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February 16, 2015
In This Issue
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

TransLink Board forces CEO to step down

TransLink asked CEO Ian Jarvis to step down, in an attempt to restore public confidence before the upcoming Transit and Transportation Referendum.

Mr. Jarvis, had served as TransLink CEO since 2009, he will remain at TransLink as an adviser to the Board until the end of his contract in June 2016. Doug Allen, who was most recently president and CEO of InTransit BC, has been appointed interim CEO.

Board Chair Marcella Szel said that the decision comes at a time when TransLink is attempting to tackle decreasing public confidence as a result of SkyTrain breakdowns, Compass pass delays and other issues. Several system-wide SkyTrain shutdowns resulted in an independent review that has recommended $71 million in improvements in order to reduce delays and improve communication with riders.

Canadian trade drives record year for Port Metro Vancouver 
For a second year in a row, Port Metro Vancouver handled record-breaking amounts of cargo. Overall, PMV’s terminals handled approximately 140 million tonnes of cargo in 2014, an increase of three per cent from 2013. Import cargo increased by 4.1 per cent and export increased 3.3 per cent.

Bulk cargo increased 5.3 per cent, driven by an 18 per cent increase in wheat exports and 31 per cent growth in canola shipments. This was complemented by a 14 per cent increase in bulk potash shipments.

The increase occurred in spite of a 28- day truckers’ strike this year, which caused a significant disruption to services. Despite this interruption, container volumes grew 3.1 per cent over the year after increasing four per cent in 2013.

The Port did, however, see a small slip in cruise passengers. In 2014, 812,095 tourists passed through PMV, down only about 300 passengers compared with 2013.

Province introduces Bill to improve worker safety

The government of B.C. introduced the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2015 designed to improve workplace health and safety. This comes as part of the Province’s commitment to implement recommendations made by Gordon Macatee’s WorkSafeBC Review and Action Plan released last July.

The legislation amends the Workers Compensation Act, and includes changes that complement other operational improvements taking place at WorkSafeBC to improve inspection and investigation systems, in the wake of the tragic sawmill incidents that occurred in 2012 in Burns Lake and Prince George.

The four objectives of the act include are: providing a range of new safety enforcement tools; shortening the process for finalizing financial penalties to improve their effectiveness as an enforcement tool; ensuring timely employer investigations of workplace incidents and reports; and enhancing workplace safety expertise on the WorkSafeBC board of directors.

These amendments expand WorkSafeBC’s capacity to increase compliance with safety regulations, to expedite investigation of workplace incidents, and to issue stop work orders where conditions present a risk to workers. The legislation will also permit WorkSafeBC to seek a court injunction to bar the worst employer offenders from continuing to operate in an industry when they ignore WorkSafeBC orders and continue to use unsafe practices.