Contractor Licensing Stalled on First Nations Issue

The licensing of silvicultural contractors in B.C. is stalled at the moment while government lawyers sort out whether Native silvicultural employers fall under provincial or federal labour statutes…

The licensing of silvicultural contractors in B.C. is stalled at the moment while government lawyers sort out whether Native silvicultural employers fall under provincial or federal labour statutes. Preliminary investigations seem to indicate that Native business based on reserves fall under the federal labour code exempting them from the new provincial employment standard regulations introduced last year. If this is the case there remains the issue of whether Native contractors will require a provincial license to operate in B.C. if they are governed by federal labour law.

Federal labour law generally applies to groups of employees engaged in activities deemed to be in the national interest in fields such as communications work, marine work, uranium mining etc. The federal code operates on a minimum wage based on the provincial rate, eight hour work days, forty hour work week, time and a half for overtime and no payment for travel time.

The WSCA and the ministry of labour had hoped to have in place by now an advisory committee comprising labour, contractors, First Nations, industry, and government to work out the details of the licensing scheme to be implemented by next year. With the election and the pending installation of a new government it may be summer before the committee convenes.