Employment Standards Act Reform Project

Project Status: Work in Progress
Project Contact: Greg Blue, Q.C.
Telephone Number: 604-827-5337
Email Us About this Project


The British Columbia Law Institute is conducting a project to review and make recommendations for reform of British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act. No comprehensive review of the Act has been carried out in over 20 years.

Since then, patterns of work and employment in British Columbia have evolved considerably. The Act, however, is still closely tied to a model of the workplace as it existed before the revolution in digital and communications technology, characterized by an 8-hour day and 40-hour week with fixed hours of work performed in a fixed locality. Today’s workplace, by contrast, may be much more flexible – with irregular hours, variable localities, and virtual workplaces in which employees may not be working in the presence of one another. Employment of youth, and the growth of temporary and non-standard employment, present further regulatory challenges.

BCLI was encouraged to undertake a project on the Employment Standards Act because the Act does not adequately address the contemporary needs and circumstances of British Columbia’s workplaces. The Act is overdue for a review.

The goals of this project are to:

• carry out a thorough analysis of the Employment Standards Act with the aid of an all-volunteer expert committee having extensive practical experience with the operation of the Act;

• arrive at tentative recommendations for improvement of the Act;

• vet the tentative recommendations for public comment;

• arrive at final recommendations for reform of the Act after considering the public response and make a report explaining the recommendations publicly available.

BCLI published a consultation paper on reform of the Employment Standards Act in June 2018 and received extensive submissions and online comments. The formal consultation period is now closed and a report with final recommendations emerging from this project will be issued in the near future.


The commencement of this project was made possible through a generous grant from the Law Foundation of British Columbia.  Other bodies that have generously contributed to the funding of this project are the Ministry of Labour, the Coalition of BC Businesses, the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, the Hospital Employees’ Union, and the Vancouver and District Labour Council. The BC Federation of Labour provided invaluable assistance in securing project funding..

The Law Foundation of BC

Keywords: Employment standards act, employee, employer, unjust dismissal, wages, vacations, leaves, holidays, hiring, termination, notice

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Consultative Documents

Consultation Paper on the Employment Standards Act

Download document (3421 KB)


Consultation Paper on the Employment Standards Act

Download document (637 KB)

Introduction to the Employment Standards Act Reform Project

Download document (1211 KB)

Media Releases

BCLI Invites Public Comment on Reform of the Employment Standards Act

Download document (342 KB)

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