Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

In April of this year, the government announced a WorkSafeBC review aimed at examining the policies and practices that are currently in place to support a worker’s return to work following an injury.

A review of something as important as the workers’ compensation system in B.C. is generally not a cause for concern. However, in mid-August, 46 provincial business organizations wrote a letter backing out of the WorkSafeBC review in an unprecedented move, citing a loss of confidence in the process.

The concerns of the business organizations stem from the appointed reviewer and the broad focus of the review itself. Retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson has been selected to lead the review — a notable choice considering that Patterson conducted a review of WorkSafeBC in 2009 that was commissioned by the BC Federation of Labour. It appears that the focus of the current review is based heavily on the previous report’s recommendations, of which all but one are included in the current review.

This is a serious problem and, I would argue, a legitimate reason to worry that the review will not be carried out in an independent, impartial and balanced manner. How could it be anything but biased if the person who will be conducting the review has previously published a report in which she already has reached conclusions and made recommendations?

Read more: ‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

Read more: Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

Read more: B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Additionally troubling is the fact that employers had no role in the process, their inclusion in the review being mainly for show while their opinions were ignored.

Unfortunately, this kind of bias is par for the course with the current government. Not only have they been repeatedly shown to favour a select group of hand-picked unions, but they have also consistently demonstrated a lack of support for B.C. businesses. From raising and introducing new taxes, to Community Benefits Agreements that exclude 85 per cent of construction workers in B.C., to a string of biased reviews and investigations that are more smoke and mirrors than actual consultation, this government has made life more difficult for B.C. businesses and shut out their voices whenever possible.

A review of the workers compensation system could yield positive results; it simply must be done in an impartial and balanced manner that looks at the needs of individuals and businesses.

We need genuine consultation with workers and their employers to achieve an effective review of WorkSafeBC, not an empty exercise with its outcomes pre-determined by political considerations.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: Africa is a wise teacher

Council Report by Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison

Silverbacks’ Hirose named to All-Star squad

Veteran defenceman coming off an impressive 2019-2020 season.

WorkBC celebrates patrons with chilli cook off

Employees also dressed in their favourite hockey jerseys for the event

Treacherous road leads to North Shuswap front-end collision

Chase RCMP say icy, steep, narrow road likely to blame for accident

Suspected drunk driving in Shuswap leads to discovery of rifle

Driver claims weapon for protection against cougars and bears

Developer of RV resort west of Revelstoke ordered to stop selling lots

The Superintendent of Real Estate has serious concerns that buyers may not receive their purchase

Police dog located accused murderer in dumpster near West Kelowna crime scene

Tejwant Danjou’s application to have his impromptu guilty plea removed was accepted by the court

Police dog located accused murderer in dumpster near West Kelowna crime scene

Tejwant Danjou’s application to have his impromptu guilty plea removed was accepted by the court

North Okanagan prays for women of Zimbabwe

World Day of Prayer celebrated in 2,000 Canadian communities, one of 170 countries

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Trans Canada east of Revelstoke to be closed overnight

The highway will reopen at 10 a.m. Feb. 29

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Most Read