On December 5, 2018, the BC Law Institute (BCLI), www.bcli.org issued a report on reform of BCLI’s Employment Standards Reform Project. The 320 page Report contained 71 recommendations for changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The Project has been underway since the fall of 2014 with support from labour and business organizations, the Law Foundation of BC, and the BC Ministry of Labour. A June 18 2018 Consultation Paper resulted in 25 major submissions and over 700 written responses – the most in BCLI’s 21 year history as a not-for-profit law reform agency working to improve and modernize the law.
Tom Beasley of Bernard LLP initiated the idea of this project with BCLI. Tom then chaired the 12 person Advisory Committee which meet monthly for almost 4 years. The Committee’s monthly meetings reviewed BCLI research on ESA issues, comparing law and social policy on a very broad spectrum of employment standards issues across Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom the western states of California, Oregon and Washington, and the 14 jurisdictions in Canada.
A BCLI Press Release quoted Tom stating “This report is the first comprehensive review of the Employment Standards Act from a neutral, independent perspective in nearly a quarter of a century. Employment legislation not only has to catch up with the transformative changes that have occurred in the workplace in recent years, but also meet the needs of the next several decades. Reviews of legislation in this depth are few and far between.”
The ESA sets minimum standards for terms of employment and working conditions for most employees and employers in BC. The Project’s recommendations are aimed at updating the legislation in light of increasingly non-standard working relationships; replacing full-time employees with part-time or casual workers; and influences of digital technology and globalization – while maintaining fair reasonable basic standards.
The ESA Report is found at https://www.bcli.org/publication/report-on-the-employment-standards-act-2
A Lawyers Daily story on the ESA Paper is at https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/9301
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