December 2019 - January 2020 Best Cities for Work in B.C.

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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14 BCBUSINESS DECEMBER/JANUARY 2020 READ THIS After working for the Liberal Party of Canada and studying the Obama campaign's use of social media, Vancouver Island native Christopher Wylie moved to the U.K. to study law at the London School of Economics. He eventually set up Cam- bridge Analytica, the data-mining operation that influenced voting for Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America, Wylie clearly and compellingly explains how it all worked and why he left, telling his story to the media and testifying to members of the U.K. Parliament and U.S. Congress. "There are harsher punishments for athletes who cheat in sport than campaigns that cheat in elections," he notes. Verbena 288 pages, hardcover, $37 • 95% of doctors polled in a Canadian study of workplace absenteeism said they've been asked to provide a note to explain a patient's absence from work 5% believed such notes help manage absenteeism ( the informer ) 'Tis the season for sharing—colds, flu and other nasty bugs, that is. So break out the hand soap as we look at some sick stats about going viral at the office by Melissa Edwards Canadian workers with kids take 2X as many days off to see a doctor Pass It On G O F I G U R E nature of their visits. Many enter without a visa under what's called a B-1 classification, which lets them engage in a limited range of business activities. They can attend meetings and conventions, get training, and negotiate sales, mergers or partnerships. However, B-1 vis- itors can't perform any work that could be considered gain- ful employment. They can't provide services or get paid. These rules have long been in place, but now Customs and Border Protection officers are demanding that busi- ness travellers meet a higher burden of proof to show that they're staying well within the rules. "You really have to be prepared now if you seek ad- mission as a B-1 visitor," Aubin advises. She says visitors should bring any documents that show their visits will be tempo- rary, such as hotel reservations and flight itineraries. An em- ployer letter describing the na- ture of their trip could further their chances of admission. Border agents can be inconsistent with how they apply the rules, which adds unpredictability for business travellers. CBC reporter Caro- lyn Dunn was refused entry in August for being what an agent described as imported labour, contrary to State Department policy for Canadian journalists on assignment. Ryan McLeod, Vancouver- based vice-president of the News Photographers Associa- tion of Canada, says his group is troubled by Dunn's case and concerned that journalists won't be able to conduct their business in a timely fashion. "You have law enforcement agents who have the power to accept or deny people," he notes. "And some of the people don't understand the laws they are there to enforce." The CEO of a Vancouver- area engineering and design firm says the border crossing has caused his company so many headaches, he doesn't want his or its name in the press when discussing them. The increased questioning has made him concerned that a border official might Google his name and find reason to add to his troubles. "The last thing you want to do is to make a border guard mad," explains the CEO, who says the U.S. market is critical to his business. He started his company in B.C. in 2007, opening a manu- facturing facility in Washing- ton state in 2016. He set up the U.S. plant to reduce delays and costs getting his products to American customers, after customs officials began holding and searching containers his company was moving. "Then they'd charge us $2,000 to search the container," the CEO recalls. "It was happening on almost every container." Making products in the U.S. alleviated problems moving his goods and parts. But Trump's 2017 edict made moving people more difficult. The CEO has 12 employees in Washington, all of them American citizens, whom he mostly manages remotely. "We don't go there nearly as much as we should, because of the challenges you have at the border," he says. "Ideally we'd be there once a week, just help- ing them improve." When he or his team lead- ers visit, they carry a letter stat- ing they've been counselled by their lawyer, and showing they understand they can't do any management or other work while in the U.S. As B-1 visitors, they can only attend meetings or make inspections. Other- wise, they would need to apply for L-1 visas. The CEO says his company uses a workaround, recruit- ing employees who are dual Canadian and U.S. citizens. "It did influence who we hired, for sure," he discloses. His advice for other travel- lers: "Anybody who crosses the border for business should have a U.S. immigration lawyer on speed-dial." • B.C. workers were off sick for 2.3 million+ hours in 2018. Including all reasons for absence, full-time work- ers missed an average of 10.3 days that year, up from 8.7 in 2014 48% of incidental workplace absence in Canada is due to illness Looking at how colds and stomach bugs spread in an office, University of Arizona researchers found that it took 2-4 hours for germs to move from a communal coffee pot handle to a desk. 50% of commonly touched office surfaces were infected by lunchtime

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