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WorkSafe BC’s biased consultation and why we’re boycotting it

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This summer, the provincial government is holding a consultation on making WorkSafe BC more worker-centric. The review is chaired by a retired labour lawyer, Ms. Janet Patterson. It should be noted that Ms. Patterson was the co-author of a report made to the BC Federation of Labour back in 2009 called: Adding Insult to Injury .

In May, we wrote to the BC Minister of Labour, Honorable Harry Bains (read the letter here!), voicing our concern that the review would lack objectivity. Despite our objections, CFIB participated in good faith in the review based on the original terms of reference. 

However, any hint of ‘good faith’ ended once the submission due date passed. It seemed the reviewer was cherry-picking feedback, and seemingly ignoring submissions made by employer groups and the business community. A memo from Ms. Patterson showed her proposals were indeed “worker-centric”, and seemed oddly familiar. In fact, her latest proposals matched the same ones in a report she wrote for the BC Federation of Labour.

That is why on August 14, CFIB officially pulled out of the WorkSafe BC review, along with 45 other employer groups.

Ms. Patterson's proposals would have a huyge impact on the system, such as:

  • No more binding decisions from the board meaning they can be reopened and amended at any time
  • Amend the act so the wage rate is 100% net pay, no offset for CPP Disability awards to seriously injured workers, index to CPI
  • Give Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) jurisdiction over the Canadian Charter and Human Rights Code matters to address Duty to Accommodate.

If accepted by the province, the proposals would add enourmous costs to the system. We need your help to let Minister Bains know that the WorkSafe BC review is biased, broken, and needs a complete overhaul. You deserve a fair opportunity to have your voice heard.

Please write to Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour and let him know your concerns as a business owner are being overlooked in the WorkSafe BC review.

As a reminder, we have collected over 5,000 alerts asking WorksafeBC to refund the money to the employers who pay into it. We will continue to put the pressure on that a refund is the right thing to do.