Uber, Skip the Dishes and other gig workers in B.C. to make at least $20.88 an hour under new rules | CBC News (2024)

British Columbia

British Columbia has become the first provincein Canada to provide a minimum wageand other protections for people who work through gig-based apps like Uber, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Lyft.

Uber, Skip the Dishes say price increases will decrease demand, premier says they can 'suck it up'

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Uber, Skip the Dishes and other gig workers in B.C. to make at least $20.88 an hour under new rules | CBC News (1)

British Columbia has become the first provincein Canada to provide a minimum wageand other protections for people who work through gig-based apps like Uber, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes and Lyft, according to B.C.'s Ministry of Labour.

Starting Sept.3, the province says that anyone who accepts work through these and other gig-based apps, such as ride-hailing and delivery services, must receive $20.88 an hour from the time they accept an assignment to the time it is completed.

Under the new rules, this is known as "engaged time." The pay standards are not applied to time spent waiting between jobs.

The $20.88 figure is 20 per cent higher than B.C.'s minimum wage of $17.40 an hour in order to address the gaps between gigs, the government says. Like the minimum wage, it will be adjusted annually to keep up with inflation.

WATCH | How B.C.'s new rules will work compared to other jurisdictions:

Proposed legislation in British Columbia aims to ensure gig economy workers, including Uber and DoorDash drivers, make more than minimum wage when they are on a call.

Tips from people receiving the service do not count toward earnings, and platforms will be required to pay forany gaps in earnings that impact workers.

"Too many workers in this industry are putting in long hours and being paid less than the minimum wage," Janet Routledge, the parliamentary secretary for labour, said in a release. "At the end of a shift, after paying their vehicle expenses, these workers are barely ahead of where they started. The new protections are going to change that."

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The change is being introduced after the province held a series of meetings with gig workers across B.C. to hear about their experiences and concerns— and after several gig workers threatened to strike if improvements weren't made.

The government says it also consulted with the platforms behind the services, as well as business and labour associations and members of the public.

WATCH | No job protection, no benefits, no overtime for B.C. gig workers:

Uber, Skip the Dishes and other gig workers in B.C. to make at least $20.88 an hour under new rules | CBC News (3)

Without protections, B.C. gig workers warn they could walk off the job

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Following an attack on an Uber driver in Abbotsford, some gig workers in B.C. say they are prepared to strike if the province does not improve labour protections.

Uber, Skip push back

However, in written statements to CBC News, both Uber and Skip the Dishes expressed concerns with the new policy, saying it would drive up consumer costs.

"In the middle of an affordability crisis, a ridesharing expense rate that is over 50%higher than the comparable rate in California is unreasonable — and we encourage the government to reconsider the consequences for British Columbians who rely on rideshare and delivery," emailed Keerthana Rang, the Canadian communications lead for Uber.

Skip the Dishes communications manager Melanie Fatouros-Richardson had a similar response, calling the rules "government overregulation," arguing "these measures will only put more pressure on Canadians, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis across the country."

Uber, a publicly traded company headquartered in California, reported a net income of more than $1 billion USin 2023, with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi'searnings reported at a $1 millionbase annual pay,up to $24 million after factoring in stock options and other compensation, following continued growth in 2022 and 2023.

Skip the Dishesis headquartered in Winnipegand is a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational Just Eat Takeaway, the largest food delivery company in Europe, valued at more than $2 billion. According to Reuters, the company is expected to post profits in 2024 after a break-even year in 2023 and has recently pulled out of several international markets following a slump in demand for food delivery services following a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown boom.

Premier says companies can 'suck it up'

At an unrelated news conference Friday, B.C. Premier David Eby said despite complaints, regulations will not change.

"These companies can suck it up. They'll be alright,. They'll be fine," he said.

Eby said British Columbians will use the service that is most cost-competitive.

"And that may be any of those companies, or it may be some entirely different company that starts up in this province."

Eby said he doesn't want to see someone going further into debt because they have a car to pay for that isn't supported by their employer, "which are these app-based companies that have billions of dollars in revenue."

Drivers lack freedom to set hours, prices: Statistics Canada

Despite the criticisms, the province says thenew rules represent "balanced solutions" that will keep app-based services in B.C. while providing better protections for workers.

The B.C. government estimates there are about 11,000 ride-hailing drivers and 35,000 delivery workers in the province.

According to a March report from Statistics Canada,approximately 3.6 per cent of workers between the ages of 15 and69 took on gig work as their main job.

  • Why workers, advocates want governments to boost protections for growing pool of gig workers

Across Canada, an average of 871,000 people aged 15 to 69 did gig work as part of their main jobin the final three months of 2022, according to StatisticsCanada.An additional 1.5 million people completed gig work at some point during the previous 12 months.

While companies like Uber and Skip the Dishes emphasized the flexibility and freedom given to their drivers, the Statistics Canada report found self-employed gig workers are often dependent on a single company for their jobs, with very little freedom to set their own hours or prices and without access to key benefits and protections.

Worker's compensation, job transparency also coming

Minimum pay is one of several new measures coming into effect in B.C. Other rulesbeing introduced include:

  • All ride-hailing service and delivery workers willbe covered through WorkSafeBC.
  • Companies will be required to see the location and estimated pay for a job before it is accepted.
  • If workers are suspended or deactivated from an app, companies must tell them why.
  • Companies must ensure 100 per cent of the tips paid by customers go directly to the worker responsible for the service.
  • Establish a 35- to 45-cent minimum per-kilometre vehicle allowance to help workers cover expenses.

The announcement was welcomed by UFCW Canada, a private-sector union representing Uber drivers across the country.

In a release, the union said it wants every province in Canada to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring rights and protection for people who work using gig-based apps.

With files from the Canadian Press

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Uber, Skip the Dishes and other gig workers in B.C. to make at least $20.88 an hour under new rules | CBC News (2024)
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