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This document provides general information to workers employed in British Columbia. It presents information related to how severe weather related to climate change can impact workers’ rights and employers’ obligations as set out by, the:

  • BC Employment Standards Act (“the ESA”);

  • BC Workers Compensation Act (“the WCA”);

  • BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (“the OHSR”);

  • BC Human Rights Code (“the HRC”); and

  • the common law (decisions made by judges in court).

This research was originally completed for the Worker Solidarity Network by members of the Pro Bono Students Canada University of Victoria Chapter. The authors of this work are Samantha Chenatte and Annie Chochla. Samantha is a second year student at UVic Law with experience in labour & employment law. Annie is a first year law student at UVic Law, and still currently works as a tree planting foreman.

Disclaimer: PBSC at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, cannot provide legal advice. This document contains a general discussion of certain legal and related issues only. It is not legal advice. Please consult a lawyer if you require legal advice. The information in this document does not apply to unionized workers and independent contractors.


“Precarious employment” doesn’t have a specific definition, but it’s generally understood as employment situations where workers experience few protections and significant unpredictability in hours of work available and pay they can receive. In short, this is the definition of tree planting. The opportunities and experiences tree planting provides can be extraordinary, but they come at the cost of working in an industry that can be deeply affected by situations totally outside of your average planter or middle-management’s control. As many of us have experienced over the past few years, severe weather events related to climate change (such as heat waves, flooding and forest fires) can have a huge impact on our opportunities for work and income during each planting season.

It’s important to know how severe weather events associated with climate change can intersect with workers’ rights and employers’ obligations. We explored this issue, and broke it down into three topics you should know about:

Termination Rights

Health & Safety Rights

Accommodation Rights for people with disabilities


Well, we hope that we’ve been able to provide you with some facts and information that will be helpful to you as you head into the next or continue your current planting season. Undertaking this research and applying it to the context of tree planting revealed a significant gap in protections for tree planters, as well as other seasonal workers: termination rights.

However, health and safety rights and accommodation rights provide protections that shouldn’t be forgotten about. As more and more mainstream attention is brought to seasonal workers in Canada, hopefully, more room for improved approaches to the termination of seasonal employees will be pushed for in the future.

In any case, know your rights, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your coworkers, and do what you can to help your employer help keep you safe. Happy planting!

Resources & Further Reading


Climate Change & Precarious Employment

What tree planters need to know about how extreme weather events could impact their season.

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