THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 8 533
BC LAW INSTITUTE
By Kathleen Cunningham*
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT CONSULTATION PAPER SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT
BCLI’s Employment Standards Act Reform Project has now entered its second
phase with the publication of a consultation paper. The project is the first
comprehensive independent review of the B.C. Employment Standards Act
(the “Act”) since the Thompson Commission report of 1994. The aim of the
project is to reform and rejuvenate the Act, which is still oriented to the
working world of several decades ago. The 12 members of the all-volunteer
project committee were carefully chosen to reflect a balance between
employer and employee perspectives. Financial support for the project has
been received from the Law Foundation, the Ministry of Labour, the
BCGEU, Hospital Employees’ Union, the Vancouver and District Labour
Council and the Coalition of BC Businesses.
The Consultation Paper on the Employment Standards Act seeks public
comment on tentative recommendations for reform of the Act that emerged
from 33 meetings of the project committee. The tentative recommendations
touch on nearly all portions of the Act, but may change based on the
response to the consultation paper. A report with final recommendations
will be issued after responses to the consultation paper are reviewed.
Differing employer and employee perspectives have not allowed for
agreement on all reform issues. Where the project committee did not reach
an internal consensus on an issue, the consultation paper sets out the
majority and minority positions with explanations of each. Comparisons
are made throughout the consultation paper with employment standards
legislation in the rest of Canada and other countries, notably the U.S., U.K.,
Australia and New Zealand.
* Kathleen Cunningham is the executive director of BCLI.