B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains takes questions in the legislature on changes to WorkSafeBC regulations, July 21, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. NDP stands by WorkSafeBC changes as business protests

Presuming COVID-19 infection job-related ‘contrary to medical science’

Leading business organizations are calling on the B.C. government to withdraw legislation that allows presumption of viral illness as a workplace injury, changes the determination of retirement age for injured workers and makes other changes to WorkSafeBC’s policies.

Premier John Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains stood by the changes in the B.C. legislature July 21, as opposition MLAs peppered him with concerns from a lengthy letter from the Business Council of B.C., the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Retail Council of Canada, Restaurants Canada and other business organizations.

Employers argue that B.C. is changing its provisions to deal with COVID-19 at a time when the federal government’s new sick pay program is still being worked out, and moves ahead with changes that “destabilize” the employer-funded compensation program at a time when businesses are reeling from pandemic-related loss of revenue and employment.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson led off question period by asking Bains why the changes beyond the recommendations of a consultant who met with business representatives.

“The proposed changes to workers’ compensation will make it even more difficult for small businesses to bounce back from this devastating pandemic,” Wilkinson said.

RELATED: B.C. changing WorkSafeBC rules for COVID-19 illness

RELATED: Employers drop out of ‘biased’ WorkSafeBC review

Waiving a 90-day period for determining if a viral illness is work-related “amounts to government pre-judging WorkSafeBC’s independent policy decision-making authority,” the letter states. (See full letter below.)

“We are disappointed the government would take a position contrary to all scientific and medical science. Such a position, regrettably mirrors the disastrous approach taken by the administration in the United States.”

Horgan emphasized that the changes do not increase WorkSafeBC payroll premiums for employers for three years.

“What we’ve done is increase benefits for workers without adding any cost to businesses,” Horgan said.

Bains noted that the government has taken significant steps to support business in the pandemic, including the ability to defer WorkSafeBC insurance payments for six months.

WorkSafeBC Bus Letter July20.20 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Hospice is concerned COVID-19 is silencing grief

P.R. Hospice Society is available for end of life compassion and comfort during grief - upon request

$80 million gas pipeline upgrade project proposed by PNG

Gas pipeline upgrades needed from Salvus to Port Edward near Prince Rupert

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Heart of Our City – Krysta Ostrom

Fourth generation of family to give heart to Prince Rupert

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

North Okanagan man chains himself to tree in protest of construction

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Most Read