|2002/03 Annual Service
Ministry of Skills Development and Labour
May 13, 2002 — Bill 42, Labour Relations Code Amendment
Act, 2002, introduced to ensure the Labour Relations Board and
others interpret and apply the code in keeping with its stated principles;
ensure that job security and viability of the business are considered
in LRB decisions; and, restore the right to communicate in
union certification and decertification matters. Changes provide
a framework for labour and management to build modern, healthy and
competitive workplaces. Bill 42 passed May 30.
May 13 — Bill 48, Employment Standards Amendment
Act, 2002, introduced to protect vulnerable employees, simplify
workplace rules and to revitalize the economy by recognizing the
needs of modern workplaces. Changes include providing greater flexibility
in work hours; simplifying record-keeping, overtime and statutory
holiday pay rules; and enhancing enforcement in problem areas. Bill
48 passed May 30.
May 13 — Bill 49, Workers Compensation Amendment
Act, 2002, introduced to ensure sustainability of the program,
modernize how benefits are calculated, clarify coverage for mental
stress and improve management of the system by restructuring Workers'
Compensation Board governance. Bill 49 passed May 30.
May 30 — Bill 56, Workers Compensation Amendment
Act (No. 2), 2002, introduced to reduce the levels of review
and appeal of WCB decisions from three to two, create a new internal
review function to improve the quality of decision-making and establish
a new, independent appeal tribunal as the final level of appeal
for workers' compensation matters. Bill 56 was replaced by Bill
63 in October 2002.
June 30 — Changes to workers' compensation brought
about through Bill 49 came into effect. These include basing benefits
on a worker's average net earnings, instead of 75 per cent gross
earnings and ceasing wage loss benefits at age 65.
July 1 — Implementation of Employment Standards Self-Help
kit that assists employees to determine if they have a complaint
against their employers and to provide a step-by-step plan to deal
with the issue first between themselves. If that does not lead to
a successful conclusion, an Employment Standards Branch officer
will resolve the dispute.
July 18 — Cabinet and deputy minister economic planning
seminar includes discussion on skills shortages that could undermine
economic growth in British Columbia. Ministry directed to engage
with employers from key sectors to further diagnose the problem
and discuss effective strategies.
July 22 — The Ministry and the B.C. Restaurant and
Food Services Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding that
provides for an employment standards officer to work exclusively
with the association to educate workers and members, review payroll
information and mediate disputes.
Oct. 9 — Changes to the Employment Standards Act
clarified the length of time that the employment standards branch
can go back to collect wages from employers when wage complaints
are filed. Amendments ensure that complaints filed before the changes
took effect are treated under the old rules.
Oct. 10 — Bill 63, Workers Compensation Amendment
Act (No. 2), 2002, introduced to implement a new WCB appeals
process. Bill 63 replaced Bill 56, introduced May 30. The new process
reduces the levels of review and appeal of WCB decisions from three
to two, creates a new internal review function to improve the quality
of initial decision-making and establishes a new, independent appeal
tribunal as the final level of appeal for workers' compensation
matters. The new appeals process became effective March 3, 2003.
Oct. 21 — Bill 66, Public Sector Employers Amendment
Act, 2002, introduced to set new rules for public service executive
management compensation practices. The new rules reduced severance
and accumulated benefit payments and increased transparency by ensuring
contracts are fully disclosed.
Oct. and Nov. — Ministry holds eight employer employment
seminars to discuss skills shortage and response options.
Nov. 30 — Employment Standards Amendment Act,
Bill 48, brings averaging agreements, mandatory penalties and new
rules around overtime and statutory pay into effect. As well, new
definitions for "manager," "short-haul truck driver" and "high-technology
professional" will modernize and simplify B.C.'s rules, making them
more consistent with other jurisdictions. Cabinet approved these
changes on Nov. 20, 2002.
Dec. 12 — A seven-member board of directors was named
to review, restructure and rebuild the Workers' Compensation Board
to make it more responsive to the needs of employees and employers.
Douglas Enns was named chair. In addition, the Allan Hunt report
on the Workers' Compensation Board's service delivery was released
and turned over to the new Board.
Dec. 18 — An independent committee of special advisors
was appointed to provide advice to government on the labour code.
The five-member committee, appointed under Section 3 of the Labour
Relations Code and chaired by lawyer Daniel Johnston, will review
14 issues to provide government with a better understanding of today's
labour relations challenges and to ensure it is fair and balanced.
(See Jan. 24, 2003.)
Dec. 19 — The province is taking a second look at
the new Employment Standards regulation for high-end commission
sales following a meeting with automobile sales staff and dealers.
Jan. 24, 2003 — The Section 3 Committee reviewing
the Labour Relations Code has called for labour relations
submissions to be provided by Feb. 21. The committee will then review
and report to the Minister by April 11, 2003.
Mar. 12 — Bill 21, University of British Columbia
Services Continuation Act, 2002, is introduced and passed to
impose a 20-day cooling off period for striking CUPE members at
the University of British Columbia and orders UBC and CUPE to return
to the bargaining table immediately in an effort to settle their
Mar. 28 — Government has reviewed new minimum wage
and statutory holiday pay rules for people who sell automobiles
and recreational vehicles. People who sell automobiles, trucks,
recreational vehicles and campers must be paid at least minimum
wage for their first 160 hours of work each month. Employees will
continue to be exempt from overtime rules. Automobile and truck
salespeople will have a 3.6 per cent wage premium added on to every
pay cheque in lieu of statutory holiday pay. RV salespeople will
continue to be exempt from statutory holiday rules.
Mar. 31 — Government responded to the HEU proposal
to delay a pay increase in exchange for the employer putting contracting
out and privatization initiatives on hold. The Minister of Labour
asked his deputy minister to talk to the HEU to determine if there
is a desire to set a framework for discussions.