June 25, 2020 (Vancouver, B.C.)— British Columbia’s leading business associations representing small, medium and large employers wish to thank Premier John Horgan and Minister of Labour, Honourable Harry Bains, for listening and acting on our collective call for the government to extend the temporary layoff time limits of the Employment Standards Act to August 30, 2020. The measure will help give many employers the “breathing room” necessary to reopen and recover and, as possible, restore workers’ jobs.
"Today we thank the Premier for listening to our 36,000 members who all want a shot at a successful reopening – and who want to bring back their teams. Economic recovery will be a long journey here in B.C., but today our chances at a successful comeback were enhanced. Let's keep working together; let's keep listening to each other." Val Litwin, President and CEO, B.C. Chamber of Commerce
"We appreciate the government listening to the businesses community and providing the necessary extension. Collaboration has never been more important and it will be vital moving forward. As we restart more of B.C.'s economy, employers will continue to work overtime to do whatever is in their power to bring their customers and employees back." Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
"Collaborating quickly is vital to getting British Columbians back to work and enabling businesses to recover and grow. This issue is one of many before us that we will need to work together on to climb out of the deepest economic hole in a century. I want to thank the Premier for listening to our concerns and acting in the spirit of collaboration. Business will continue to play our part with government to act on solutions that benefit the economy and what is important to British Columbians." Greg D'Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia
"This decision by the Government is not only timely, but also vitally important to thousands of businesses across British Columbia struggling to get people back to work in the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As entrepreneurs, small businesses and investors seek ways to reopen and to revitalize, collaboration on this and other policies is key to renewing our economy and to ensuring that our success on the road to recovery is shared by all British Columbians." Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.
"Extending the temporary layoff period is a big relief for small businesses in British Columbia. Many feared they would have to terminate long term, valuable employees. The government's decision to extend this provision will help protect jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic." Samantha Howard, Senior Director, B.C., Canadian Federation of Independent Business
"The business community is afforded more flexibility and certainty with this extension. In times such as these, excessive and unnecessary red tape should be reduced as much as possible." Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade
"British Columbia's retailers are relieved that Government has enabled retail businesses and jobs more room for survival at this point in the COVID-19 crisis. It's not going to be immediate and that flexibility is required for businesses as they move through the recovery phase." Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
"I'd like to acknowledge Premier Horgan and Minster Bains for listening to the collective voice of employees and employers in the province of British Columbia. The united sigh of relief following today's announcement regarding the extension was immense. Businesses are now afforded the opportunity to focus on recovery, training, hiring back employees, and ultimately, transitioning their business in the face of our new normal. It will be a critical summer for business survival and this extension will be an enormous help in recovery." Ingrid Jarrett, President and CEO, B.C. Hotel Association
"Tourism is one of the largest employers in British Columbia. We are very appreciative that Premier Horgan, Minister Bains, and Minister Beare listened and acted on the collective request from the broad business community for an extension to the temporary layoff time limits. It will allow our industry time to regroup, recover and, as possible, get employees back to work." Walt Judas, President and CEO, Tourism Industries Association of B.C.
"As the province's third-largest source of private sector jobs, restaurants are eager to continue bringing British Columbians back to work. But this is only the beginning of what will be a long and difficult road to recovery for our industry. We appreciate the flexibility this extension will provide businesses to protect the jobs of their employees until they're able to bring them back. We appreciate the B.C. government listening to the concerns of restaurateurs as they continue to do their part to contribute to the province's recovery." Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President, Western Canada, Restaurants Canada
"Being forced to pay severance to workers laid-off because our businesses were closed due to province-wide Public Health Orders never made sense, and would have forced many of our members into bankruptcy. We're grateful the government has heard our concerns. The extension will give B.C.'s businesses the time they need to restart operations, bring workers back, and help restart our economy." Jeff Guignard, Executive Director of ABLE B.C.
"We are pleased that the province has extended the temporary lay-off timelines. As our members rebuild their businesses, this extended period will provide an opportunity to retain valued, skilled employees." Dave Earle, President and CEO, B.C. Trucking Association
The B.C. business community looks forward to working with Premier Horgan and his government to tackle the hard work ahead to restore B.C.'s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next number of weeks, there is also a lot of work to be done on labour and employment policy matters and we look forward to collaborating with the government in the interests of employers, workers, and all British Columbians.
B.C. Chamber of Commerce
Business Council of British Columbia
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Surrey Board of Trade
B.C. Hotel Association
Mark von Schellwitz
B.C. Trucking Association