In Question Period today, BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite described earned severance as “significantly unnecessary costs” that businesses should not have to pay fired workers.
In response, Premier John Horgan affirmed his commitment to severance owed to workers: “Unnecessary costs is how the opposition party refers to working people in British Columbia. For a member of the Opposition to say that it’s unacceptable for business to be responsible for their employees is a bit rich.”
While remaining steadfast on severance rights, Premier Horgan also committed to working with the business community to protect jobs.
“The question at hand here is can we find a way for businesses and workers to find an accommodation so that we can get back to where we were pre-COVID,” he said. “But if you’re suggesting that the severance that is owed to those employees should be forgiven, that’s not on.”
“We’re happy to work with small businesses through their representatives, either through the BC Chamber or through the Boards of Trade. I have a meeting on Thursday with them. We’ll engage in that discussion at that time and I’m confident we’ll find a way forward that meets the interests of those businesses as well as those employees.”
In May, government provided additional flexibility to businesses and workers by extending the temporary layoff period from 13 to 16 weeks.