B.C. premier, labour minister to make announcement about employment standards

B.C.’s premier and labour minister will give an update Tuesday morning about employment standards in the province.

Few details were given ahead of John Horgan and Harry Bains’ joint announcement, except that it will follow “the introduction of legislative amendments to improve employment standards for workers, while supporting businesses.”

CTVNewsVancouver.ca is streaming the news conference LIVE @ 11:15 a.m.

The briefing comes as the premier has been promising more details on paid sick leave, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

While speaking to reporters two weeks ago, Horgan said his administration was planning to introduce a program to address gaps in the federal government’s Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit

That benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks. 

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible.

Early on in the pandemic, widespread outbreaks in food processing facilities were blamed on workers facing financial pressure to come in sick because they wouldn’t be paid to stay home.

Since then, there have been countless instances of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces. More than 50 businesses in the Lower Mainland have been forced to temporarily close since the beginning of April because of on-site transmission that infected three or more people – though the government has not provided any details about how many of those incidents started because someone went to work while symptomatic.

“We’ve seen outbreaks in industries because people have not been able to make that hard choice, they’ve had to go to work to meet the needs of their families. So clearly this was a need throughout the pandemic,” Horgan said late last month.

“People shouldn’t have to make that choice. I believe it’s a responsibility of all us to fill that gap and we’re going to find a way to do that.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel and Bhinder Sajan 

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