Apr 30, 2009

The Premier speaks out on labour issues


On April 27th I posted about the BC Federation of Labour’s report on the impacts of changes to BC’s workers compensation system under the current government.

Today Tom Sandborn writing for the Tyee posted a story quoting Premier Campbell’s response to health and safety issues. The story also dealt with the NDP and labour issues, but the NDP section focused on such issues as Green Bonds.

Here are some of the Premier’s comments.

On a CCPA report that called for better enforcement of worker safety regulations:

He said he had not read a recent study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the B.C. Building Trades Council that called for reforms to construction industry safety practices, and he expressed skepticism about the usefulness of on-site safety enforcement. “I don’t think it’s something where you say we’ve got, to be candid, a whole bunch of people coming around and throwing fines at people. I think it gets them to avoid the issue.”

Campbell did say he would read the report if it were sent to him, and expressed willingness to meet with union representatives to discuss safety issues and training.

and more:

Campbell was asked about the changes his government brought in during its first term that effectively eliminated lifetime pensions for injured workers and reduced the amount available for shorter-term WorkSafe payments by 13 per cent. Would a re-elected Liberal government at least restore the level of support for injured workers to 2001 levels?

“I won’t commit to that today,” the premier said. “I think we have a relatively fair system. Workers are now getting taken care of far more rapidly than they were before.”

A welfare rate increase, he said, was “not in the books.”

And finally, on public private partnerships:

the premier noted that the P3 (public private partnership) approach, strongly championed by his government, can slow timelines for projects. “Up front, they are slower, for sure.”

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