On November 20, 2023, the Government of British Columbia introduced Bill 48, the Labour Statutes Amendment Act, 2023, for first reading. The Labour Statutes Amendment Act is the first formal step that the B.C. Government has taken to address working conditions for app-based ride hailing and food-delivery gig workers (“gig workers”).
In short, the Labour Statutes Amendment Act,2023 will deem gig workers to be “employees” under the Employment Standards Act and “workers” under the Workers Compensation Act, meaning that some of the protections for employees in those statutes will also apply to gig workers, regardless of the actual legal relationship that they have with the online platform provider.
Further regulations clarifying the extent to which gig workers will be covered by the Employment Standards Act and Workers Compensation Act have yet to be introduced. So far, the Government has announced that it intends to:
- impose minimum wage standards for gig workers that will see them earn 120% of BC’s general minimum wage while they are engaged in providing services;
- establish a compensation standard to reimburse gig workers for the costs they incur in using a personal vehicle for work;
- prohibit deductions from tips or the withholding of tips;
- require online platforms to provide wage statements to gig workers every pay period;
- require that online platforms provide reasons for their decision to suspend or deactivate a gig worker’s account, and consider the gig worker’s evidence in that decision;
- require that online platforms provide gig workers with written notice or compensation in lieu for length of service if they terminate a gig worker without just cause;
- provide workers’ compensation coverage to gig workers; and
- require online platforms to comply with British Columbia’s occupational health and safety regime, register for coverage with WorkSafeBC, and pay premiums.
The Government indicated that it does not intend to impose standards for gig workers related to vacation, statutory holidays, paid leaves and overtime at this time.
Harris will continue to monitor the progress of Bill 48 and further legislative developments regarding gig workers. If you have any questions about this article, please contact your Harris Lawyer.