Following consultations with British Columbians, businesses, and labour organizations, an independent report on updating B.C.’s Labour Relations Code has been made public, as government considers its recommendations.
“Workers’ rights and protections, regardless of where they work, need to be reflected in a modernized code,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “The last full review was in 1992, and clearly, a great deal has changed in how people work in today’s economy.”
The report, Recommendations for Amendments to the Labour Relations Code, makes 29 recommendations, covering a wide range of topics, such as union certification processes, dispute resolution, successorship, unfair labour practices and arbitration procedures.
The panel of special advisors – Michael Fleming, Sandra Banister and Barry Dong – was appointed in February 2018 to review the code to ensure B.C.’s unionized workplaces are supported by fair laws for workers and businesses that are consistent with the labour rights and protections enjoyed by other Canadians. The panel held public and stakeholder consultations around the province, and undertook extensive research.
“The review panel faced the daunting task of reviewing and weighing submissions that were sometimes diametrically opposed,” Bains said. “I am impressed with the thoroughness of their research, and the fair and balanced perspectives the three members brought to the table.”
“Our mandate was to consult with the community, and review the code to ensure workplaces support a growing, sustainable economy with fair laws for workers and business,” said Michael Fleming, panel chair. “The input we received from the labour relations community was thoughtful and reasoned, and invaluable to our review.”
Public feedback on the panel’s recommendations can be sent to LRCReview@gov.bc.ca by Nov. 30, 2018. Additional consultations with key stakeholders will also be undertaken as government prepares amendments to the code in spring 2019.
The appointment of the Labour Relations Code review panel supported the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the government and the B.C. Green Party caucus. CASA commits to: “Improve fairness for workers, ensure balance in workplaces, and improve measures to protect the safety of workers at work so that everyone goes home safely and that workers and families are protected in cases of death or injury.”
A backgrounder follows.