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Business Manager’s Update

Apr 8, 2020

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Business Manager Jordan Streng and the Union’s staff want to ensure that the members are being kept up to date on the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic are having on our membership and our work picture. We will be updating the membership through regular notices such as this and will be posting on our Website and Facebook page. Updates may also appear on the nightly job-line if they are directly related to the work picture and of an immediate nature.

We will attempt to keep you up to date on the work, dispatch, and H&W side, but please keep informed through your local and national news feeds for all general information.

We continue recommending that all members be prepared for a considerable delay to the start of the spring shutdown season, and the work and pay cheques that come along with it.

*Our website will be down for maintenance on Wednesday April 15th, 2020

  • Beginning April 5th we have reduced wages and allowances for Boilermaker Staff and the Dispatcher, and in combination with the recently announced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), we will be seeking to reduce our overall office payroll cost by over 50%. This will be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis as further information about the CEWS is released, and further actions may be taken at the discretion of the BM/ST if deemed necessary.
  • The Health and Welfare Trustees have made changes to the H&W Plan to assist the membership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the work slowdown. These changes have been previously posted in our news section, please click here.
  • The Unfair Labour Practices that we filed with the BC Labour Relation Board against the BCA, CIMS, and all other contractors seeking to switch over to the CLRA agreement continues. The COVID-19 remediation practices have left the LRB in a difficult situation, as all in person hearings have now been postponed or cancelled. The Boilermakers, along with the BC Building Trades Council (BCBCBTU), are seeking to have the current BCA of BC agreement recognized as the enduring collective agreement for these contractors. We continue to work with our legal counsel, the BCBCBTU and their counsel, and the Labour Board to that end. The BCBCBTU has also rejected the application by the CLRA to use the CLRA-BM359 agreement on behalf of these employers, and BCBCBTU continues to support Lodge 359’s position. There have been many applications regarding standing in each case, and many submissions to date to put certain aspects of this complex case into abeyance until others are heard. We continue to emphasize to the Labour Board that our membership must have answers sooner than later, but we know our case is solid and that employers cannot just pick and choose whatever collective agreement suits them the best, without our express consent.
  • General Office Hours will remain reduced to Mon-Thurs 8am-3pm, Fri 8am-12pm. The office is closed for Good Friday and Easter Monday. The office remains closed for all walk-in traffic and staff is alternating between working remotely and in the office, to reduce personal contact. Staff emails can be found on our website.
  • Our shop members are now experiencing slowdowns and we expect this to continue. Peerless has recently announced a complete plant shutdown for 9 weeks beginning at the end of April. Shop members can email Jeremy directly if they have any questions or concerns.
  • We are continually speaking to contractors about ongoing and planned work, and we are encouraged that there may be some jobs available if they can meet the health guidelines of the Provincial and Federal Governments.
  • Emergency call-outs will continue to be dispatched as they occur. Some regular job orders may also be dispatched, since the trades are considered essential services for the ongoing maintenance and repair of industrial facilities. If you are called by dispatch you will be asked all the questions regarding your health, travel, and personal contact history and you must only accept the job if you are able. You may be asked to have your temperature taken at the gate and complete a COVID-19 health check form before being allowed onsite, and you must be both willing and able to accept the job.
  • The Union has received confirmation from Energy Safety Canada that the H2SAlive, Confined Space and Fall Arrest tickets that are to expire between January 1st, 2020 and September 1st, 2020 will now remain effective until September 1st, 2020.
  • Stay Safe out there.Fraternally, Jordan and Staff.

Helpful Links and announcements:

Call:  1-888-268-4319 (available 7:30 AM- 8 PM)
Text:  (604) 630-0300


These are challenging times, and we urge you to be mindful of your mental health as well as your physical health. As a member of the BC Building Trades, you have access to the Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan, which offers a number of options to keep your mental health in check. CIRP offers long-term counselling to assist members dealing with depression, anxiety, substance use, pain management and other mental health concerns. All services are free, and available via video conferencing during this new working-from-home “normal.” 

Visit the CIRP website, email or call 1-888-521-8611 for more information.

WCB and Disability Law Update (COVID-19)

Discipline or termination for raising an occupational health and safety issue.

Many workers are concerned that employers will bring reprisals for raising COVID-19 OHS issues. However, under the Workers Compensation Act this is illegal.

Under the Workers Compensation Act if an employer discriminates (suspends, demotes, terminates, etc.) a worker for raising a health and safety issue including those related to COVID-19, then the worker can seek recourse through the WCB. These provisions are called discriminatory action complaints.

These provisions are set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Part of the Workers Compensation Act. In brief, it sets out that if an employer’s disciplinary action is even tainted by a health and safety issue than a worker can bring a complaint to the Board. If proven the Board can order any of the following actions:

• Reinstatement;
• Payment of lost wages;
• Removal of reprimand from record;
• Out of pocket expenses;
• Anything else the WCB considers necessary to secure compliance.

This process can run parallel to a grievance process. However, resolution through one process typically means further recourse cannot be pursued through the other. What is helpful about the discriminatory action process is the following:

• Timeline for filing a claim is 1 year or 60 days for failure to pay wages;
• Focused expertise from adjudicators on OHS matters;
• Free mediation process paid by the WCB;
• Broad power to order remedy similar to the jurisdiction of arbitrators.

I’ve had a fair amount of success in both mediating and running discriminatory action hearings through the WCB and WCAT. If you have any specific questions please feel free to contact me to discuss.

WCB Prevention Department and COVID-19

The WCB is divided into two halves – Compensation and Prevention. Compensation is responsible for administering benefits for injured workers. Prevention is responsible for education and enforcement of worker safety in the province.

During Covid19, the WCB has focused on educating employers to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety regulations. The specific areas being focused on are the following:

• Identifying exposure hazards and developing measures of control;
• Controlling the number of people on site;
• Prohibiting workers who are sick and those returning from outside Canada from immediate return to employment.

Generally, the WCB is looking to ensure employers are minimizing risk of the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. If an employer is not taking reasonable steps to instigate risk management, the WCB will take action to either education or write orders up to and including fines and shut downs.

Should an employer continue to violate safe protocols or fail to conduct reasonable assessments including JOHS committee members, consider contacting the WCB Prevention Line at 1.888.621.7233

Information for Specific Industries

The WCB has released industry specific information to assist worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The specific industries and the hyperlinks to the information are as follows:

Health Care;

This information is helpful from both an educational perspective but also to ensure employers are maintaining their obligations during COVID-19.

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