Employment Standards Act Reform Project

BCLI was encouraged to undertake the Employment Standards Act Reform Project because the Act did not adequately address the contemporary needs and circumstances of British Columbia’s workplaces, and was overdue for a review.  No comprehensive, independent review of the Act had taken place since the Thompson Report of 1994.

As of 2014, when the BCLI project began, the Employment Standards Act was still closely tied to a model of the workplace as it existed before the revolution in digital and communications technology, characterized by fixed hours of work performed in a fixed locality. Today’s workplace, by contrast, may have no fixed locality. Working hours may be irregular and vary between individual employees or groups of employees. Employees may not work in the presence of one another or be under direct supervision of the employer.

Rapidly increasing digitalization, the growth of temporary and non-standard employment, and the pressure for flexibility in working arrangements desired by employers and employees alike for different reasons, all present regulatory challenges.  The emergence of a new class of semi-autonomous workers tests the boundaries of the traditional legal distinction between employees and independent contractors. An overhaul of the Act was needed to address these contemporary and evolving conditions.

BCLI carried out the Employment Standards Reform Project with the aid of an expert volunteer committee, carefully selected to balance employer and employee viewpoints.  Its members had great depth of knowledge and experience in relation to the Employment Standards Act.

The consultation paper and final report for the project were issued in 2018.


The Employment Standards Act Reform Project was generously funded by The Law Foundation of British Columbia, 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 also provided invaluable assistance to BCLI in its efforts to secure funding for the project.

The Law Foundation of BC

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

Related Files

Below you will find additional, relevant and specific documentation, backgrounders, research, resources, media releases and summaries that have been, or will be incorporated into our final publications and study papers.

If you have questions about these or other specific documents, please reach out to BCLI using our contact page or at the bottom of each page of our website.