Gig Worker Engagement

B.C.’s employment laws should reflect the needs of modern workplaces. Government is consulting with gig workers, employers and other stakeholders, and engaging with Indigenous partners, to seek their input about the challenges they face and potential solutions.

Last updated: December 21, 2022

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Protecting workers as the employment landscape changes

The economy and workforce have shifted dramatically in British Columbia just as they have around the world. The gig economy – with more independent, flexible and temporary jobs, often through online or app-based platforms – has become much more common.

The classification of workers has become a challenge for new types of work arrangements. While some gig workers may be truly be independent contractors, and not covered by the Employment Standards Act, others are wrongly classified and wrongly denied minimum employment standards.

The consultations will assist in proposing appropriate employment standards for app-based ride-hail and delivery workers. Future work will explore the feasibility of benefit and pension plans for workers who do not otherwise have coverage.

It is important to stand up for the protection of workers as the employment landscape changes, while also making sure that these types of businesses are viable in British Columbia.

Gig work

Gig work includes income-earning activity outside of a traditional longer-term employment relationship. Gig work can be an appealing option for workers who want more control over their daily work situation, and value things like flexibility and independence. Gig work includes app-based ride-hail and food-delivery work.

Here in B.C., most workers are eligible for the employment benefits and protections established by the Employment Standards Act, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, statutory holidays and vacation pay. While some workers performing gig or temporary jobs may be true independent contractors not covered by the Employment Standards Act, others are wrongly denied minimum employment standards by their employer when in fact they are legally entitled to them. As well, many app-based drivers in B.C. only get paid for “active time” and may earn less than minimum wage for a shift.

Precarious work

Certain gig work can be precarious, but it goes beyond that. There is no universal definition of precarious work, but here in B.C. we see precarious work as being work that may provide no benefits, fewer protections and lower pay. It can mean a casual or seasonal employee whose hours are not guaranteed. Precarious work can also include contract work – where a worker must move from contract to contract to continue to receive an income.

Independent contractors

Workers with questions around how the Employment Standards Act applies to them can visit the Employment Standards Branch website. If a complaint is filed and the Employment Standards Branch is asked to determine a worker’s employment status, the branch looks at the specific circumstances and the relationship between the two parties.

Calling a person an independent contractor, even if the worker agrees, does not decide the issue. The Employment Standards Branch makes the determination based on the requirements of the Act. If there is disagreement with the decision, the matter can be appealed to the independent Employment Standards Tribunal.

The Workers’ Compensation Act also defines independent contractors and that definition may be different from the Employment Standards Act. The Workers’ Compensation System will determine whether these ‘workers’ require their own personal optional protection, which will ensure they have workers’ compensation coverage should a workplace injury occur. For questions regarding workers’ compensation coverage Contact the Assessment Department

Employment Standards

The law in B.C. sets standards for payment, compensation and working conditions in most workplaces. The standards promote open communication, fair treatment and work-life balance for employees.

Completed roundtables

Worker-only roundtable discussions took place during November and December 2022 in several B.C. communities.  All views and perspectives expressed during the roundtable discussions are confidential and will only be used for the purpose of this engagement.

Kelowna - Wednesday, November 9, 2022

  • In-person session: 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Telephone session: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Kamloops - Thursday, November 10, 2022

  • In-person session: 9:30 am to 10:30 am
  • Telephone session: 10:45 am to 11:45 am

Victoria - Wednesday, November 16, 2022

  • 2:30 pm to 4 pm
  • Burnside Gorge Community Centre
    471 Cecelia Road

Nanaimo - Thursday, November 17, 2022

  • 11:30 am to 1 pm
  • Vancouver Island University (VIU)
    ​Student Union Building #193
    900 Fifth Street

Parksville - Thursday, November 17, 2022

  • 2 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Parksville Community Centre
    223 Mills Street

Prince George - Friday, November 25, 2022

  • 10:30 am to 11:30 am
  • Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (IMSS)
    1st floor, 1270 2nd Avenue

Abbotsford - Monday, November 28, 2022

  • 12 pm to 1:30 pm
  • Sikh Temple
    33089 South Fraser Way
  • For ride-hail and delivery workers

Richmond - Tuesday, November 29, 2022

  • 12 pm to 1:30 pm
  • KPU Richmond Campus
    Melville Centre for Dialogue - Room 2550A
    8771 Lansdowne Road
  • For ride-hail and delivery workers

Vancouver - Wednesday, November 30, 2022

  • 12 pm to 1:30 pm
  • ISSofBC Welcome Centre - Vancouver
    203 - 2610 Victoria Drive
  • For ride-hail and delivery workers

Vancouver - Wednesday, November 30, 2022

  • 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
  • S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Head Office
    28 West Pender Street
  • For delivery workers only

Surrey - Thursday, December 1, 2022

  • 12 pm to 1:30 pm
  • ISSofBC Welcome Centre - Surrey
    305 - 10334 152A Street
  • For ride-hail workers only

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