BC Government Introduces Workers Compensation Act Changes to Support Injured Workers

The BC government has introduced amendments to the Workers Compensation Act aimed at providing better support to injured workers in their return to work.
Categories: Employee Benefits
Dec 1st, 2022 | By: CapriCMW

The BC government has introduced changes to the Workers Compensation Act which establishes new obligations for employers to better support workers injured on the job.

Under the amendments, employers with 20 or more workers are required to maintain the employment of those injured in workplace accidents for at least two years post-injury. For this obligation to apply, the injured individuals must have at least 12 months of continuous service.

In returning to work, if the employee is deemed fit to resume the same pre-injury work, the employer must offer either the same position as before at the same wages or a comparable alternative position with comparable wages. If the worker is unable to carry out the same duties as before, the employer must offer the first suitable position available. Additionally, the employer is required to accommodate the employee with changes to the job or workplace "up to the point of undue hardship."

Employers that terminate workers within six months after their return to work will have failed to comply with this duty to maintain employment. Failure to comply could lead to significant financial penalties unless the employer can prove their reason for termination were unrelated to the injury.

Other changes to the Act being introduced include:

  • mandating the establishment of a fairness commissioner who will investigate complaints by employers and employees of unfair dealings with WorkSafeBC and make recommendations for resolving complaints
  • requiring WorkSafeBC to pay interest on benefit payments that are overdue by 180 days due to a review or appeal decision

Upon being passed into legislation, these requirements help align BC's benefits for injured workers with those provided by other provinces. For learn more about all the changes being proposed, see the official Government of BC news release.

 

 

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