Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement marking International Workers’ Day:
“Today, May 1, is International Workers’ Day. It is a day to honour working people in British Columbia and around the world and the fight for workers’ rights.
“International Workers’ Day has its origins in the late-nineteenth-century struggle for the eight-hour workday. Since then, labour unions have fought for and won many victories that continue to protect and benefit workers, including the minimum wage, weekends and holidays, job security, parental leave, protection from discrimination and harassment, and workplace safety and health standards.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, working people – from nurses to farm workers, truck drivers to bakers, early childhood educators to first responders — have been on the front lines, providing essential goods and services and helping keep us safe.
“The effects of the pandemic have been felt disproportionately by women, people of colour and those working in the gig economy. Responses to the crisis must recognize these realities and support the most vulnerable and precarious workers.
“During the pandemic, our government has taken steps to better support workers, including protecting the jobs of people who are unable to work due to circumstances related to COVID-19, providing a permanent benefit of up to three days of leave each year for people who cannot work due to personal illness or injury, and working hard to get the federal government to create a national paid sick leave program.
“The pandemic has highlighted that workers who are sick should not have to choose between supporting their families and staying home. For the past year, we have developed new measures to better support working people, including amending B.C.’s laws to make sure workers cannot be fired for staying home when they’re sick and providing paid time off for people to get vaccinated.
“B.C. was a leader in advocating on behalf of all workers across Canada for a national paid sick leave program. While we were pleased to see the federal government take up the challenge, we were disappointed this effort fell short of a comprehensive plan to benefit all Canadians. Our government will move to fill the gaps left behind by the federal program to ensure workers in B.C. will not have to choose between a paycheque and staying home when they are sick.
“Beyond the pandemic, we continue to act on priorities to support worker health and safety, fair workers’ compensation and economic recovery. These include increasing the minimum wage each year to better support B.C.’s lowest paid workers and removing the discriminatory lower liquor-server wage.
“As we move through the pandemic and into recovery, we will continue to support fairness, equality and security in the workplace.
"Happy International Workers' Day!"
For a French translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PREM0031-000812#translations