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

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Chilliwack Players Guild presents beloved classic ‘A Christmas Carol’

The Chilliwack Players Guild brings famous Dickens tale to life at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Hope Secondary teacher disciplined for inappropriate contact with student

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Nov. 11 to 17

Wife of Chilliwack homicide victim says he was more than ‘known to police’

Keith Baldwin had ups and downs but he was a loving man, loved by many

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read