The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has applied to the provincial Labour Relations Board (LRB) to have its services declared essential.
The designation – if the insurer’s application is successful – could block strike action by ICBC’s unionized staff.
In an email to ILSTV on April 24, Mark Jan Vrem, ICBC’s Manager of Media Relations confirmed the insurer’s application.
“I can confirm that in order to continue delivering service to our customers in the event of job action, ICBC has applied to the BC Labour Relations Board for essential services designation for specific claims, driver licensing, insurance, and information systems services,” he wrote.
Jan Vrem said ICBC expects a decision from the LRB within three to four weeks.
The Labour Relations Board of British Columbia defines an “essential service” as one a service related to “the health, safety or the welfare of British Columbia residents, or to the provision of primary or secondary educational programs.”
The LRB adds:
If the Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services considers that a labour dispute poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the province, or to the provision of primary or secondary educational programs, he or she may direct the Board to designate essential services. Designation of essential services involves identifying the facilities and levels of service needed to prevent immediate and serious danger to the public or to prevent immediate and serious disruption to educational programs. When the Board designates services as essential, the employer is required to provide those services, and the union is required to allow its members to perform those services in the event of a strike or lockout.