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New Employment Standards Coming for Gig Workers in BC

The surge of online and mobile app-based platforms has driven the rise of the gig economy in recent years across Canada. Currently, gig workers (food delivery workers and ride-hailing drivers) in BC are considered independent contractors by law and therefore do not have access to the legal protections available to employees.

All of that is poised to change with the introduction of Bill 48, which received royal assent on November 23, 2023. Bill 48 proposes amendments to the Employment Standards Act and the Workers Compensation Act which would establish minimum employment standards and protections for the estimated 27,000 food delivery workers and 11,000 ride-hailing drivers in BC. Once passed into law, anyone that falls under the prescribed definition of an “online platform worker” will be considered an employee.

While legislation has yet to be passed, it is expected that the forthcoming regulations will:

  • set a minimum wage for gig workers and require employers to pay the difference when earnings do not meet minimum wage standards for time worked;
  • Establish a compensation standard to cover expenses for gig workers using their personal vehicles;
  • ban employers from withholding or deducting from tips;
  • allow gig workers to see their earnings for completing assignments and provide wage statements for each pay period;
  • allow gig workers to see pickup and delivery locations for each assignment;
  • formalize a process for suspending or terminating gig workers;
  • extend workers’ compensation coverage and benefits through WorkSafeBC.

For now, proposed regulations do not address:

  • hours of work and overtime;
  • statutory holidays;
  • paid leaves; and
  • annual vacation.

With Bill 48, BC becomes one of the first provinces in Canada to introduce legislation specifically to address employment standards and protections for gig workers. It is anticipated that more jurisdictions nationwide will be adopting their own version.