Expedited workplace closures – what employers can expect

On April 11, 2021, an order of the provincial health officer (PHO) delegated specific powers to WorkSafeBC prevention officers. The order provides WorkSafeBC prevention officers the ability to serve a 10-day closure order on an employer with COVID-19 transmission when directed so by a medical health officer. WorkSafeBC’s role is well defined and narrow in scope, with…

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B.C. eases requirements for rapid testing, but workplace COVID screening still out of reach

Globe and Mail | Justin Hunter | May 6, 2021 The B.C. government has backed off on a requirement that only registered health professionals can administer rapid tests to screen for COVID-19 in the workplace, but not a single employer has yet qualified for the province’s point-of-care testing program that was promised in early March. Daniel Kelly,…

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COVID-19 and responsibilities of prime contractors on construction sites

Construction employers must take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and illness to themselves, workers, and others at the workplace. Prime contractors have specific responsibilities for health and safety on a multiple-employer construction site and must ensure all activities are coordinated. To ensure the health and safety of workers, the prime contractor…

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Permanent Disability Evaluation Schedule Review

On behalf of WorkSafeBC –> Our Policy, Regulation and Research Division is releasing a discussion paper on the Permanent Disability Evaluation Schedule (PDES) Review with options and draft policy to stakeholders for comment. The PDES is a guide set out in policy and is used to assess a worker’s entitlement to permanent partial disability benefits…

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Industry Special: Clarifying the workplace safety responsibilities of prime contractors during COVID-19

Journal of Commerce | WorkSafeBC | April 30, 2021 The construction industry’s collaborative response in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 shows the power of community, while raising important questions about the roles and responsibilities of prime contractors and subcontractors in multi-employer workplaces. “If you’re wondering who’s responsible, it’s you,” says Andrew Kidd, a WorkSafeBC…

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Opinion: We need a post-pandemic vision for investment, jobs and opportunity in British Columbia

Vancouver Sun | Bridgitte Anderson  •  Bryan Cox | Apr 16, 2021 Opinion: Finance, tax and regulatory reform is needed and must support and encourage economic activity and growth instead of deterring it. B.C. has recently entered the third wave of the pandemic and, with rising cases and an increase in variants, there are significant health challenges,…

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Construction part of WorkSafeBC three-year high-risk strategy plan

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | April 27, 2021 RICHMOND, B.C. – WorkSafeBC has announced construction will be included in its new high-risk strategies and industry initiatives. The three-year plan will target construction, forestry, health care and social services, and manufacturing, sectors where WorkSafeBC believes the risk of serious injury or death are the…

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BC Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

If you work in BC’s construction industry, here’s what you need to know about the travel restrictions announced today by BC’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. BC’s five Health Authorities have been combined into three. Travel into and out of the regions for non-essential reasons is prohibited by law: Vancouver Island (Vancouver Island Health) Lower…

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Site C COVID-19 cases on the rise

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | April 21, 2021 FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A dozen people at the Site C dam project in northern B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 related to people working on the project up to 82 since March 2020. According…

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BC Building Trades urges WorkSafeBC to require ‘dignified’ sanitary site bathrooms

Journal of Commerce | Russell Hixson | April 26, 2021 Armed with new research, the BC Building Trades is on a mission to improve bathroom facilities for the province’s construction workers. A comprehensive study produced by Harwood Safety Group for the Building Trades examined current laws and practices around washroom accommodations for construction sites. The report…

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B.C. looking to fast-track construction training

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | April 21, 2021 VICTORIA — B.C. is looking to fast-track up to 30 eligible residents who want skills training to prepare them for jobs as construction craft workers and labourers in the Lower Mainland. The new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the province will prioritize recruiting…

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Health Order Clarification – Essential Travel

On Monday April 19th at 2 pm the Provincial government announced that non-essential travel should be confined to local travel only.  On Friday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will issue orders under the Emergency Program Act to restrict people’s ability to leave their Health Authority.   “This will be conducted through random audits, not unlike…

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Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

Journal of Commerce | The Canadian Press | April 20, 2021 CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace — including termination in the most flagrant cases. “There is a shared obligation between employers and employees to…

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