BC government will expand employment protections to gig workers

18. December 2023 0

On November 30, 2023, the Labour Statutes Amendment Act, 2023 received Royal Assent.  This Act will amend the Employment Standards Act and Workers Compensation Act to include “online platform workers”.  Such workers will be defined as “a person who performs prescribed work that the person accepts through an online platform”.  Such workers are intended to include drivers for ride-hailing companies (e.g. Uber and Lyft) and drivers for food-delivery companies (e.g. Uber Eats, Skipthedishes, and DoorDash).

Up until now, gig workers have not been protected by employment legislation, such as the Employment Standards Act, because they are not considered “employees” for the purposes of such legislation.  The BC Government is about to change this.  The actual provisions are not yet in force and will be disclosed in future.  The intentions are summarized in the news release found here:

Fairness coming for gig workers | BC Gov News

In summary, the government intends to add these types of protections for “online platform workers” (gig workers):

  • Establish a minimum wage for these workers from the time when a worker accepts an assignment until the assignment is completed.  The minimum wage will be higher than the existing minimum wage because it does not apply to time spent waiting between assignments.  Tips will not be included in the calculations.
  • Establish a standard to recognize the costs that these workers incur when using their personal vehicle for work.  This will require consultation to determine. 
  • Protect the tips for these workers by prohibiting companies from withholding their tips or making deductions from their tips.
  • Provide some pay transparency by allowing these workers to see the earnings for an assignment before accepting the assignment.  Also, companies will have to provide wage statements each pay period so these workers can ensure their pay is correct.
  • Provide destination transparency by providing pickup and destination locations before these workers accept the assignment. 
  • Extending workers compensation coverage from WorkSafeBC to these workers, with the company paying the premiums. 
  • Requiring companies to disclose, in writing, the reason for a suspension or deactivation of their account.  Companies will also have to provide a review process for the worker to respond.   
  • Requiring companies to provide written notice, or compensation for length of service, if they want to terminate an online platform worker’s account without cause.

Some protections in the Employment Standards Act will not be extended to online platform workers, such as: hours of work and overtime, statutory holidays, paid leaves, and annual vacation. 

Once new updates are disclosed by the government, we will post additional information on our blog. 

Questions? Comments? Please contact Scott Marcinkow at smarcinkow@harpergrey.com or anyone else from our team listed on the Authors page.