Skip to Content

BC Employment Standards Act

BC's minimum wage increased to $10.25 on May 1, 2012

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

British Columbia's minimum wage increased to $10.25 per hour on May 1, 2012.

The BC Government's May 1, 2012 news release stated as follows:

B.C.'s minimum wage will increase to $10.25 per hour on Tuesday, May 1, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid confirmed today.

At the same time, the minimum wage rate for liquor servers will increase to $9.00 per hour.

This is the third increase to the minimum wage over the past year, and follows on Premier Christy Clark's commitment in March 2011 to increase minimum wage in three stages to $10.25 per hour by May 1, 2012, providing more support for B.C. workers and families in every region of the province.

Non-hourly rates paid to camp leaders, live-in home support workers and resident caretakers will be adjusted at the same time in proportion to the increase in minimum wage.  read more »

British Columbia to get "Family Day" statutory holiday starting in February 2013

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

British Columbia will be getting a "Family Day" statutory holiday starting in February 2013. The announcement was made in the BC Government's Speech from the Throne on October 3, 2011. Family Day will occur on the third Monday of every February. A few facts:

  • Three other provinces already have statutory holidays in February celebrating families: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
  • With the addition of Family Day, BC will have ten statutory holidays. The others are: New Years Day; Good Friday; Victoria Day; Canada Day; B.C. Day; Labour Day; Thanksgiving Day; Remembrance Day; and Christmas Day.
  • The only other jurisdiction in Canada with ten statutory holidays is the Northwest Territories
  • Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Boxing Day are not statutory holidays in BC.
  • Following the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, there was a movement to have a statutory holiday in February called Glowing Hearts Day.

"Changing Employment Terms—Developments in Constructive Dismissal"

"Changing Employment Terms—Developments in Constructive Dismissal" is the title of a paper that Richard E. Press of Davis LLP in Vancouver, BC prepared for the Employment Law Conference held on May 2011 (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia).

The Table of Contents is as follows:

  • Constructive Dismissal-The Basics
  • Responding to Repudiation of the Employment Agreement
  • Condoning Changed Terms.
  • Non-Legal Strategies to Have an Employee Accept Changed Terms

"A New Twist on Director’s Liability for Unpaid Wages in a Unionized Environment"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Film & TV

Kevin O'Neill, a lawyer at Faskens, has written an article entitled, "A New Twist on Director’s Liability for Unpaid Wages in a Unionized Environment" (March 15, 2011). The article was published in the firm's HR Space newsletter.

It addresses the decision of the BC Employment Standards Tribunal in Writers Guild of Canada and The Director of Employment Standards, BC EST #RD021/11.

As noted by Mr. O'Neil in the article:

  • The BC Employment Standards Act imposes liability on directors or officers for up to two months of unpaid wages for each affected employee.
  • However, in the Writers Guild case, a company director "avoided ESA enforcement proceedings against him because the unpaid amounts arose out of an arbitration award against the company, in a unionized setting".

BC Government releases "Summary Report on Employment Standards Stakeholder Engagement Process"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC government released a report on Friday that was the culmination of a recent engagement process on the future of B.C.'s employment standards, including minimum wage.

The report can be found here: Summary Report on Employment Standards Stakeholder Engagement Process (March 2011).

The April 29, 2011 Information Bulletin announcing the report states:

Between December 2010 and February 2011, senior ministry staff engaged in a dialogue with groups and organizations representing stakeholders including employees, employers and with some academic experts to discuss how B.C.'s employment standards could be modernized to reflect the needs of the 21st century workplace. More than 30 stakeholder groups provided high-level input that will help inform future government action on the following themes:  read more »

Fraser Institute forecasts that increase in BC's minimum wage to $10.25 could cost 52,000 jobs

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The Fraser Institute released a report today in which it has forecasted that the hike in BC's minimum wage to $10.25/hour could lead to a loss of more than 52,000 jobs.

The increase in BC's minimum wage, that was announced by Premier Christy Clark soon after she took office, will occur in stages over time. The first increase from $8.00 to $10.25 is to take effect this Sunday (May 1, 2011).

The think-tank's report can be accessed here: Estimating the Economic Impact of British Columbia's Minimum Wage Increase (April 29, 2011).

The press release accompanying the report states:  read more »

BC's minimum wage to increase in three stages to $10.25 by May 1, 2012, training wage will be eliminated

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

New premier Christy Clark didn't waste time on the minimum wage issue.

In a news release today, she announced that British Columbia's minimum wage will
increase in three stages to $10.25 by May 1, 2012 and that the training wage will be

According to the news release:  read more »

Christy Clark's impact on the British Columbia Employment Standards Act?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Christy Clark was chosen as the leader of the BC Liberal Party last night and thus the new premier designate of British Columbia.

Her campaign included two promises that involve the BC Employment Standards Act:

  1. Minimum wage: She supports raising the minimum wage - currently $8 in most cases - after the government's consultation is complete. She will also eliminate the training wage.
  2. Family Day statutory holiday in February: She believes families deserve a break during the winter months. She'll spend the next few months consulting with business on how to give families a holiday in February. 

Source: "10 questions for premier-designate Christy Clark", The Province (February 27, 2011)

Lawyers call for reform of BC Employment Standards Act "temporary layoff" provisions

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

I briefly discussed the Besse v. Dr. A.S. Machner Inc., 2009 BCSC 1316, decision in a post I wrote in October 2009 ("BC Employment Standards Branch announces change in how Act's "temporary layoff" provisions to be applied").

Besse confirmed that the temporary layoff provisions in the BC Employment Standards Act ("ESA") do not modify the common law such that all employers have the right to temporarily layoff employees for up to 13 weeks in a 20 week period without being exposed to a constructive claim. 

Rather, the provisions in the Act simply qualify employment agreements in which the right to lay-off has already been expressly agreed to by the parties. (i.e., in such a case, the parties cannot contract for a temporary layoff period that is greater than 13 weeks in a period of 20 weeks).  read more »