Proposed legislation change would profoundly hurt tourism
Letter to the Editor
The following letter was sent to Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture regarding proposed amendments to Part 16 of the worker safety regulation ‘Mobile Equipment.’
We are writing to bring to your attention an issue that potentially will have profound adverse effects on tourism in B.C.
In October of 2018, WorkSafe BC proposed amendments to Part 16 of the worker safety ‘Mobile Equipment’ regulation, which falls under the Workers Compensation Act of BC, making rollover protection and seat belts mandatory on golf carts.
From our perspective, the low golf cart rollover injury claim history does not support the need for roll over protection structures (ROPS), nor is there an apparent need for specific location risk assessments. Further to our position, we are not aware of any other jurisdiction that has set a precedent for this requirement. Golf course risk mitigation has been achieved by engineered controls such as curbs and fences, GPS, speed controls, regenerative brakes, signage and staff training in safe equipment operation. Golf course player assistants (marshals) are employed not only to ensure prompt pace of play, but to monitor on-course safety issues.
The proposed amendments were created to ensure that all employees are protected while operating a golf cart, work cart, beverage cart, or marshal cart during their work hours. One of the serious downfalls of these proposed changes is that non-golf course workers are needlessly captured under these amendments “specifically, employees playing in a corporate or charity event are considered workers under this policy and the rules would apply.”
WorkSafeBC stated, “anyone with access to the compensation system is subject to the regulation.” When the Allied Golf Association asked if a corporate event waiver could be created so that corporate tournament participants are exempt from WorkSafeBC requirements, the response was “No. It is illegal to waive worker rights.”
This change in legislation will create an economic hardship for B.C. courses in what is an already incredibly competitive national and international golf market. Based upon preliminary estimates, these changes will result in a total expense to the BC Golf Industry that is estimated between $15M-$20M. This cost estimate does not include the costs of equipment such as hard hats, fire extinguishers, lights, training, supervision, and ongoing enforcement. To recover these costs, B.C. golf courses will be forced to eliminate some permanent and part-time jobs. Green fees will be raised, making B.C. less competitive than courses in Alberta, Montana, Idaho and Washington. The reduction of golf clients will have a negative trickledown effect on hotels and restaurants who depend on the golf industry.
For many British Columbians golfing is a way to maintain a healthy and active recreational lifestyle. The proposed changes to legislation will make the sport more expensive thus limiting access not to mention the adverse effects these changes will have on the sport of golf itself.
As the Tourism Minister we are confident you will agree with our position and that you will act immediately on this issue and work with your colleague ministers to revisit and amend this change immediately.
MLA Columbia River-Revelstoke
MLA Parksville Qualicum