B.C. cabinet ministers sit far apart in a nearly empty legislature to pass emergency measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, March 23, 2020. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C. moves to prevent people being fired due to COVID-19 consequences

Employment law changes cover isolation, child care, travel bans

B.C. is following the lead of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, changing its employment law to protect people from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 effects.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth presented amendments to the Employment Standards Act in a minimal session of the B.C. legislature March 23, as one of 10 MLAs present for a legal quorum while most provincial politicians joined others in staying home as much as possible.

The main effect of the bill is to make sure no one can be fired for following the directions of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who has made a range of orders closing businesses and restricting gatherings. It allows people to take unpaid, job-protected leave, retroactive to Jan. 27, 2020 when the first B.C. case of the novel coronavirus was identified.

RELATED: B.C. announces $5B relief package, delays business tax payments

RELATED: Cities warned not to declare emergencies, Abbotsford mayor says

The legislation also protects people if “they have been directed by their employer to stay home because of concerns about their exposure to others, or because they are unable to return to British Columbia because of a travel or border restriction, or they are providing care to their minor child or dependent adult who is their child or former foster child, including when a school or daycare facility has closed,” Farnworth said.

“The leave will be available for as long as one of these eligible COVID-19 related situations applies to employees.”

B.C. Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau applauded a provision to guarantee employees three days of unpaid leave per year due to illness or injury.

With airlines and services curtailed, only nine MLAs joined Premier John Horgan in the legislature for what may be the last scheduled sitting of what would normally be the spring session of the legislature. Labour Minister Harry Bains was among the majority who stayed away.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Bus services taking extra measures because of COVID-19

More cleaning and more disinfecting underway

Babine Forest Products taking every precaution for employees

While the lumber industry has seen a number of lay-offs in the… Continue reading

Self isolating on Francois Lake

Carla Goltz submitted this photo of the a beautiful heart she made… Continue reading

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

Program to provide primary health care through COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

132,000 B.C. jobs lost just the start of COVID-19 impact, finance minister says

Finance Minister Carole James says ‘this isn’t the entire picture’

Most Read