New 5 Days Paid Sick Leave Too Much, Too Soon for Businesses Hit By COVID Says Burnaby Board of Trade

November 24, 2021

New 5 Days Paid Sick Leave Too Much, Too Soon for Businesses Hit By COVID Says Burnaby Board of Trade

Burnaby, BC –  The Burnaby Board of Trade is questioning the timing of the requirement that all employers provide five paid sick days starting January 1 as announced today by Labour Minister Harry Bains, and is calling on the provincial government to find ways of mitigating the cost of this for small and medium businesses.

The new requirement means that starting in the new year, all employees regardless of full-time, part-time, or causal status will be entitled to 5 paid sick days per year after 90 days of employment.  The Burnaby Board of Trade had previously met with Minister Bains and recommended delaying the January 1 implementation date, limiting the number of days provided to no more than three, and mitigating the cost on employers, all out of concern with the negative impacts on Burnaby’s business community.

“The biggest question in our minds is ‘Why now?’,” says Burnaby Board of Trade President & CEO Paul Holden.  “We already have 3 days of paid leave provided as part of the COVID-19 response, so it is unclear why there needed to be a rush to implement a permanent requirement like this, especially given the challenges businesses have faced over the pandemic.”

In its submission to the Ministry of Labour, the Burnaby Board of Trade had argued that it was no time to place a new cost on businesses after the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent challenges with access to labour, rising inflation and disrupted supply chains.  The Burnaby Board of Trade had also recommended any such policy to be limited to 3 days, not include part-time or casual workers, and come with corresponding offsets to other business costs.

“While we are happy the government stopped short of mandating 10 days, the length of this leave, extending it fully to part-time and casual workers, and offering no help with mitigating the inevitable costs on businesses left us disappointed,” added Holden.

The Burnaby Board of Trade’s full submission to the Ministry of Labour during the paid sick leave consultations can be found online here.


Cory Redekop
Director – Policy & Stakeholder Relations
Burnaby Board of Trade  /   604 412 0100

About the Burnaby Board of Trade:
As Burnaby’s chamber of commerce and the City’s economic development partner, the Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) is one of the region’s largest and most active business associations.  The Burnaby Board of Trade is a catalyst for economic growth, and convener of business and community leaders, and a champion for business interests in Burnaby and across the region. Working closely with the municipality, its members, and various community stakeholders, the BBOT supports the growth of business and fosters a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable business environment.