B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains takes questions in the legislature on changes to WorkSafeBC regulations, July 21, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. NDP stands by WorkSafeBC changes as business protests

Presuming COVID-19 infection job-related ‘contrary to medical science’

Leading business organizations are calling on the B.C. government to withdraw legislation that allows presumption of viral illness as a workplace injury, changes the determination of retirement age for injured workers and makes other changes to WorkSafeBC’s policies.

Premier John Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains stood by the changes in the B.C. legislature July 21, as opposition MLAs peppered him with concerns from a lengthy letter from the Business Council of B.C., the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Retail Council of Canada, Restaurants Canada and other business organizations.

Employers argue that B.C. is changing its provisions to deal with COVID-19 at a time when the federal government’s new sick pay program is still being worked out, and moves ahead with changes that “destabilize” the employer-funded compensation program at a time when businesses are reeling from pandemic-related loss of revenue and employment.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson led off question period by asking Bains why the changes beyond the recommendations of a consultant who met with business representatives.

“The proposed changes to workers’ compensation will make it even more difficult for small businesses to bounce back from this devastating pandemic,” Wilkinson said.

RELATED: B.C. changing WorkSafeBC rules for COVID-19 illness

RELATED: Employers drop out of ‘biased’ WorkSafeBC review

Waiving a 90-day period for determining if a viral illness is work-related “amounts to government pre-judging WorkSafeBC’s independent policy decision-making authority,” the letter states. (See full letter below.)

“We are disappointed the government would take a position contrary to all scientific and medical science. Such a position, regrettably mirrors the disastrous approach taken by the administration in the United States.”

Horgan emphasized that the changes do not increase WorkSafeBC payroll premiums for employers for three years.

“What we’ve done is increase benefits for workers without adding any cost to businesses,” Horgan said.

Bains noted that the government has taken significant steps to support business in the pandemic, including the ability to defer WorkSafeBC insurance payments for six months.

WorkSafeBC Bus Letter July20.20 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@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

The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program rehearse this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for next month’s virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Timberline’s popular musical goes online for 2021

Once Upon a Mattress will be streamed right to your living room thanks to school’s AV department

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

A fire broke out near the Willow Point Bottle Depot early on Jan. 22. Photo courtesy Ashley Laycock
Two injured in early-morning fire in Campbell River

Sailboat fire also attended by Campbell River fire crews

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read