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May 2, 2019

Kelowna Chamber and BC Chamber Comment on the Employment Standards Act Legislation April 2019

UPDATE (07-05-2019):

We had a hand in helping moderate the amendments to BC’s Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Code which were tabled last week in the Legislature. Importantly, the government did not extend sick leave provisions and maintained the secret ballot – two key asks from our joint submissions to the government with the BC Chamber and other BC business organizations. Other significant amendments to the Employment Standards Act included adding new provisions for job-protected leave for those fleeing domestic violence, raising the age of child employment protection to 16 years from 12 years of age, and extending the wage recovery period from six months to 12 months. One key amendment to the Labour Relations Code included extending restrictions on retendering of service contracts for five sectors. 


On April 29, the BC government tabled legislation to amend the Employment Standards Act.

This includes raising the minimum age children are legally able to work from 12 to 16 (with some exceptions); changing the wage recovery period; and modernizing the Employment Standards Branch for better complain service among other adjustments.

As always, when any government proposes changes to existing laws or regulations (or sets out to create new ones), the provincial and local chambers analyze proposed changes and how those affect our members and the larger business community, especially here in the central Okanagan. 

Below you’ll find our President (now Past President) Carmen Sparg’s letter written to Hon. Harry Bains, BC Minister of Labour, outlining our concerns with the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act, as well our collaborative document with the BC Chamber, to provide you with a summary and some further context regarding the major amendments.

There were some Chamber wins achieved through the government’s consultation with business and Chambers, most especially, no changes to existing provisions for sick leave and statutory holidays.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: cmiller@kelownachamber.org.

You can also Raise Your Concerns on this issue or others on our website