App-based ride-hailing and food-delivery gig workers will soon have better working conditions with new protections, including basic employment standards.
In recent years there has been significant growth of the gig economy, where income is earned outside of a traditional employment relationship. The Province is taking action to bring fairness and predictability to these types of jobs with new proposed standards as the sector continues to expand.
“The workers who appear at the touch of a button to drive us home or deliver our dinner deserve to be treated fairly,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “That’s why we’re taking action to address the problems that the workers themselves raised. We know how important these services are to people in B.C. and our goal is to balance the needs of workers while supporting the continuation of these services.”
Workers value the flexibility of this work, but many expressed concerns such as facing low and unpredictable wages, being cut off from the job without warning and lacking workers’ compensation coverage if injured on the job.
“Some newcomers to Canada face language barriers or other challenges that make it difficult to find a job, and app-based work can provide a quick source of income,” said Janet Routledge, Parliamentary Secretary for Labour. “We’ve been listening to gig workers all across the province during the engagement roundtables about the challenges they are facing, and these standards reflect what we have heard. All workers, regardless of where they’re from or what they do, deserve minimum employment standards and protections.”
The proposed solutions were developed after extensive engagement with app-based workers, platform companies, labour organizations, business associations, the public and others. The solutions require legislative changes that enable new regulations to be developed. The changes will come into effect after legislation is passed and new regulations are finalized.
These changes address the priority concerns that workers have raised. B.C. will be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to address the vulnerabilities faced by these workers.
Inder Raj Gill, ride-hailing driver, Vancouver –
“This is the first, and a very crucial, step towards recognizing us as hardworking individuals. We can look forward to receiving a fair resolution process, pay that reflects our hard work and basic rights and benefits, just like any contributing member of society.”
Vineet Singh, food-delivery driver, Victoria –
“Hearing that government is moving forward with solutions to problems we face makes me feel like my work is respected and that someone has my back. I will benefit from each one of the improvements and I know many friends and other workers who will also feel supported when these changes happen.”
- App-based food-delivery workers include those who deliver food or other goods through an app that matches customer orders with a delivery courier.
- Government estimates there are currently about 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 27,000 food-delivery workers in B.C.
- 21 ride-hailing companies are licensed to operate in B.C., including multi-national companies such as Uber and Lyft, and locally operated companies such as Coastal Rides and Whistle!
- There are seven food-delivery platforms operating in B.C., including Uber Eats, Instacart, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash and Fantuan.
- According to Research Co.’s study on COVID-19 Impacts Dining Behaviours Across British Columbia (February 2021), 32% of people in B.C. reported having food delivered to their homes at least once every two weeks.
To learn about the ministry’s app-based ride-hailing and food-delivery engagement, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/gig-worker-engagement
To learn about B.C.’s employment standards, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards
A backgrounder follows.