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

Campbell River Arts Council’s Banner Project coming to a home near you

‘Banners will be reflective of how a community can stay positive even in difficult times,’ – CRAC executive director

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Federal NDP suggests universal benefit to streamline aid payments

Those who do not need money will repay at end of tax year

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Campbell River community COVID-19 agencies, services and resources list

The list outlines status of social agencies in the community

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read