BC consulting on gig working conditions

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

A series of regional in-person roundtables will be scheduled to hear directly from gig workers about their jobs and working conditions, and the unique challenges for app-based ride-hailing and delivery workers in B.C.

The roundtables will focus on app-based gig workers, and are part of a province-wide work strategy for workers whose jobs could be described as precarious. The strategy is being led by Adam Walker, parliamentary secretary for the new economy.

Gig work is an income-earning activity outside of standard, long-term employer-employee relationships. Currently, many app-based drivers are paid only for “active time” and may earn less than minimum wage for a shift.

In B.C., most workers are eligible for the employment benefits and protections established by the Employment Standards Act, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, statutory holidays and vacation. While some workers performing gig or temporary jobs may be true independent contractors not covered by the Employment Standards Act, others are wrongly denied minimum employment standards by their employer when in fact they are legally entitled to them.

Government is reviewing this issue to ensure that appropriate standards are in place and could include proposing employment standards amendments for gig workers, as well as ensuring these employees are not incorrectly classified as independent contractors.

App-based ride-hailing and delivery workers are being invited to attend a roundtable in their community to provide input about the work they do, their working conditions, the challenges they face and how employment standards could address the challenges. Government wants to hear from workers who use this as their primary source of income and those who use it as supplementary income.

Written comments can be submitted online: precariousworkstrategy@gov.bc.ca

The sessions will be scheduled throughout November 2022 in communities throughout the province.

Walker is also consulting broadly with key stakeholders, including app-based companies, industry experts, labour organizations and academics, and engaging with First Nations and Indigenous partners.

Working with labour and business organizations and developing a precarious work strategy for B.C. is a mandate commitment for Harry Bains, minister of labour, and Walker.

In May 2020, a Statistics Canada report estimated about one in 10 Canadians in the workforce (1.7 million people) are gig workers.