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Annual Service Plan Reports 2004/05 Home
B.C. Home  Annual Service Plan Reports 2004/05  Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement Adobe Acrobat Reader link page.

Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Graham P. Bruce.The 2004/05 annual report highlights a remarkable year of achievements for the Ministry of Skills Development and Labour as it continues to ensure there are dynamic workplaces that meet the needs of workers, employers and unions. The thriving B.C. economy has brought with it numerous opportunities, and reinforces the relevance of the ministry vision for a prosperous British Columbia, where employers and employees have confidence in the future.

Through 2004, B.C.'s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost a quarter century, the province continued to lead the country in its rate of job growth and the number of strikes and lockouts continued to be at historic lows. The future looks equally bright, with the construction beginning on the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, and the Major Projects listing $62 billion in projects planned or underway in the final quarter of 2004.

The ministry continued to focus on safety and protecting vulnerable workers, bringing in a regulation requiring farm labour contractors to provide their agricultural employees with direct deposit of their pay and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the B.C. film industry to work cooperatively to address issues around employment of young workers. The past year also saw the Forest Safety Council implement the B.C. Faller Training Standard and Certification Program to minimize dangers faced in the logging industry.

Active participation — at the mutual request of both unions and employers — of ministry staff, helped bring negotiated settlements to a number of key public sector labour disputes. A government-commissioned report was also delivered, with recommendations to improve collective bargaining between teachers and school employers.

The Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal continues to make significant progress in eliminating an inherited backlog of appeals, reducing it by more than 75 per cent and on track to completely eliminate it in 2006. Changes to the Workers Compensation Act also gave the Tribunal a wider range of health professionals to draw on and allowed fishery workers and employers to appeal Workers' Compensation Board decisions to the tribunal, giving them the same rights as other British Columbians.

Just as the government has set five goals for the decade ahead to ensure British Columbia is the best educated and most literate, leads the way in healthy living, provides the best support services for those in need and leads the way in environmental stewardship and job creation, our ministry will also continue to work towards its goals, including fair and balanced labour standards, promoting good relationships in the labour community and safe and healthy workplaces responsive to the needs of employers and employees alike.

The 2004/05 Ministry of Skills Development and Labour Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the ministry's 2004/05 Service Plan. I am accountable for those results as reported.

Honourable Graham P. Bruce
Minister of Skills Development and Labour

June 14, 2005


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