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

Slocan Valley Youth Centre starts teen summer reading challenge

Kids who read three different types of books by Aug. 31 will receive a special prize

Nelson’s police chief retiring

Chief Paul Burkart has given notice for the spring of 2021

Fresh local food for families goal of new West Kootenay EcoSociety program

Produce from three local organic farms will be delivered weekly to 54 low income families

LETTER: Park road only fit for a tank

From reader Sheila McCormack

LETTER: Three observations about Nelson

From reader Brian Zacharias

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read