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Human Capital Law & Policy >>

Governments Focus on Employment and Labour Law Changes

This edition of Human Capital Law and Policy was co-authored by Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia and guest author Thomas A. Roper, Q.C., Chair, Roper Greyell LLP.

Highlights

  • There has been a renewed interest, on the part of the federal and some provincial governments, in employment standards and labour law reform.  In part, this reflects greater public concern over inequality, the growth of "precarious" employment, and the impact of technological innovation on the job market.
  • Since 2014, Ontario and Alberta have modified aspects of their employment standards and labour relations legislation, including by instituting a significantly higher minimum wage.  At the same time, the Trudeau government has altered the rules for collective bargaining and employment standards in federally-regulated industry sectors.
  • As documented in this article, in some respects the policy and legal changes adopted in Ontario and Alberta bring these two provinces into alignment with where BC already sits today.  Even so, with an NDP government in place in BC, new labour and employment standards legislation is likely to be under consideration here. 
  • Recently, the BC government signalled that the province will move to a $15.00 an hour minimum wage over the next few years.  The government will seek advice from a soon-to-be-established Fair Wage Commission on the specific pathway for getting to $15 an hour.
  • When considering changes to labour and employment standards legislation, BC policy-makers need to be mindful of the cost impact on employers, pay attention to developments in other jurisdictions, and avoid taking actions that could jeopardize the strong economic growth and robust job creation the province has enjoyed in recent years.

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