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September Update
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B.C. Home  September Update - Budget 2005  Strategic Context


Strategic Context

Vision, Mission and Values


A modern work environment for British Columbians that encourages innovation, rewards creative thinking and increases productivity. Employees and employers are treated fairly and equitably. A prosperous British Columbia where employers and employees have confidence in the future.


Labour’s mission is to create an employment environment with dynamic workplaces that meet the needs of workers, employers and unions. Vulnerable workers will be protected. The ministry will ensure that British Columbians have the tools they need to foster working relationships in safe and healthy workplaces. It will develop programs and legislation that contribute to provincial competitiveness and prosperity.


The following values underlie the goals established by Labour:

  1. Fairness — We seek fair and balanced workplaces in all sectors and will ensure that all related ministry decisions are made in a consistent, professional, fair and balanced manner.
  2. Competitiveness — We support a competitive business environment that attracts investment to British Columbia and retains our skilled employees.
  3. Respect — We will protect the most vulnerable employees in the province and ensure they are treated equitably, compassionately and respectfully.
  4. Simplicity — We will encourage small businesses to prosper through simple and streamlined processes.
  5. Responsiveness and Flexibility — We strive to be relevant and responsive to constantly changing workplaces and enhance timely decision-making.
  6. Accountability — We adhere to sound fiscal responsibility and management and the implementation of affordable public policies.
  7. Teamwork — We value the hard work and expertise of all ministry employees.

Planning Context and Key Strategic Issues

The scope of the Labour programs touch all working people in British Columbia. More than two million people were employed in British Columbia in 2004. Over 368,000 worked in the broader public sector, 1,303,000 worked in the private sector and approximately 388,000 were self-employed. In the same year, about 600,000 B.C. employees were represented by trade unions. From 1993 to 2003, the growth rate for new small businesses in British Columbia has averaged 3.1 per cent a year, outpacing the overall national growth rate of 1.8 per cent. Currently, 48 per cent of employed British Columbians work in small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Between December 2001 and June 2005 the job growth rate has been 12.2 per cent — higher than any other province. Employment in the construction sector has shown extraordinary growth in the past few years, accounting for one third of all new jobs. This overview provides the context within which the work of the Labour programs will take place in the future.


  • Continuing efforts to enhance British Columbia’s labour relations environment will support government’s goal to create more jobs per capita than anywhere else in Canada.
  • Recent revisions to the Workers Compensation Act, the Employment Standards Act, and the Labour Relations Code recognize one size does not fit all in a modern and changing work environment and provides the foundation for an expanded economy and diversification.
  • Government is committed to enhancing compliance with employment standards legislation by increasing public education and awareness and focusing enforcement efforts on our most vulnerable workers to provide protection to those who need it most.
  • A renewed focus on developing and supporting staff through ministry human resources planning and development initiatives to ensure a skilled, motivated and client-focused staff.


  • Continuing strong employment growth puts pressure on the labour market and increases the demand for skilled workers, which leads to the potential for less stable labour relations.
  • The strong employment growth within the construction industry, increasing employment in high-hazard sectors like mining and forestry and among less experienced workers who are at greater risk of workplace injury has also necessitated a greater emphasis on injury prevention and occupational health and safety initiatives, which is reflected by WorkSafeBC — the new name of the Workers’ Compensation Board.
  • Provincial, national and global economic climates continue to affect the stability of some workplaces in the province. The ministry strives to establish a stable employment environment to counter external forces and balance internal pressures as much as possible.
  • Fiscal challenges for government have necessitated holding the line on wage costs in the public sector over the past several years. As the province’s financial situation improves, public sector unions will seek wage increases, and both employers and employees will need to work closely to ensure fair wage settlements are affordable and sustainable.
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