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.

Just Posted

Police watchdog investigating after pedestrian struck and killed in Surrey

IIO investigating after male killed in crash shortly after being released from police custody

Surrey Mounties say 40 intoxicated teens found on ‘party bus’ in Newton

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Strawberry Hill

PHOTOS: Players putt their way to Las Vegas at Surrey MSOP tournament

Two-day regional qualifier held at Eaglequest Coyote Creek

Electric car-share company to bring 2,000 vehicles to Surrey/White Rock

SUMO is to launch next year with 150 vehicles, and increase to 2,000 by 2022

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Powder the muskets, zombies are coming!

Fort Langley National Historic Site offers up A Survivalist’s Guide to a Zombie Apocalypse, Sept. 28

Most Read

l -->