Proposed B.C. regulations stop short of best protections for gig workers

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VANCOUVER—The proposed regulations outlined today by B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains delivers long-overdue protections for misclassified gig workers but will stop short of giving them the full employment rights all Canadians deserve, says Unifor.

“Powerful digital platform employers have come to rely on precarious employment, and governments can and must raise the floor for gig workers,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. 

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. 

Classified in most jurisdictions as “independent contractors”, gig workers have been unfairly denied basic workplaces rights—including the right to form unions and collective bargaining.

Under the proposed regulations, the Government of British Columbia is proposing to include gig workers under basic employment standards including a minimum wage, pay transparency rights and other notable improvements.

The regulations include many problematic exemptions that will result in continued lower status for gig workers. Unifor argues that they deserve full protection under the Employment Standards Act, including access to daily minimum pay, overtime pay and paid vacation time.

Minister Bains says the government will consider additional compensation in cases when workers use a personal vehicle for work. Unifor helped set high standards for owner-operator truckers during the development of the Container Trucking Act and promises to work with Bains to help set an equally high standard for gig workers.

“The B.C. government is building a basic floor for gig worker rights that most governments in Canada have failed to do. That’s commendable,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “However, there’s a difference between rights on paper and in practice. Gig workers must have equal representation under the law and the tools make the employer accountable.”

Unifor has previously called on governments to introduce a sector-based collective bargaining model tailored to gig workers, empowering workers to negotiate strong industry standards and resolve workplace disputes.  

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 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