B.C. Strengthens Paid Sick Leave Legislation


VICTORIA — After weeks of advocacy work by Restaurants Canada and a coalition of business associations, Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has introduced changes to B.C.’s Employment Standards Act to address two issues raised since the five days of employer-paid sick leave came into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

First, business groups expressed concern that using “employment year” instead of “calendar year” to establish an employee’s annual paid sick leave entitlement was confusing because it requires a separate date for each employee based on their start date. As a result, the act is being amended to reference “calendar year,” which standardizes the annual entitlement period for all employees regardless of their start date.

Second, there were concerns that some employees were excluded from the full five paid sick days due to existing language in collective agreements. To ensure paid sick leave is applied to all employees in B.C., the clause is being amended.

“The legislation is being fast-tracked and should receive Royal Assent before the current legislative session,” said Restaurants Canada in a press release. “We thank the Labour Ministry for their work in coming up with a solution to address the business communities paid sick leave legislation concerns.”

Additionally, the City of Vancouver has agreed to amend the SUI Cup Fee Bylaw to exempt food-and-drink vouchers from the cup fee. After further consultations with Restaurants Canada and the Retail Council of Canada, the Cup Fee Bylaw Amendment was drafted and will be sent to Council for approval.

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