BC Liberals say they pushed Premier to finally act on layoff extensions

B.C. Liberals said on Thursday that after a week of sustained pressure by them and businesses throughout the province, Premier John Horgan finally reversed his position and acted to extend temporary layoffs time limits to prevent mass layoffs and small business bankruptcies. 

“For weeks, small businesses and non-profits in every corner of our province have pleaded with John Horgan to extend temporary layoff time limits that, if not addressed, would have triggered thousands of permanent job losses and business bankruptcies,” said MLA John Martin, BC Liberal Labour Critic. “It’s outrageous that it took John Horgan and the NDP this long to acknowledge the severity of the situation and do something. Their inaction created needless uncertainty for thousands of already-struggling businesses and workers.”

Earlier this week, the BC Liberals supported small business groups and employers throughout B.C. who sent a letter to the NDP government requesting they amend the Employment Standards Act to extend the temporary layoff time limits. Such an extension would bring B.C. in line with governments throughout the country who have extended the temporary layoff time limits to help businesses accommodate the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re glad that we were able to amplify the voices of these small businesses and workers who were begging the government to act to save jobs and livelihoods,” said Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “It shouldn’t have taken this long, but the BC Liberal Caucus is glad that the small business representatives got what they wanted out of this meeting with a Premier who spent the first half of the week being dismissive of their concerns and claiming their letter for help was ‘salacious’.”

In the end, all that was required after the foot-dragging and procrastination from Horgan and the NDP was a simple alteration of two numbers in legislation. Just the stroke of a pen, said the B.C. Liberals.