Alberta WCB Board approves new Causation Policy
WorkSafeBC - Enhanced Compliance Powers
Changes to the Workers Compensation Act Give WorkSafeBC Enhanced Powers

Recent changes to the Workers Compensation Act in British Columbia have strengthened WorkSafeBC's ability to enforce occupational health and safety compliance.

Among the changes are:

  1. Changing the threshold for WorkSafeBC to issue stop-work orders;
  2. Introducing "compliance agreements" between WorkSafeBC and employers;
  3. A new framework for administrative penalties up to $1,000; and
  4. Expanding the list of those affected by Court injunctions, including directors and corporate officers.

The amendments also create new obligations on employers investigating incidents.The legislative changes are all currently in force.

1. Employers' Investigations and Reports after an Accident: A Two-Step Process

Employers must follow a two-step process investigating and reporting workplace incidents.

First, after an accident, the employer's investigation must immediately identify anything unsafe that contributed to the incident. They must put in place anything needed to prevent similar incidents. A report is sent to WorkSafeBC within 48 hours.

Following this, employers must conduct a full investigation to determine the cause of the incident and if they need corrective action. They must submit a full report of the investigation to WorkSafeBC within 30 days (unless WorkSafeBC grants an extension).

2. Stop-Work Orders: Not just at One Worksite

How WorkSafeBC can issue a stop-work order has changed.

Previously, WorkSafeBC needed grounds to believe that an "immediate danger" was likely to result in serious injury, illness or death.They have now reduced that threshold to "high risk." The threshold can be reduced even further for some repeat offenders. In such cases, if WorkSafeBC has a reasonable belief of any risk of serious injury, illness, or death, they will issue a stop-work order.

The board can also extend a stop-work orders to multiple worksites. If WorkSafeBC issues a stop-work order, they also have the power to also issue a "stop operations" order.

3. Compliance Agreements: An Agreement to Remedy the Employer's Non-Compliance

A "compliance agreement" is now available to WorkSafeBC.

The Board can enter into a written agreement with an employer looking at the action the employer will take to remedy any contravention or failure to act.

WorkSafeBC can rescind the agreement if the employer does not take the required action, or if it considers that the agreement no longer adequately protects the health or safety of workers.

4. Administrative Penalties: A new Framework for Lower Penalties

Amendments to The Act allow WorkSafeBC to issue administrative penalties of not more than $1,000 if the employer has failed to act. The framework for assessing penalties over $1,000 has not changed.

5. Expanded Scope for Recipients of Court Orders:

Changes to the Act have expanded the scope of what the Court can order when granting injunctions. This authority has expanded in two key ways.

The Court is now able to stop a person from carrying on an industry, or an activity in an industry. This prohibition can extend for a limited or indefinite period of time.

Secondly, they have broadened the class of individuals affected by this new power.

The implementation of some aspects of the recent amendments may change as WorkSafeBC reviews the current policies and guidelines.

WorkSafeBC publish current versions on their website at www.worksafebc.com.

Back to Updates Page

Also in this Edition (Winter 2015):


Bill 6 for farms and ranches ALBERTA - New Bill 6 makes WCB Coverage Mandatory for Alberta farms.
Bill 6 makes Worker Compensation Board coverage mandatory for the agricultural sector

Changes to WC act in BC BRITISH COLUMBIA - Changes to the Workers Compensation Act Give WorkSafeBC Enhanced Powers.
Changes to the Act strengthen WorkSafeBC's ability to enforce compliance.
Union Safety Effect ONTARIO - Study examines Union safety effect in Construction Sector.
Unionized firms submit more work-related and less lost-time injury claims
Asbestos Removal NEW BRUNSWICK - New Toolkit to prevent violence against Nursing Home workers.
A Prevention toolkit for workers who encounter violent behaviour in their job.

Rates 2016


Alberta Policy ONTARIO - WSIB say 2016 premium rates will not increase.
The WSIB announced that it will not increase premium rates in 2016.
Manitoba Policy MANITOBA - Changes to the Manitoba Rate Model in 2016.
The WCB will be introducing changes to its rate setting model in 2016.
New Bruswick Policy SASKATCHEWAN - Saskatchewan 2016 Premium rates drop.
Employers will see a WCB premium rate drop in 2016 due to improved safety performance.
YUKON - Workers' Compensation Board to pay surplus to Yukon employers
The Board plans to pay out $10 million in cash rebates to employers, in an effort to shrink a hefty $52 million reserve fund.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - P.E.I. Workers Compensation Act change allows creation of safety associations
A bill to amend the act will allow for safety associations.
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - WSCC Releases New Code of Practice on Return to Work
The code outlines the key components and steps to develop a return to work program.
MANITOBA - Manitoba Trucking Association, SAFE Work launch safety initiative
In this program, the acronym RPM (generally known as "revolutions per minute"), stands for "Risk. Professionally Managed."
BRITISH COLUMBIA - BC Notable Policy Updates
LMAPR and OHS Citations policy and others.