B.C. debates labour code

Turbulent times ahead if both sides dig in their heels
By David Brown
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/22/2002

The British Columbia government has torn up public-sector labour contracts and now wants to give private-sector employers the ability to do the same, claims the province’s leading labour organization.

Last month, B.C. Labour Minister Graham Bruce released a discussion paper with suggestions for changes to the province’s labour code. The proposals, if accepted, would make it harder for workers to unionize while making it easier for employers to decertify unions, said Jim Sinclair, president of the British Columbia Federation of Labour.

The government said changes are necessary to revitalize the economy and improve job creation and competitiveness. The Liberal government of Gordon Campbell moved quickly after winning the election, last year, to make some changes to the code including the restoration of the secret ballot for union certification votes. Previously, if 55 per cent of employees signed a union card, certification was automatic.