July 14, 2020
Changes to the Workers Compensation Act introduced today by the BC NDP government put injured workers first for the first time in two decades.
“Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in B.C. and the men and women who work in this industry building the infrastructure we all rely on deserve to be treated fairly when they are injured,” said Andrew Mercier, executive director of the BC Building Trades.
The new legislation raises the maximum annual salary amount on which compensation benefits are based, which means injured workers can worry less about their financial situation and instead focus on getting healthy. It also authorizes WorkSafeBC to provide preventative medical treatment before a claim is accepted.
“This is the most progressive WCB legislation we’ve seen in over 20 years,” said Mercier. “It will make a positive difference to injured workers, who until now have struggled and suffered under the previous Liberal government that allowed the system to become unfairly skewed to favour one side. This legislation restores balance.”
Mercier says he’s particularly pleased to see the acceptance of diagnostic and prophylactic treatment costs prior to claims being accepted.
“This allows an injured worker to seek treatment and help without the stress and worry of not being able to afford the care.”
He also applauds the government for giving stronger investigative and prosecutorial powers to government agencies to ensure criminal charges are brought against employers where they are warranted.
“These are all significant steps in righting the historic wrongs imposed by the previous Liberal government who failed to prioritize care for hurt workers.”