Report exposes violations of basic workplace rights and calls new government to immediate action

Image of cover of new report by BC ESC, Workers' stories of exploitation and abuse.To mark Labour Day, we are releasing a new report: Workers’ Stories of Exploitation & Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change. For the full press release, please click here.

This report documents widespread employer violations of BC’s Employment Standards Act and exposes the failure of the provincial government to enforce basic workplace rights. The Coalition calls on the new provincial government to act swiftly on the report’s recommendations.


In 2016 and 2017, the BC Employment Standards Coalition held a series of workers’ forums across Metro Vancouver and Victoria where workers described their experiences with employment standards violations, issues with enforcement, and areas where the Employment Standards Act failed to protect them.

The Coalition heard from 145 workers about wage theft, lack of breaks, employment contract violations, improper termination, excessive work hours, and unequal treatment as temporary workers. The coalition’s report gives a voice to workers’ concerns and proposes legislative reforms intended to improve the economic security of all working people.

“The ‘Workers’ Stories Report’ is an indictment of the previous government’s callous reduction of rights and protections for workers in the province – especially the most vulnerable,” says David Fairey, co-chair of the coalition. “The findings expose the government’s failure to enforce the Employment Standards Act, and the urgent need to address gaps in existing legislation.”

The report also raises serious concerns about employers charging fees to temporary foreign workers, denying sick days, bullying workers and the lack of basic rights for farm workers. Additionally, it proposes new rights and protections for the large and growing numbers of precarious workers in the service economy.

“The stories we collected illustrate the need for the new government to act quickly to modernize basic workplace rights, institute proactive enforcement, and provide the Employment Standards Branch with the resources needed to carry out its mandate effectively.” says Fairey.

For interviews, please contact:

David Fairey, Co-Chair, BC Employment Standards Coalition