Throne speech signals are promising, but details will make the difference: BCFED

February 8, 2022 | News Release

(Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories — Vancouver, BC) The Throne Speech shows the BC government intends to continue making important progress for working people and a fairer province, BC Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk said today.

“We’ll be looking for details in the coming weeks, but we’re pleased to see that action’s coming to support some of BC’s lowest-paid workers,” Cronk said, referring to the promise the ensure BC’s minimum wage keeps pace with inflation.

“It’s especially important now, with spikes in the cost of living, to make sure workers don’t fall further behind,” said Cronk. “But there’s still more to do to eliminate exemptions and cover misclassified workers. And the end goal must be to close the gap to a living wage.”

“We’re pleased to see the emphasis on skills training in the speech. As our province rebuilds from this pandemic, our economy will rely heavily on the trades and skilled workers. More broadly, we fully expect the government to put working people at the heart of their upcoming economic plan — and to back it up with action.”

Cronk said unions are especially looking forward to seeing action from the government on changes to the Workers’ Compensation Board. “Injured workers have waited too long for these changes, and we hope they will go a long way toward making the WCB truly worker-centered.” He added that he’s eager to see the government protect workers and the public by licensing and regulating the asbestos abatement industry.

He also applauded the province’s promise to double the number of childcare spaces by the end of the year and to cut the average fees parents pay. “Abundant, affordable, quality childcare can make a tremendous difference for working families everywhere in BC — both in the cost of living and their quality of life,” he said.

Cronk said the Throne Speech’s recognition of the need for continued action on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is crucially important. And he welcomed the speech’s link between building a cleaner, more sustainable economy and creating family- and community- supporting jobs.

“As always, what will matter is following through with concrete action. But there are good signs this is a government that’s looking to build a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable province. And we’ll be pushing to make that happen.”