation to better protect temporary foreign workers from exploitation by recruiters and employment agencies; and
8) Eliminate all exemptions to the minimum wage including exemptions for farm workers and high tech workers.