Basic protections for B.C. gig workers are a step forward

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VANCOUVER—A wage floor and access to workers' compensation for gig workers are among the positive changes to employment standards regulations announced June 12 by the Government of B.C.

“B.C. is leading the way to enshrine the basic rights of the gig workers,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Today’s proposals will take gig workers one step closer to economic fairness.”

Gig workers often find work through digital platforms or apps, taking on tasks such as driving for ride-sharing services, delivering food, or performing various freelance jobs.

The regulations announced today primarily apply to drivers employed by app-based dispatch, such as Door Dash or Uber. The rules will set minimum hourly wages, provide stronger tip protections, guarantee some compensation for vehicle expenses, and add some transparency to work assignments. Eligible gig workers will be covered by WorkSafeBC for job-related injury.

“We welcome the new regulations. Gig workers are some of the most exploited and underrepresented workers in B.C.’s entire economy,” said Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle. “A union for gig workers is a true path to better working conditions, but they deserve unique legal tools to form their own unions.”

There are serious obstacles when gig workers attempt to form unions, such as the total lack of transparency about a gig companies’ total local workforce. Union votes are triggered in B.C. after 45% of a certifiable unit signs a union card. However, without accurate knowledge of the threshold, the organizing efforts are more likely to fail or stall. Unifor has lobbied for employers to be forced to provide a payroll list after 20% of workers sign union cards.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 320,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Media Contact

Ian Boyko

National Communications Representative - Western Region