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Fair pay, basic protections coming for gig workers

June 12, 2024 at 2:44 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Province has finalized regulations to provide fairness, minimum-wage measures and basic protections for app-based ride-hailing and delivery workers in British Columbia.  

The regulations, a first in Canada, will come into effect on Sept. 3, 2024. They will apply to those who work for apps such as Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats, SkiptheDishes, DoorDash and others.

“All companies should be providing basic fairness like minimum wage for their workers,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Everyone working hard to support their families should have basic protections so if they’re injured on the job, they won’t lose their homes. That is what we are doing with these regulations – providing fair pay and basic protections for these workers.”

The final regulations are a product of years of engagement with workers, platform companies, labour organizations, business associations, the public and others. They create balanced solutions to the unique challenges of gig work, addressing workers’ priorities while ensuring app-based ride-hailing and delivery services remain available and affordable in B.C.

“Too many workers in this industry are putting in long hours and being paid less than the minimum wage,” said Janet Routledge, Parliamentary Secretary for Labour. “At the end of a shift, after paying their vehicle expenses, these workers are barely ahead of where they started. The new protections are going to change that.”

The regulations address the top concerns raised by workers, including:

  • Low and unpredictable pay: The regulation sets a minimum wage for engaged time, and a minimum per-kilometre vehicle allowance to compensate workers for their vehicle expenses.
  • Lack of workers’ compensation: All ride-hailing and delivery workers will be covered through WorkSafeBC.
  • Lack of transparency: Companies must allow workers to see the locations and estimated pay associated with a job before workers accept it.
  • Unfair “deactivations” and suspension: Companies must tell workers why they are being suspended or terminated. If they are terminated without cause, they must be given notice or compensation.
  • Tip protection: Companies must pay 100% of tips provided by the customer to the worker.

The final regulations will be posted in the coming days. These new worker protections represent a starting point in addressing the challenges associated with this relatively new way of working. Following implementation, the ministry will monitor the sector to see if adjustments are needed in the future.

Quotes:

Sandeep Singh Chhina, full-time app-based ride-hailing and delivery worker –

“Inflation is high and it’s hard to afford everyday things my family needs. The security of a minimum wage will be game-changing for me. What also stands out is the peace of mind my family and I will have in knowing that if I’m ever injured on the job, I will have workers’ compensation coverage.”

David Gutierrez, part-time app-based delivery worker –

“I do this work because it’s so flexible and for the extra income it provides. I’m looking forward to all of the new changes. But for me, the relief of a vehicle expense allowance covering what I’ve been paying out-of-pocket is a real weight off my shoulders.”

Quick Facts:

  • The new regulations apply to ride-hailing and delivery workers who accept assignments through a third-party app.
  • They do not apply to other types of gig workers, such as freelance writers, musicians or dog walkers.
  • Government estimates there are approximately 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 35,000 delivery workers in B.C.
  • According to Pollara Strategic Insights, in 2023, 38% of people in B.C. used rideshare apps in the past year, and 46% used food-delivery apps.

Learn More:

For more information about the consultation, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/engagement/gig-workers/ 

A backgrounder follows.

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