British Columbia has appointed a three person-panel, including a mediator and two labour and employment lawyers, to review its Labour Relations Code (LRC) and propose potential amendments.
This initiative aims to ensure that the province’s labour laws remain relevant and effective in addressing the evolving needs of contemporary workplaces.
The review panel, appointed by Harry Bains, the Minister of Labour, is chaired by Michael Fleming, a seasoned mediator and arbitrator with extensive experience in various sectors. The panel also includes Sandra Banister of Bannister & Company (representing worker and union interests), and Lindsie Thomson of Harris & Company LLP (representing employer interests.)
Both are prominent labour and employment lawyers.
The panel’s mandate is to engage with various interest groups and Indigenous parties across the province, and to report back to the Minister by May 31, 2024. Their focus will be on aligning British Columbia’s labour laws with the rights and protections available to workers in other Canadian jurisdictions.
The LRC, which outlines the rules for collective bargaining and defines the relationships between provincially regulated employers, workers, and trade unions, has not undergone a comprehensive review since 2018. That review led to significant amendments in 2019 and 2022, which included extended successorship protection in certain service sectors, broadened discretion for the Labour Relations Board in union certification processes, and modifications to the rules governing union raids.
This current review is in line with the provincial requirement to appoint a committee of special advisers every five years to independently assess the LRC. The panel’s recommendations could lead to further substantive changes in British Columbia’s labour laws, potentially impacting a wide range of sectors and addressing critical issues such as collective bargaining, unionization processes, and dispute resolution.