Field preparation in Delta. Farmers depend on seasonal work to tend and harvest crops. (Black Press files)

Kids under 16 can keep working for now, B.C. labour minister says

Opposition questions impact on agricultural, co-op jobs

First in a series on changes coming to B.C. labour laws.

Kids under 16 can keep earning “pocket money” while the B.C. government works out regulations to restrict their paid work, Labour Minister Harry Bains says.

Bains said the minimum age for formal work is going up from 12 to 16, except for “light work” that isn’t hazardous, including chores and traditional work like delivering newspapers. He later clarified that there is more consultation needed before it is finalized.

“We will be devising regulations, and that will take some time,” Bains said. “In the meantime they will continue to work. Then we will be consulting to see if they are actually in dangerous occupations, and how do we give the employer some opportunity to get used to what the new regulations are.”

Farm operations and educational co-ops are concerned about new restrictions on youth work announced this week by Bains, as part of his update of the Labour Relations Code, says B.C. Liberal labour critic John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack.

“I’ve already got some emails from people involved in co-op education, youth 15 years old gaining a foothold in their employment career working in greenhouses and other parts of the agriculture sector,” Martin said. “They’re wondering if they’re going to continue that relationship between schools and employers in various parts of the province.”

Ken Peacock, chief economist at the Business Council of B.C., said in an interview he supports greater restrictions on work for young people. The council’s submission to the B.C. Law Institute’s three-year study of employment standards was in line with the changes in that area, he said.

“I’m hearing there are some challenges and concerns in the agricultural sector, but it’s not intended to limit children working in family businesses,” Peacock said.

The business group is expecting further changes to employment standards in the future, dealing with more sensitive areas such as hours of work, overtime and the status of contractors and part-time workers who don’t have employer-supported benefits.

READ MORE: NDP keeps secret ballot vote for union certifications

READ MORE: B.C. prepares to move on labour, employment rules

“One thing we are definitely concerned about is the cumulative impact of all these things. The employment standards, a few pieces of the labour code, business probably can absorb that,” Peacock said.

“But you’ve got changes on both those fronts in terms of labour legislation and the regulations, and then you’ve the employer health tax, the minimum wage going up last year, slated to go up again in June of this year, you’ve got Canada Pension Plan deductions increasing at the federal level. You start adding all these things up and you do wonder whether that’s going to have a dampening impact on job creation and employment, and whether people will opt for contracting arrangements rather than secure employment arrangements.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Cyclist reportedly struck along Kinnaird Bridge in Castlegar

The bridge has since reopened to traffic

Mercer Celgar to temporarily lay off majority of Castlegar mill workers in July

The company said it’s possible that the workers could be laid off for more than a month

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Angel Flight takes flight from Creston after being grounded by COVID-19

Angel Flight is a volunteer-run organization which gives people flights to doctors appointments

Nature Conservancy takes in more lands near Canal Flats

Badgers, bears and birds to benefit from bolstering bunchgrass conservation in Rocky Mountain Trench

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read