On April 6, 2020, a revised Workers Compensation Act comes into force. Three reviews of the claims adjudication and payment functions of the works compensation system have been conducted since early 2018 with limited engagement or consultation of industry.
This rewriting of the Workers Compensation Act makes no changes to British Columbia’s laws concerning workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety, and employers’ assessment premiums. It simply makes existing laws more accessible. That being said, there were multiple issues with the consultation and engagement by the province.
The BCHA has been actively engaging with the provincial government and several industry groups on the amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. Three letters have been written to the Minister of Labour outlining its members’ concerns. Most recently, on October 30, 2019, the BCHA requested that stakeholders are provided with a structured opportunity for feedback, framed by a consultation paper, before proceeding with any legislative changes. In 2021 BCHA engaged in a series of meetings with the Minister of Labour and other industry associations regarding the changes in sick pay, which were implemented January 1, 2022. BCHA will continue to advocate for workable compensation policies, and will share the report due spring of 2022 for actual compensation and value for employees and workforce pay/benefits as it relates to the living wage.
Fundamentally, the BCHA believes any changes to BC’s workers’ compensation system should be based on a consultation process where all issues can be thoroughly examined and analysed to ensure there are no unintended consequences to employers.
Proposed changes need to be carefully considered. Changes need to balance fair compensation and worker rehabilitation programs with the need to maintain the system’s overall financial viability.