Over the past two years, John Horgan and the NDP caucus have repaired significant damage that the BC Liberals inflicted on the rights of working people. As we celebrate hardworking British Columbians during the Labour Day weekend, let’s reflect on the progress we have made together.
During the BC Liberal years, the minimum wage remained largely stagnant, including a decade-long freeze. It resulted in our province having among the lowest minimum wages in Canada. Under John Horgan and the BC NDP government, the minimum wage is rising to $15/hour by 2021 and we are eliminating the lower wage for people who serve liquor.
Unsafe Labour Standards
The BC Liberals rolled back child labour laws, allowing children as young as 12 to engage in hazardous work suited for adults. The BC government increased the age for working so the law is consistent with United Nations standards and is back to where it was at the start of this century.
In addition, the BC Liberals discouraged workplace safety complaints through so-called “self-help kits.” We are stepping up real enforcement to protect workers.
Ripping up Workers Contracts
Unlike the BC Liberals who ripped up contracts for healthcare and education workers, we have and continue to respect the collective bargaining process.
Banning Contract Flipping
The BC Liberals allowed new contractors in seniors’ care and health-care facilities to dump the labour agreements previously negotiated with their workers. We eliminated that process. Now those contracts follow the workers when a new contractor takes over a facility.
The BC NDP government also brought in job protection for British Columbians who need to be away from work to care for a loved one who is gravely ill or is fleeing domestic violence. The BC Liberals took no action on these important issues.
Presumptive WCB Coverage
We also expanded the definition of presumptive WCB coverage to fill gaps in the system. Our changes ensure that fire investigators, forest fire fighters and firefighters employed by First Nations, band councils and other Indigenous organizations are included in the definition of “firefighter” contained in the Workers Compensation Act.
We are also conducting a long-overdue full review of the WCB system.