B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains (Tom Fletcher/Black Press Media)

B.C. government adds staff to field worker pay complaints

‘Self-help kit’ a barrier to migrant workers, Harry Bains says

The B.C. government is adding 60 staff to help workers with their allegations of workplace mistreatment, eliminating the “self-help kit” that required workers to document their own hours and pay, Labour Minister Harry Bains says.

Migrant workers and new immigrants have a particularly hard time with the paperwork involved in an application to the Employment Standards Branch, and no one should have to deal directly with their employer after they have been short-changed on their pay, Bains said Wednesday.

The B.C. Liberal government introduced the self-help kit in 2003 and since then, the number of worker complaints has fallen from 11,000 a year to 6,000, Bains told a group of migrant worker supporters in Surrey.

The current B.C. budget includes an additional $15 million for additional staff, and 27 people have been hired so far to get the branch to “investigate in a real-time fashion” when employment standards may be violated, Bains said.

RELATED: Kids under 16 can keep working for now, Bains says

RELATED: B.C. NDP keeps secret ballot for union certifications

Saleem Spindari, manager for refugees and migrant worker programs at Mosaic, a charity assisting new arrivals to B.C., said his staff frequently deal with self-help kit applications for migrant workers.

Gathering documents and calculating lost wages can take experienced staff more than three hours, and it’s unlikely that a migrant worker without language skills would be able to do it, Spindari said.

B.C. Liberal labour critic John Martin said while the opposition has difficulty with some parts of the NDP government’s overhaul of labour and employment laws, he agrees with eliminating the self-help kit.

“The consensus was it’s a good move,” Martin said. “None of the people I talked to were really in favour of them.”

Bains said the majority of employers in B.C. are honest with their employee dealings, but a few “bad apples” get an advantage over those who follow the rules without adequate enforcement of labour standards.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cloverdale man turns old bed racer into chicken coop

Clayton Heights’ Aaron Grim says repurposed racer ‘easy to clean and easy to collect the eggs’

U-Haul truck hits hydro pole, causes power outage in Surrey

Vehicle driving westbound on Fraser Highway

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Truck fire in Surrey destroys generator bound for Uganda missions trip, GoFundMe started

Glen Alexander says his ‘Jesus is Lord’ vehicle has been target of vandalism before

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

VIDEO: Highway 1 left looking like winter war zone with dozens of stranded vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read

l -->