Earlier this week, ICBA and 45 other employer associations – representing industries from restaurants to construction – pulled out of the NDP’s sham review of WorkSafeBC. See our comments HERE.
The media has picked up on this important story:
The Vancouver Sun: “The business community has resigned en masse from a review of B.C.’s workers’ compensation system, saying the government-appointed reviewer is regurgitating recommendations made a decade ago for the B.C. Federation of Labour… ‘When you undertake a review in this area, it has got to be done ensuring it’s a fair independent review that is going to strike an appropriate balance,’ said Chris Gardner, president of [ICBA], one of the 46 groups that quit the process. ‘The concern is Janet Patterson is biased in how she approaches this review and the focus will be on fairly significant and dramatic wholesale changes in WorkSafeBC.'”
The Orca: “Patterson then took 23 of her 24 recommendations from her 2009 report and added them into the current review. Any semblance of fairness or an unbiased review vanished, and thus the 46 industry associations pulled out… Essentially, the NDP tabbed a player to referee a game they’re playing in – who then changed the rules at halftime.”
Black Press: “‘We were willing to participate in a balanced an impartial process to review the system,’ Richard Truscott, B.C. and Alberta vice president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement Wednesday. ‘However, the writing has been on the wall from the very beginning that the review lacked objectivity.’
Business In Vancouver: “Signatories to the letter published Thursday – which include the BC Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Mining Association of BC – say they were ‘quite taken aback and dismayed’ by what they see as an expansion of the review’s original scope.”
Journal of Commerce: “‘We just want a fair and independent process,’ said Doug Alley, managing director of the Employers’ Forum.
Earlier today, ICBA and 45 other business and industry associations pulled out of the review of WorkSafeBC being led by labour lawyer Janet Patterson. Here’s why:
Three reviews of WSBC have been conducted by the NDP Government since early 2018 – the Petrie Report, the Bogyo Report, and, now the Patterson Review.
Janet Patterson, appointed by NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains, was previously an advisor to the BC Federation of Labour and co-authored a report commissioned by the BC Fed in 2009, entitled “Insult to Injury – Changes to the BC Workers’ Compensation System.”
Minister Bains indicated that the Patterson Review would be “focused” in nature. Patterson herself stated it would be “limited”.
However, it is now apparent that Patterson is undertaking an extensive system-wide review of WSBC based on the work she did for the BC Fed in 2009. It is apparent that Janet Patterson is now reviewing all aspects of WSBC and, in our opinion, is as broad and far-reaching as that previously conducted by the Royal Commission on Workers’ Compensation in British Columbia the late 1990s and which issued its Final Report on January 20, 1999.
Employers have lost confidence that the review can be done in a fair and impartial manner.
In 2009, Patterson and her co-authors drafted 24 recommendations for the BC Fed for radical changes to WSBC – in Patterson’s memo to the employer community earlier this month outlining the focus of her review, all but one of those recommendations were included!
As a result, the Employer Community has lost confidence that the Patterson Review can be conducted in an “independent, impartial and balanced manner” and is withdrawing from the process.
This statement is being released by 46 business organizations and associations representing all parts of the provincial economy – including ICBA.
Employers completely fund the workers’ compensation system. Employers also have a long history of cooperating and working with WorkSafeBC to promote safety and ensure safer and healthier workplaces for their workers. Three reviews of the claims adjudication and payment functions of the workers compensation system have been conducted since early 2018. Yet, despite being the sole funding source, employer engagement in these reviews has been limited. In the most recent review, engagement has been especially minimal and the scope of the review has expanded well beyond what we believe was originally intended. We have lost confidence that the review can be done in a manner considered fair to all parties.
In early 2018, under direction from the provincial government, the Board of Directors of WorkSafeBC (WSBC) appointed former appeal adjudicator Paul Petrie to review WSBC’s claim adjudication and payment policies. Selected members of the employer community were consulted by Mr. Petrie. That Report was delivered to the WSBC Board at the end of March 2019 and released promptly.
In October 2018, again under direction from the provincial government, the Board of Directors of WSBC appointed former senior WSBC staff member Terry Bogyo to review options on how to manage the unappropriated balance in the Accident Fund. No Terms of Reference for this review were made available to stakeholders. The employer community had extremely limited involvement in this process. The Bogyo report was completed in December 2018, but not released by government until July 18, 2019.
In March 2019, the provincial government directly appointed Ms. Janet Patterson, a retired labour lawyer and worker advocate, to complete a “focused review” (as described by Minister of Labour Harry Bains) of the workers’ compensation system. The employer community met with Ms. Patterson once on April 26. The Terms of Reference for her review were released shortly after the meeting with employer representatives. Stakeholders were asked to respond to items in her Terms of Reference by July 19, which we did.
In their submission to the Patterson Review, the BC Federation of Labour referenced a report it commissioned in 2009. The report was written by a group of worker advocates, one of whom was Ms. Patterson, the current Reviewer appointed by the provincial government.
On August 6, the employer community received an additional list of “selected issues” for which the Reviewer, Ms. Patterson, is seeking further consultation from key stakeholders. In the 2009 report referenced by the BC Federation of Labour, the authors provided 24 recommendations and proposed amendments to WSBC. Of those 24 recommendations, all but one are on Ms. Patterson’s 2019 “selected issues for further stakeholder consultation” list, developed latterly under her ongoing review, which is scheduled to report out on September 30, 2019.
In the view of the Employer Community, the list of “selected issues” completely alters the scope of the “focused review” to a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the workers’ compensation system. It is important to recognize that recent comprehensive system reviews have taken much longer. Because of the need for extensive consultation one took almost a year to complete and the other two years. The employer community was given less than a month to prepare constructive input into what has become a system-wide review.
As a result, the Employer Community has lost confidence that the current Review can be conducted in an “independent, impartial and balanced manner” as was provided for in Ms. Patterson’s original Review’s Terms of Reference. The Employer Community has decided not to participate further in this review.
ICBA’s Jordan Bateman and The Orca’s Maclean Kay are back to discuss the breaking SNC-Lavalin/Trudeau conflict of interest violation news, plus grade several NDP cabinet ministers and ponder how beloved broadcaster Jody Vance keeps drawing so much Twitter shrapnel.
Chris and Jordan chat about the performance of Horgan cabinet members Dave Eby, Claire Trevena, Lana Popham, Harry Bains, Doug Donaldson and Jinny Sims. Plus an update from NE BC, federal election thoughts and Troy Aikman talk.
Becoming a foreman is an important step on the career ladder in the trades, but it can be a hard transition if you haven’t been properly trained! Our How To Be A Better Foreman course is here to help give you the tools you need to succeed in your role.
You’ll learn the fundamentals of field leadership, organization, crew morale, efficiency and productivity in our one-day course. Here’s what’s covered:
– Understanding why and how many foremen fail
– How the foreman’s role has changed
– Dealing with workplace conflict without being a jerk
– Learning how to anticipate production and jobsite issues
– Understanding general and subcontractor dynamics
– Understanding your role as a leader
– Understand how you play a major role in increasing jobsite productivity
You’ll also earn 7.5 CPD Points from BC Housing, and 1 Gold Seal Credit!
We’re offering the course in Burnaby on August 23 and December 6, in Prince George on October 25, and in Victoria on November 15. We sell out this course nearly every time we offer it so don’t miss your chance to register at www.icba.ca/courses.
Technical Safety BC is reminding everyone with an electrical Field Safety Representative (FSR) certificate that the deadline to renew that FSR is Wednesday, July 31.
Electrical FSR certificates of qualification that have not been renewed by Wednesday will be considered expired. FSRs with expired certificates cannot be named on licences and permits, or submit declarations of compliance.
As a method of procurement, tendering can be fraught with risks. Errors in accepting or evaluating bids can result in legal liability on the part of the tendering authority, or errors in the bid submitted in response to an Invitation to Tender can result in legal liability on the part of the bidder. The law of tenders is complicated and constantly evolving as the courts and the construction industry adapt to new technology and evolving project delivery methods. Let us help you with our Overview of Tendering Law breakfast session on August 9 in Burnaby!
Here’s the course outline:
Introduction to the law of tendering including an overview of:
The difference between tenders and RFPs and other procurement methods
The bidder’s obligations to the tendering authority
The tendering authority’s obligations to the bidder
Tendering case law update and discussion of recent decisions
Practical tips and advice on key aspects of tendering
Plus, you’ll earn 2.5 CPD Points from BC Housing. Register for this or any of our other upcoming courses at www.icba.ca/courses.
VANCOUVER – The NDP Government’s attempt to keep their controversial payback to their union supporters out of BC Supreme Court has failed, and the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) and several other groups will have their case heard by a judge.
Justice Christopher Giaschi ruled today that ICBA and its allies can proceed with our challenge to the legal authority of the Government to impose the “Building Trades Only Requirement” on public construction projects such as the Pattullo Bridge replacement.”
The NDP Government had sought to kick the issue down to the Labour Relations Board (LRB), which the provincial cabinet appoints. But Justice Giaschi said ICBA’s challenge to the exercise of a statutory power (government policy) imposing a building trades union-only requirement on public infrastructure projects, should be heard by the court, not the LRB.
“We’re now full-speed ahead on our legal challenge of this unfair, regressive, union-only monopoly,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “We look forward to making our case against this sweetheart deal the NDP has handed their best supporters. The choice of which union to join, if any, should be made by the workers through a secret ballot, and should not be forced by government.”
Gardner noted the first project under the new union monopoly is already over budget. Earlier this year, the Illecillewaet project near Revelstoke, which will widen Highway 1 to four lanes for two kilometres, was awarded to a building trades union-organized company. The contract came in at $85.2 million – $22.3 million more than originally budget before work even started.
Joining ICBA’s petition are organizations that, along with ICBA, represent the 85 per cent of construction workers in B.C. who are not affiliated with the building trades unions: the British Columbia Construction Association; the Vancouver Regional Construction Association; and the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada. Also participating are the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
In addition, two progressive unions representing thousands of construction workers in B.C. who are not affiliated with the building trades unions – the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), and Canada West Construction Union (CWCU) – are supporting the legal challenge.
“B.C. taxpayers deserve better from this government – not overspending by hundreds of millions of dollars on projects just to thank their union supporters,” said Gardner. “Bidding on government projects should be fair: the best bid should win, no matter how their workforce is organized.”
We believe WorkSafeBC is a well-funded, well-operated and sustainable workers’ compensation system which is “best in class” in meeting the balance called for in the century-old ‘historic compromise’ which traded off a worker’s right to sue in tort for fair wage loss compensation and rehabilitation services. We acknowledge that the system may need some adjustments to benefits, but such change should be consistent with prevailing rates provided in other Canadian jurisdictions and acutely mindful that the system needs to be sustainable.