Labour Day Celebration and March takes over City Hall

Cupe News 0 No Comments

It wouldn’t be Labour Day in Prince George without a Labour Day March and Celebration at City Hall.

Over 30 unions and community organizations including the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) braved the chilly conditions to take part in Monday’s event.

Event organizer Natalie Fletcher says something of this nature properly recognizes the past efforts that have been made to labour. “We are just celebrating the accomplishments of the labour movement as a whole whether it’s union or non-union just to celebrate workers and the accomplishment we’ve made over the years and that it’s great to make those accomplishments but it’s also really easy to lose some of those benefits as well.”

The second installment of this event was coordinated between the Labour Day Organizing Committee and the North Central Labour Council.

In short, the labour movement is responsible for how we enjoy our work-life balance in Canada.

“Working people built this country and I mean the 8-hour workday, the weekend and all of those things were really strong gains that were fought for in previous generations and we continue to fight for those working conditions,” says Fletcher.

The theme of the 2017 festivities is Labour movement – past, present, future – fighting for the rights of all!

BCFED Secretary-Treasurer Aaron Ekman was the keynote speaker.

Over 2,000 people attended the celebration in 2016.

It wouldn’t be Labour Day in Prince George without a Labour Day March and Celebration at City Hall. Over 30 unions and community organizations including the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) braved the chilly conditions to take part in Monday’s event. Event organizer Natalie Fletcher says something […]

Read More

B.C.’s job creation continues to gain momentum – Marketwired

Cupe News 0 No Comments

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – September 18, 2017) – According to the BC Check-Up, an annual economic report released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), impressive job gains pushed the unemployment rate down from 6.2 to 6.0 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

B.C. gained 73,300 jobs, bumping the provincial total to 2.38 million at the end of 2016. Overall, B.C.’s growing service sector contributed to approximately 85 per cent of the new jobs. Most of this job creation was undoubtedly concentrated in Southwest B.C., which accounted for approximately 94 per cent of the province’s new jobs.

“Strong consumer demand bolstered by population growth across B.C., thriving film production, and unprecedented real estate activity in urban regions fueled economic activity and employment growth across the service sector,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC, “In addition, housing demand drove increased construction activity, and the industry saw impressive job gains in Southwest B.C., Vancouver Island/Coast, and the Thompson-Okanagan development regions.”

The report noted that the province saw a small decline in educational attainment in 2016. After peaking at 70.2 per cent in 2015, the share of workers between the ages 25 and 54 with at least some post-secondary education decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 69.4 per cent in 2016. This is 3.6 per cent below the national average.

Generally, jobs requiring higher education are better paid, and therefore it was not surprising that the province’s average labour compensation per worker also slightly declined by 0.6 per cent to $54,030 in 2016, which again was lower than the national average of $58,162.

“Although there was a slight decline in average labour compensation between 2015 and 2016, B.C. has had the greatest increase over the past five years when compared to Alberta, Ontario, and Canada as a whole,” continued Mathison, “Continued economic growth across B.C., particularly in the service sector, will continue to generate many high paying jobs requiring higher education.

Learn more about the BC Check-Up at www.bccheckup.com.

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for almost 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

Embedded Video Available: https://youtu.be/SEZG7ymUnWE

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – September 18, 2017) – According to the BC Check-Up, an annual economic report released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), impressive job gains pushed the unemployment rate down from 6.2 to 6.0 per cent between 2015 and 2016. B.C. gained 73,300 jobs, bumping the provincial total to 2.38 million […]

Read More

BC NDP government bans corporate and union donations and introduces public subsidy for political parties

Cupe News 0 No Comments

The B.C. NDP government has introduced legislation outlawing donations to political parties by corporations and labour unions.

Also included in the bill are measures to end other practices that have earned the province the reputation as the ‘Wild West’ of election financing.

“We’re reforming campaign finance rules to make sure government’s actions and decisions benefit everyone, not just those with deep pockets,” Premier John Horgan said in a government news release.

Bill 3 or Election Act Amendment, 2017, was filed Monday (September 18) by Vancouver-Point Grey MLA and Attorney General David Eby.

“This legislation will make sure 2017 was the last big-money election in our province,” Eby said in the news release. “The days of limitless donations, a lack of transparency and foreign and corporate influence over our elections are history.”

In addition to the ban on corporate and union donations, the bill also seeks to limit individual contributions to $1,200 a year.

The measure also proposes to ban donations from outside the province.

The bill likewise provides a cap to contributions to third-party advertisers.

Other provisions include a requirement for ongoing public reporting of all fundraisers, reduction of campaign spending limits by about 25 percent, and new fines and penalties.

The measure also includes a “transitional annual allowance for political parties over a set term of five years” to “help political parties transition to the new campaign finance rules”.

The said allowance will be received by political parties whose candidates in the May 14, 2017 election received at least two percent of the total number of valid votes cast in all electoral districts, or five percent of the total number of valid votes cast in the electoral districts in which the political party endorsed candidates.

The annual allowance starts in 2018 at $2.50 per vote received, an amount that diminishes to $1.75 in 2022.

The overhaul of the campaign finance system was part of the pact between the B.C. NDP and Green Party of B.C., which allowed Horgan and his New Democrats to topple the B.C. Liberal government and form a minority government.

The introduction of Bill 3 was welcomed by Oak Bay-Gordon MLA and B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver.

“This is a historic day for our province’s democracy,” Weaver said in a statement.

According to Weaver, he is “delighted that 2017 will go down in history as the last big money election in B.C.”.

In the same statement, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and B.C. Green caucus spokesperson for democratic reform, said that the legislation is a “big step” in the restoration of public trust in government.

“The undue influence of special interests through our province’s lax campaign finance laws has led to cynicism and to people feeling like their voices are not heard,” Olsen said.

The B.C. NDP government has introduced legislation outlawing donations to political parties by corporations and labour unions. Also included in the bill are measures to end other practices that have earned the province the reputation as the ‘Wild West’ of election financing. “We’re reforming campaign finance rules to make sure government’s actions and decisions benefit […]

Read More

Arguments for, and against, Site C will lead to decision shaping B.C. …

Cupe News 0 No Comments

An independent review of the Site C dam project will be delivered to Premier John Horgan and his cabinet this week. The interim report, produced by the BC Utilities Commission, will drive a decision that will shape the province’s energy future.

It is one of the most significant – and most difficult – decisions facing the province’s new government.

When then-premier Gordon Campbell brought five planeloads of cheerleaders up to the banks of the Peace River in 2010 to announce he was dusting off plans for the Site C dam, he was promising British Columbia a cheap, reliable source of hydroelectricity to meet the province’s future needs. The project would create thousands of jobs, encourage economic growth and would help the province stay on track as a leader in climate action.

Story continues below advertisement

Much has changed since Mr. Campbell’s visit to the banks of the Peace River. The cost of producing alternative energy – wind and solar in particular – is falling, and the risks of cost overruns on the $8.8-billion megaproject have been laid out by a respected accounting firm. The accountants have also cast doubt on BC Hydro’s forecasts for rising electricity demand.

Opponents – local ranchers, environmentalists and Indigenous communities – hope the new NDP government will nonetheless kill the project and restore the section of the Peace River valley that has been drastically altered to lay the foundation for the new dam. Many of the project’s opponents are influential within the NDP.

Even with almost $2-billion already spent on construction and the project moving ahead at full steam, expert submissions to the BCUC – the utilities commission – suggest it would still be less expensive to cancel the project and contract for renewable energy producers to meet new demand.

(Naturally, the Crown corporation responsible for building the dam, BC Hydro, disagrees with those submissions.)

The BCUC is wading through all this input and will calculate the costs of completing, suspending or cancelling the megaproject. As well, the BCUC has been asked to look at alternative sources of clean energy and how much power B.C. is expected to need in the future.

A final report is due Nov. 1 – just days before the NDP convention where the deep divisions in the party on the fate of the dam will be in full view. Whether Mr. Horgan and his cabinet decide to pull the plug or carry on, it will not be a unifying moment for his party.

The New Democrats may be sorely tempted to cancel the project and pin the blame on the former Liberal government for pursuing a vainglorious, ill-advised project. Killing Site C would also strengthen the NDP’s important partnership with the BC Greens. It would put the government in good stead with the clean-energy sector, which offers the prospect of attracting new private capital investments in renewable-power projects. And, cancellation would slow the growth of BC Hydro’s burgeoning debt load and take pressure off rates – for a government that promised to make electricity costs more affordable, that’s not a small consideration.

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

There are, however, major factors that could tilt the balance in favour of the project.

Mr. Horgan repeatedly attacked BC Hydro’s contracts with private power producers in the past, decrying the enrichment of private companies at the public’s expense. He is more inclined to favour public ownership and control of the province’s electricity resources.

The Premier comes from the trade-union movement, and the prospect of handing out thousands of pink-slips to the construction workers on the job at Site C would weigh heavily against cancellation. (He could make himself a hero with the trade unions if he could rejig the project labour agreement to ensure more union jobs.)

With the province struggling to get curb greenhouse gas emissions, Site C does promise decades of clean energy.

Finally, the BCUC could find that BC Hydro did succeed in its quest to get the project past the point of no return.

“It’s a really tough decision,” said energy economist Mark Jaccard, a professor of Sustainable Energy at Simon Fraser University. Combing through all the thousands of pages of technical information submitted to the BCUC, in favour and against the project, he has found no easy answers.

Story continues below advertisement

“Be very suspicious of anyone who presents it in simple terms. … I could make a strong argument for not building the Site C dam, and I can make a very strong argument for building it.”

But he says there one more factor that the Horgan government should consider, and it’s not part of the BCUC’s scope of review: If B.C. is to get back on track with its climate-action targets, there will be a need for the electricity that the dam would provide.

“If we intend in British Columbia to meet our economic, efficient share of national greenhouse-gas targets,” Dr. Jaccard said, “we will use all the Site C electricity soon after its completion.”

British Columbia would have been better served to have the BCUC findings before a shovel was stuck in the ground. But Mr. Horgan and his government will have the data now, and they will wear this decision for generations.

An independent review of the Site C dam project will be delivered to Premier John Horgan and his cabinet this week. The interim report, produced by the BC Utilities Commission, will drive a decision that will shape the province’s energy future. It is one of the most significant – and most difficult – decisions facing […]

Read More

BC’s employment growth stalls in August

Cupe News 0 No Comments

Deal-maker Garry Skidmore seeks new ventures

By

Sept. 14, 2017, 11:52 a.m.

After decades peddling auto glass and cell phone accessories, Burnaby company aims to diversify

Read Article

Economy Deal-maker Garry Skidmore seeks new ventures By Glen Korstrom Sept. 14, 2017, 11:52 a.m. After decades peddling auto glass and cell phone accessories, Burnaby company aims to diversify Read Article

Read More

BC’s job creation continues to gain momentum

Cupe News 0 No Comments

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – September 18, 2017) – According to the BC Check-Up, an annual economic report released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), impressive job gains pushed the unemployment rate down from 6.2 to 6.0 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

B.C. gained 73,300 jobs, bumping the provincial total to 2.38 million at the end of 2016. Overall, B.C.’s growing service sector contributed to approximately 85 per cent of the new jobs. Most of this job creation was undoubtedly concentrated in Southwest B.C., which accounted for approximately 94 per cent of the province’s new jobs.

“Strong consumer demand bolstered by population growth across B.C., thriving film production, and unprecedented real estate activity in urban regions fueled economic activity and employment growth across the service sector,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC, “In addition, housing demand drove increased construction activity, and the industry saw impressive job gains in Southwest B.C., Vancouver Island/Coast, and the Thompson-Okanagan development regions.”

The report noted that the province saw a small decline in educational attainment in 2016. After peaking at 70.2 per cent in 2015, the share of workers between the ages 25 and 54 with at least some post-secondary education decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 69.4 per cent in 2016. This is 3.6 per cent below the national average.

Generally, jobs requiring higher education are better paid, and therefore it was not surprising that the province’s average labour compensation per worker also slightly declined by 0.6 per cent to $54,030 in 2016, which again was lower than the national average of $58,162.

“Although there was a slight decline in average labour compensation between 2015 and 2016, B.C. has had the greatest increase over the past five years when compared to Alberta, Ontario, and Canada as a whole,” continued Mathison, “Continued economic growth across B.C., particularly in the service sector, will continue to generate many high paying jobs requiring higher education.

Learn more about the BC Check-Up at www.bccheckup.com.

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for almost 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

Embedded Video Available: https://youtu.be/SEZG7ymUnWE

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – September 18, 2017) – According to the BC Check-Up, an annual economic report released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), impressive job gains pushed the unemployment rate down from 6.2 to 6.0 per cent between 2015 and 2016. B.C. gained 73,300 jobs, bumping the provincial total to 2.38 million […]

Read More

Arguments for, and against, Site C will lead to decision shaping BC’s energy future

Cupe News 0 No Comments

An independent review of the Site C dam project will be delivered to Premier John Horgan and his cabinet this week. The interim report, produced by the BC Utilities Commission, will drive a decision that will shape the province’s energy future.

It is one of the most significant – and most difficult – decisions facing the province’s new government.

When then-premier Gordon Campbell brought five planeloads of cheerleaders up to the banks of the Peace River in 2010 to announce he was dusting off plans for the Site C dam, he was promising British Columbia a cheap, reliable source of hydroelectricity to meet the province’s future needs. The project would create thousands of jobs, encourage economic growth and would help the province stay on track as a leader in climate action.

Story continues below advertisement

Much has changed since Mr. Campbell’s visit to the banks of the Peace River. The cost of producing alternative energy – wind and solar in particular – is falling, and the risks of cost overruns on the $8.8-billion megaproject have been laid out by a respected accounting firm. The accountants have also cast doubt on BC Hydro’s forecasts for rising electricity demand.

Opponents – local ranchers, environmentalists and Indigenous communities – hope the new NDP government will nonetheless kill the project and restore the section of the Peace River valley that has been drastically altered to lay the foundation for the new dam. Many of the project’s opponents are influential within the NDP.

Even with almost $2-billion already spent on construction and the project moving ahead at full steam, expert submissions to the BCUC – the utilities commission – suggest it would still be less expensive to cancel the project and contract for renewable energy producers to meet new demand.

(Naturally, the Crown corporation responsible for building the dam, BC Hydro, disagrees with those submissions.)

The BCUC is wading through all this input and will calculate the costs of completing, suspending or cancelling the megaproject. As well, the BCUC has been asked to look at alternative sources of clean energy and how much power B.C. is expected to need in the future.

A final report is due Nov. 1 – just days before the NDP convention where the deep divisions in the party on the fate of the dam will be in full view. Whether Mr. Horgan and his cabinet decide to pull the plug or carry on, it will not be a unifying moment for his party.

The New Democrats may be sorely tempted to cancel the project and pin the blame on the former Liberal government for pursuing a vainglorious, ill-advised project. Killing Site C would also strengthen the NDP’s important partnership with the BC Greens. It would put the government in good stead with the clean-energy sector, which offers the prospect of attracting new private capital investments in renewable-power projects. And, cancellation would slow the growth of BC Hydro’s burgeoning debt load and take pressure off rates – for a government that promised to make electricity costs more affordable, that’s not a small consideration.

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

There are, however, major factors that could tilt the balance in favour of the project.

Mr. Horgan repeatedly attacked BC Hydro’s contracts with private power producers in the past, decrying the enrichment of private companies at the public’s expense. He is more inclined to favour public ownership and control of the province’s electricity resources.

The Premier comes from the trade-union movement, and the prospect of handing out thousands of pink-slips to the construction workers on the job at Site C would weigh heavily against cancellation. (He could make himself a hero with the trade unions if he could rejig the project labour agreement to ensure more union jobs.)

With the province struggling to get curb greenhouse gas emissions, Site C does promise decades of clean energy.

Finally, the BCUC could find that BC Hydro did succeed in its quest to get the project past the point of no return.

“It’s a really tough decision,” said energy economist Mark Jaccard, a professor of Sustainable Energy at Simon Fraser University. Combing through all the thousands of pages of technical information submitted to the BCUC, in favour and against the project, he has found no easy answers.

Story continues below advertisement

“Be very suspicious of anyone who presents it in simple terms. … I could make a strong argument for not building the Site C dam, and I can make a very strong argument for building it.”

But he says there one more factor that the Horgan government should consider, and it’s not part of the BCUC’s scope of review: If B.C. is to get back on track with its climate-action targets, there will be a need for the electricity that the dam would provide.

“If we intend in British Columbia to meet our economic, efficient share of national greenhouse-gas targets,” Dr. Jaccard said, “we will use all the Site C electricity soon after its completion.”

British Columbia would have been better served to have the BCUC findings before a shovel was stuck in the ground. But Mr. Horgan and his government will have the data now, and they will wear this decision for generations.

An independent review of the Site C dam project will be delivered to Premier John Horgan and his cabinet this week. The interim report, produced by the BC Utilities Commission, will drive a decision that will shape the province’s energy future. It is one of the most significant – and most difficult – decisions facing […]

Read More

Hip Vancouver bar embroiled in bitter dispute over working … – CBC.ca

Cupe News 0 No Comments

The former chef of a hip Vancouver restaurant says a recent Employment Standards Tribunal decision reveals the deep need for change in the service industry.

Last December, former Crowbar chef Christopher Scott, 33, filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch claiming he should have been paid for hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime at the East Vancouver bar and restaurant.

In May, the Director of Employment Standards ruled that Scott was owed $11,424 in overtime, holiday pay, annual vacation and interest. The restaurant was also fined $2,000.  

The restaurant’s owner, William Johnson, appealed the decision, but the Employment Standards Tribunal recently dismissed that appeal.

In her decision, tribunal member Carol Roberts says Scott worked up to 14 hours a day, up to 20 days in a row — even though his wages were based on a 50-hour work week.

When asked in an interview if issues like unpaid overtime and long hours were factors in making it difficult to attract staff, Scott said “100 per cent.”

Chef Chris Scott

Vancouver chef Chris Scott says the restaurant industry is ripe for change. (Chris Scott/Twitter)

Many in the restaurant industry say poor working conditions are rampant in even some of the most sought-after boutique eateries.

“I wish there wouldn’t be a need for people to have to go through this process. I wish the industry would just change,” Scott told CBC News.

Johnson’s argument, noted in the tribunal decision and reiterated in an interview, was that he hired Scott as a chef to co-manage the kitchen alongside fellow chef Scott Korzack.

B.C.’s labour laws don’t require managers to be paid overtime. 

The Director of Employment Standards and the tribunal member sided with Scott, the latter explaining in her decision that he was clearly an employee with little authority and decision-making capability.

Bitter dispute

The disagreement over Scott’s overtime pay has led to an acrimonious dispute between Scott and Johnson that has gone on for months, both in the restaurant and subsequently before the tribunal. 

In an interview, Scott said when he was hired at Crowbar, an upscale bar nestled in a foodie enclave at Fraser and Kingsway, he was promised better conditions than many of the restaurants he has worked in over the past 15 years. 

His job, as he and the tribunal understood it, was to assist Korzack. As is noted in the tribunal decision, Scott was paid less than his colleague. 

Scott told CBC News the hours at the new restaurant quickly crept up, until he and Korzack were working longer and longer days.

“It just became more and more clear as we were going on that … I was not going to be compensated,” he said. 

The decision says Korzack corroborated these assertions as a witness during the tribunal process. 

‘It’s been hell’

But, in an interview, Johnson said he was upset with the ruling and he plans to appeal.

Johnson told CBC News Crowbar fulfilled a years-long dream of opening his own establishment after cobbling together money from investors and his parents.

He said that dream quickly turned into a nightmare after his relationship with Scott and Korzack began to sour. 

“It’s been hell, to say the least,” Johnson said, referring to the fallout. 

As a co-chef and manager, Johnson said, Scott was in charge of his own schedule. 

Managers vs employees

And as a manager, Scott wouldn’t need to be paid overtime.

Labour lawyer Kelly Slade-Kerr said that’s because, in theory, managers should have discretion over how to run a business, including how much time they put into their duties. 

But Slade-Kerr said the tribunal’s decision clearly shows that Scott didn’t have the same decision-making authority as Korzack. 

“What stands out is the importance of having a clear employment agreement in advance,” she said.

The contract, which Johnson submitted as new evidence during the appeal process, included the following seven bullet points:

  • Make the best food possible.
  • Order the best possible ingredients.
  • Train and develop the best possible team. 
  • Develop the best possible menu.
  • Work and communicate well with all restaurant staff to ensure the best possible restaurant.
  • Clean up messes you make.
  • Be happy. 

In an interview, Johnson admitted the contract isn’t as robust as it could be. But he maintained that he clearly laid out his expectations from both Scott and Korzack. 

‘I wish the industry would just change’

Johnson says he intends to dispute the appeal decision.

He said that if the decision holds, he will pay the overtime — although he’s not sure how, given that his restaurant is just starting to gain traction and most of his lines of credit are still maxed out.

In the meantime, Scott is still working as a chef, but in another restaurant. 

He isn’t sure how much longer he’ll stay in the industry, given the conditions, but he says more workers are speaking out and the industry is ripe for improvement. 

“If there is a problem, then people need to not be afraid to come forward about it,” said Scott.

“These are not [labour] laws that are just put out there lightly. They’re made for a reason.”

The former chef of a hip Vancouver restaurant says a recent Employment Standards Tribunal decision reveals the deep need for change in the service industry. Last December, former Crowbar chef Christopher Scott, 33, filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch claiming he should have been paid for hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime at the East Vancouver bar and restaurant. […]

Read More

Hip Vancouver bar embroiled in bitter dispute over working conditions

Cupe News 0 No Comments

The former chef of a hip Vancouver restaurant says a recent Employment Standards Tribunal decision reveals the deep need for change in the service industry.

Last December, former Crowbar chef Christopher Scott, 33, filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch claiming he should have been paid for hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime at the East Vancouver bar and restaurant.

In May, the Director of Employment Standards ruled that Scott was owed $11,424 in overtime, holiday pay, annual vacation and interest. The restaurant was also fined $2,000.  

The restaurant’s owner, William Johnson, appealed the decision, but the Employment Standards Tribunal recently dismissed that appeal.

In her decision, tribunal member Carol Roberts says Scott worked up to 14 hours a day, up to 20 days in a row — even though his wages were based on a 50-hour work week.

When asked in an interview if issues like unpaid overtime and long hours were factors in making it difficult to attract staff, Scott said “100 per cent.”

Chef Chris Scott

Vancouver chef Chris Scott says the restaurant industry is ripe for change. (Chris Scott/Twitter)

Many in the restaurant industry say poor working conditions are rampant in even some of the most sought-after boutique eateries.

“I wish there wouldn’t be a need for people to have to go through this process. I wish the industry would just change,” Scott told CBC News.

Johnson’s argument, noted in the tribunal decision and reiterated in an interview, was that he hired Scott as a chef to co-manage the kitchen alongside fellow chef Scott Korzack.

B.C.’s labour laws don’t require managers to be paid overtime. 

The Director of Employment Standards and the tribunal member sided with Scott, the latter explaining in her decision that he was clearly an employee with little authority and decision-making capability.

Bitter dispute

The disagreement over Scott’s overtime pay has led to an acrimonious dispute between Scott and Johnson that has gone on for months, both in the restaurant and subsequently before the tribunal. 

In an interview, Scott said when he was hired at Crowbar, an upscale bar nestled in a foodie enclave at Fraser and Kingsway, he was promised better conditions than many of the restaurants he has worked in over the past 15 years. 

His job, as he and the tribunal understood it, was to assist Korzack. As is noted in the tribunal decision, Scott was paid less than his colleague. 

Scott told CBC News the hours at the new restaurant quickly crept up, until he and Korzack were working longer and longer days.

“It just became more and more clear as we were going on that … I was not going to be compensated,” he said. 

The decision says Korzack corroborated these assertions as a witness during the tribunal process. 

‘It’s been hell’

But, in an interview, Johnson said he was upset with the ruling and he plans to appeal.

Johnson told CBC News Crowbar fulfilled a years-long dream of opening his own establishment after cobbling together money from investors and his parents.

He said that dream quickly turned into a nightmare after his relationship with Scott and Korzack began to sour. 

“It’s been hell, to say the least,” Johnson said, referring to the fallout. 

As a co-chef and manager, Johnson said, Scott was in charge of his own schedule. 

Managers vs employees

And as a manager, Scott wouldn’t need to be paid overtime.

Labour lawyer Kelly Slade-Kerr said that’s because, in theory, managers should have discretion over how to run a business, including how much time they put into their duties. 

But Slade-Kerr said the tribunal’s decision clearly shows that Scott didn’t have the same decision-making authority as Korzack. 

“What stands out is the importance of having a clear employment agreement in advance,” she said.

The contract, which Johnson submitted as new evidence during the appeal process, included the following seven bullet points:

  • Make the best food possible.
  • Order the best possible ingredients.
  • Train and develop the best possible team. 
  • Develop the best possible menu.
  • Work and communicate well with all restaurant staff to ensure the best possible restaurant.
  • Clean up messes you make.
  • Be happy. 

In an interview, Johnson admitted the contract isn’t as robust as it could be. But he maintained that he clearly laid out his expectations from both Scott and Korzack. 

‘I wish the industry would just change’

Johnson says he intends to dispute the appeal decision.

He said that if the decision holds, he will pay the overtime — although he’s not sure how, given that his restaurant is just starting to gain traction and most of his lines of credit are still maxed out.

In the meantime, Scott is still working as a chef, but in another restaurant. 

He isn’t sure how much longer he’ll stay in the industry, given the conditions, but he says more workers are speaking out and the industry is ripe for improvement. 

“If there is a problem, then people need to not be afraid to come forward about it,” said Scott.

“These are not [labour] laws that are just put out there lightly. They’re made for a reason.”

The former chef of a hip Vancouver restaurant says a recent Employment Standards Tribunal decision reveals the deep need for change in the service industry. Last December, former Crowbar chef Christopher Scott, 33, filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch claiming he should have been paid for hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime at the East Vancouver bar and restaurant. […]

Read More

BC’s minimum wage is now $11.35/hr; labour group wants to get to $15/hr at a faster pace

Cupe News 0 No Comments

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The minimum wage has gone up in BC. It has jumped by 50 cents to $11.35/hr. However, BC’s biggest labour group wants Victoria to bump it up to $15/hr sooner rather than later.

The new provincial government has promised to boost minimum wage to that level by the year 2021. But BC Federation of Labour President Irene Lanzinger says they’ll be pushing the Fair Wage Commission for faster action.

“We should have a timeline consistent with Alberta and Ontario. Both of those provinces will be there in 2019. But the second thing is we know there’s very, very strong public support for a $15 minimum wage,” she argues.

Lanzinger tells us one of their arguments to the government will be that BC is an expensive province to live in. “It is the most expensive province in the country. And if Alberta and Ontario… can do this and many jurisdictions in the United States [can do this], we can too.”

As for predictions that a $15 minimum wage would hurt business in those cities, Lanzinger says, “We just do not see that impact of raising the minimum wage. It does not cause a decrease in employment.”

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The minimum wage has gone up in BC. It has jumped by 50 cents to $11.35/hr. However, BC’s biggest labour group wants Victoria to bump it up to $15/hr sooner rather than later. The new provincial government has promised to boost minimum wage to that level by the year 2021. But […]

Read More