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One of the duties of the Law Reform Commission is to keep the statute law of the province under continual review and to recommend the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments. In this regard, our attention has been drawn to the Labour Regulation Act, RSBC 1979, c 213.
The Labour Regulation Act was originally enacted in 1907, before much of our modern labour relations and employment standards legislation was in place. It restricts the hours of labour at a coke oven, smelter, concentrator or mineral separation plant to eight hours in any 24-hour period, and sets fines for violation at the historic levels of not less than $20 and no more than $100. An unusually antiquated feature is that the fine may be imposed on an employee working longer than the standard eight hours, as well as on the employer.
Hours of work in provincially regulated industries are now governed by Part 3 of the Employment Standards Act, SBC 1980, c 10 (“ESA”). Compared with the Labour Regulation Act, the ESA is more comprehensive and more flexible in providing for overtime pay and for variations under a collective agreement or an authorization given by the Director of Employment Standards. This was recognized by an amendment passed in 1981, making section 1(1) of the Labour Regulation Act subject to Part 3 of the ESA. Given the distinct advantage of the ESA, one begs the question as to whether there is any need to retain the Labour Regulation Act at all.
Keywords: labour; regulation; employment; standard; hour; work; obsolete;
repeal; Labour Regulation Act
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