The BC government is bringing in new employment protections for app-based delivery drivers, but a policy researcher says the new regulations don’t go far enough. Veronique Sioufi (SEE’-ew-fee) with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the new rules announced Thursday are a step in the right direction, but still unfairly put drivers in a different category than other workers. Sioufi says drivers won’t be paid for time in between jobs, unlike other workers in customer service who get paid whether there are customers to serve or not. Sioufi says the province classifying app-based drivers as employees is groundbreaking, but it was wrong to carve out exceptions for large, profitable ride-hailing and food delivery platform companies at the expense of workers.
Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke says the provincial government has orchestrated a policing takeover in the city by suspending the current police board. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth suspended the board Thursday and installed former Abbotsford police chief Mike Serr as temporary administrator to lead the transition. Locke says the move was done without any consultation with the city and removes civilian oversight of policing in Surrey as the plan to replace the RCMP with a municipal force moves forward. Locke says the province is forcing the city to go ahead with the costly transition, while taking oversight powers away from the city’s elected officials.
Mounties in Burnaby say they’re investigating after a pedestrian was hit and killed by a vehicle in the city Thursday morning. Burnaby RCMP say officers attended the scene at 11 in the morning after reports that a female pedestrian was hit in the 43-hundred block of Hastings Street. They say a portion of the road was shut down and the detachment’s criminal collision investigation team is probing the fatal incident. Investigators say they’re still trying to figure out what happened, but the vehicle involved has been identified and the investigation is ongoing.
Three BC universities say they’re getting millions in funding from a federal government program aimed at bringing top researchers to Canadian post-secondary institutions. The University of BC says it’s set to receive up to 24-million dollars over eight years under the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program to support the work of three newly appointed renowned scientists at the university. Simon Fraser University says it will get 16-million dollars over eight years to support three newly appointed chairs under the program, whose work involves quantum and astroparticle physics and Indigenous-focused coastal regeneration. The University of Victoria says it will receive eight-million dollars under the program to fund the work of Dr. Heather Igloliorte (ee-gloh-lee-OR’-tay), an Indigenous art historian and curator.
The BC government says it’s looking to fast-track homebuilding projects by adopting standardized designs for multi-unit housing developments. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says the standardized designs will speed up permitting processes by allowing local governments to adopt them for housing projects proposed on single lots. The ministry says municipalities can more easily approve projects with standard designs, and save both builders and homeowners money by cutting out design-related costs. The province says it’s looking for consultants to formulate a plan for the standardized designs, hoping to have them available to city governments by next summer.
The Tseshaht (say-shot) First Nation says it welcomes more funding from the federal government to locate the burial grounds of missing children who attended the Alberni Residential School on Vancouver Island. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the nation say 2.7-million dollars in funding will support ongoing work to locate remains of those who attended the school. Tseshaht Chief Ken Watts says the nation is pleased by the additional funding as it carries out the work of scanning site grounds and examining historical records. Watts says the nation is on the second phase of work at the site as it carries out the difficult task of memorializing and honouring the people who suffered abuse and were lost to the country’s residential school system.