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

Sooke businesses respond in time of crisis

Sooke Emergency Operations Centre met with business community to discuss impact of COVID-19

Langford expands COVID-19 response to include all of West Shore, home testing

City’s mobile team has already tested 20 people at home

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Colwood looks at reopening garbage cans as litter, dog poop pile up in parks

City staff are now being redirected from priority infrastructure to picking up litter

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read