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BC to conduct inquiry into forestry contract tendering process


September 21, 2020
By BC Ministry of Labour

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The B.C. Ministry of Labour will begin a focused engagement with stakeholders about contract tendering in B.C.’s forestry sector to identify improvements that it says will support the long-term stability of jobs and economic recovery in the sector.

“Last year, we made improvements to the Labour Relations Code to ensure that workers who have built up fair wages and job security over years of service do not lose those benefits when service contracts are tendered,” says Harry Bains, the province’s minister of labour, in a statement.

“This engagement will help us identify whether the same protections are in place for workers in the forestry sector.”

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In 2019, government made changes to the Labour Relations Code that were supported by recommendations put forward by an independent and expert review. This review was completed in 2018 by a balanced committee of special advisers, including an employer and a labour representative and included recommendations based on a thorough public consultation.

The review identified one important area regarding successorship protections for the forestry sector that needed further consultation before any further recommendations could be made.

For this reason, government intends to establish an industrial inquiry commission (IIC) under the code to review contract tendering in the forestry sector, outside the scope of any Indigenous or First Nations interests.

“Protecting workers’ job security and benefits will help with the economic recovery of the B.C. forestry sector,” says Doug Donaldson, B.C. minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.

“That’s why we’ll appoint an IIC to reach out to industry experts, unions and employers to better understand successorship and contract tendering in the sector.”

The outcome of an industrial inquiry commission will help guide future potential changes to the Labour Relations Code or the code’s regulations.