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This Act is current to June 17, 2020
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Ministry of Labour Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 306

1Ministry of Labour
2Appointment of staff
3Powers, duties and functions of ministry
4Power to obtain information
5Use of information
6Powers of minister
7Penalty for failing to provide information
8Right of entry
9Annual report for ministry
10Power to make regulations

Ministry of Labour

1   (1) There is to be a ministry of the public service of British Columbia called the Ministry of Labour, over which the minister is to preside.

(2) The minister is to manage and direct the ministry.

Appointment of staff

2   One or more deputy ministers and other officers and employees required for the conduct of the ministry's business may be appointed under the Public Service Act.

Powers, duties and functions of ministry

3   The ministry has the following powers, duties and functions:

(a) to administer the laws of British Columbia affecting labour;

(b) to acquire and disseminate knowledge on all matters connected with industrial occupations to improve the relations between employers and employees;

(c) to collect and publish reliable information relating to or affecting the industries of British Columbia and rates of wages;

(d) to collect statistical and other information respecting trades and industries in British Columbia that may be considered necessary or expedient;

(e) to ascertain the localities in which mechanics, artisans or workers in a particular trade or industry are required, and if practicable assist in meeting that demand;

(f) to ascertain and report on sanitary and other conditions relating to the health, comfort and well being of the industrial classes;

(g) to establish and maintain in population centres in British Columbia employment bureaus and similar agencies to obtain suitable employment for workers, and for the distribution of male and female labour throughout British Columbia;

(h) to inquire and report as to the establishment of new industries in British Columbia if it appears they can profitably be carried on;

(i) to inquire into, consider and report on the operation of laws in force in the British Commonwealth and foreign countries having for their objects the protection, technical training and welfare of the industrial classes, and make recommendations and suggestions on them that are considered advisable;

(j) to consider and report on petitions or suggestions to change the law of British Columbia relating to labour and wages or a matter affecting the industrial classes, presented by a trades and labour council or other organization representing those classes or any other person;

(k) to perform other duties prescribed by an Act.

Power to obtain information

4   To obtain the necessary information to enable the ministry to carry out the Act, the minister or any officer of the ministry appointed or authorized by the minister either specially or generally for that purpose may do the following:

(a) procure from all officers of an industrial society, industrial union, trade union, federation of labour or other association of industrial workers the information in writing as to the

(i) membership, benefits or advantages enjoyed or obtainable under the rules or constitution of the society, union, federation or association, and

(ii) disqualifications or disabilities under the rules or constitution,

that the minister either generally or specially directs or requires;

(b) require a person having in that person's service under a contract of hiring or apprenticeship, written or oral, express or implied, a person engaged in work in or about an industry, trade or business to state in writing

(i) the full name of every person having the principal control, superintendence or management of any kind of business carried on by that employer, and

(ii) the full name and nationality of every worker employed by the person, the nature of the employment, the hours of labour and the mode, terms and rate of payment for them;

(c) obtain from all persons able to provide it further information on the cost of foodstuffs and other necessaries, the effect of customs duties on those costs and their relation to labour conditions and industrial operations in British Columbia.

Use of information

5   (1) Information obtained by the minister or by an officer of the ministry under powers contained in this Act may be used only for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Information obtained under section 8 may be used only for the purposes of the Act for which the information is obtained.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is liable on conviction to a penalty of not more than $250.

Powers of minister

6   For the purposes of obtaining information to which the minister is entitled under this Act, the minister or a person designated by the minister has the powers of a commission under sections 22 (1) and 23 (a), (b) and (d) of the Public Inquiry Act.

Penalty for failing to provide information

7   (1) A person who for one month after receiving notice to provide information required under this Act neglects or refuses to provide it is liable on conviction to a penalty of not more than $100.

(2) A person who provides information required under this Act, knowing it to be false, is liable to the penalty in subsection (1).

Right of entry

8   (1) If a person is authorized in writing by the minister to obtain information to which the minister is entitled under this Act, the person may, for the purpose of that authority, enter any building or premises and inspect, examine and take copies of any books, documents or papers in them.

(2) A person in charge of a building or premises into which the authorized person desires to make entry, and every person in charge of any operations or employees in the building or premises, must on the request of the authorized person open any door to permit entry under this section, and if the person refuses or fails to do so the person commits an offence.

(3) A person who obstructs an authorized person in making or attempting to make an inspection, examination, inquiry or investigation under this section commits an offence.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to a fine of not more than $30.

Annual report for ministry

9   (1) The minister must each year submit to the Lieutenant Governor in Council a report for the fiscal year ending March 31 respecting the work performed by the ministry.

(2) The minister must lay the report before the Legislative Assembly as soon as practicable.

(3) The report must contain the statistical and other information collected by the ministry and recommendations based on it that the minister thinks proper.

(4) The report must be framed so as not to disclose the name or identity of any employer, worker or business.

Power to make regulations

10   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.