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Legislative Updates Courtesy of CUPE BC

Minimum Wage Increased: On June 1, 2021, B.C.’s lowest paid workers received a pay boost, when the general minimum wage increased to $15.20 an hour and the lower discriminatory minimum wage for liquor servers ended. June 1 also marked the end of the discriminatory lower minimum wage for B.C. liquor servers.

Paid Sick Leave for Non-Union Workers Introduced: Employees working under the Employment Standards Act now have access to three days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result. Employers are now required to pay workers their full wages and the Province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program Up to $200 per day for each worker to cover costs. A permanent paid sick leave for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury will be established beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

New Skilled Trades Certification System: A new skilled trades certification system is being developed by the provincial government. Following public consultation, implementation will start with ten initial trades from electrical, mechanical and automotive disciplines:

  • mechanical: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic and sheet metal worker;
  • electrical: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction); and
  • automotive: heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician and autobody and collision technician.

Once implemented, individuals in these ten trades will be required to either be a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice to work. Government will also be working with industry to introduce journeyperson to apprentice ratios for each of these ten trades, as in every other province. B.C. was the only province not to require compulsory trades certification for skilled trades since it was eliminated in 2003.

Federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Statutory Holiday Created: A new statutory holiday was created for employees in the federal government and federally regulated workplaces. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, commemorating the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada, will be recognized on September 30 each year.

Accessibility Legislation for a More Inclusive Province: The accessible British Columbia act will allow government to establish accessibility standards aimed at identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility and inclusion. Standards will be developed in a range of areas such as employment, the delivery of services and the built environment. Additionally, a $4.8-million grant from the Province will support employers to hire, rehire and retain people with disabilities for long-term successful employment.

New Childcare Legislation & Regulations: New child care legislation will allow the government to set limits on child care fees for parents. This will help ensure child care is more affordable for families. The new legislation will also allow more flexibility in providing trained ECEs throughout the province. A change to the regulations will also exempt school grounds from minimum requirements for the provision of childcare since schools are already designed to be safe for children.

Electoral Boundaries to Be Reviewed: The Province has amended the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act to provide the upcoming electoral boundaries commission with more independence and flexibility as it works to recommend an electoral map for the next two general elections. These amendments will ensure the location of political boundaries between seats is determined not by politicians, but by an independent commission.