B.C. planning better support for injured workers

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | November 2, 2022

VICTORIA — It could soon be easier for injured workers to get support as B.C. plans changes to its Workers’ Compensation Act.

Among the changes to the policy is ensuring employers accommodate and re-employ injured workers when they are ready to return and making WorkSafeBC pay interest on payments delayed due to review, according to a press release on the matter.

Other amendments include the introduction of a Fair Practices Commissioner to review complaints against WorkSafeBC, expanded access to independent health professionals and strengthening provisions to prevent claim suppression by employers.

Changes will also be made to benefits to allow them to increase with the full rate of inflation, according to the report. Currently, compensation benefits cannot increase above four per cent and always one per cent less than the rate of inflation as declared by the Canadian Consumer Price Index.

“With these changes, we’re making sure that workers are properly supported when they need it most,” said Minister of Labour Harry Bains in a statement.

B.C.’s workers’ compensation system has been in place since 1917. In 2019, the Ministry of Labour ordered an extensive review by Janet Patterson.

WorkSafeBC receives about 100,000 new claims every year around worker injury and fatalities.

Once the legislation is passed, WorkSafeBC and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal will create the policy to implement the changes.