The BC Business Council said it generally agrees with almost all of the changes proposed by government Monday.
However, it is concerned by a provision in the legislation that would set the standards as the minimum floor requirements for all future union-employer collective agreements. That previously existed under the NDP government in 1994 and was eliminated by the BC Liberals in 2002.
Although government did not make major changes to hours or overtime provisions – Bains specified they may come in the future – if the government does change those then they will become the minimum standards in all future collective agreements and not be able to be negotiated away.
“That change is the one announced today that we strongly object to,” said council executive vice president Jock Finlayson. “We don’t see what problem it’s intending to solve… we don’t believe government should be intervening in those matters.”
Finlayson said he expects hours and overtime changes to come “in phases” and they will have a big impact in the future.
“I think this will be a major shock to a lot of unionized employers who up until now have generally not had to worry too much about the employment standards act,” said Finlayson.