In Pasiechnyk v. Saskatchewan (Workers’ Compensation Board),  2 S.C.R. 890 (at para. 27), the Supreme Court of Canada summarized four principles that are common to Canadian workers’ compensation systems:
- compensation is paid to injured workers without regard to fault;
- injured workers should enjoy security of payment;
- administration of the compensation scheme, and adjudication of claims, is handled by an independent commission; and
- compensation to injured workers is provided quickly without court proceedings.
The Supreme Court of Canada in that case also stated:
… these four principles are interconnected. For instance, security of
payment is assured by the existence of an injury fund that is maintained
through contributions from employers and administered by an independent
commission, the Workers’ Compensation Board. The principle of quick
compensation without the need for court proceedings similarly depends upon
the fund and the adjudication of claims by the Board. The principle of no-fault
recovery assists the goal of speedy compensation by reducing the number
issues that must be adjudicated. The bar to actions is not ancillary to this
scheme but central to it. If there were no bar, then the integrity of the system
would be compromised as employers sought to have their industries
exempted from the requirement of paying premiums toward an insurance
system that did not, in fact, provide then with any insurance.
The Worker’s Compensation Act, British Columbia (WCA) is provincial legislation that creates a regulatory body, the Workers Compensation Board of B.C (WCB). The WCB has, since 2003, operated as “WorkSafe B.C.”
Relying on the Statute Revision Act, RSBC 1996, c. 440, s. 5, British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor in council issued Order in Council 512/2019, stating that the Workers Compensation Act was “brought into force as a limited revision” effective April 6, 2020. Under this “limited revision”, the WCA underwent a re-write including new section numbers and other changes. We make no comment on the validity of those changes.
Employers’ Advisors and Workers’ Advisors provide employers and workers with free advice and assistance. However, the advisors’ workloads can be high and the extent to which these advisors are able to assist varies.
Under sections 96 and 113 of the WCA, the WCB has exclusive jurisdiction over workers’ compensation matters.
Section 96 provides that the WCB has exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into, hear, and determine compensation matters under Part 1 of the WCA.
Section 113 provides that the WCB has exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into and determine health and safety matters under Part 3 of the WCA.
A worker who is injured in connection with work ought to:
- As soon as possible, report the injury to the employer; and
- File a claim with the WCB, within 1 year of the date of injury. Where this deadline is missed, “special circumstances” under section 55 of the WCA must be established.
The WCB commonly uses certain strategies and makes certain types of decisions early on in the handling of a claim that can result in difficulties later on in a claim. As such, the earlier a worker engages counsel, the better.