Workers Compensation Act Ammendments

February 3, 2021 | News


On August 14, 2020, the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23) came into effect. Under Bill 23, thirty-four legislative amendments were made to the Workers Compensation Act (Act). The amendments concerning permanent partial disability benefits and retirement age determinations came into effect on January 1, 2021.

Permanent Partial Disability

Effective January 1, 2021, Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23) amended the Act to change a worker’s entitlement to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Permanent partial impairment benefits are provided where a worker’s personal injury, mental disorder, or occupational disease results in a permanent partial impairment.

The Workers Compensation Act (Act) sets out two methods of assessing PPD benefits: the loss of function (LOF) method and the loss of earnings (LOE) method.

Before Bill 23 Under the provision of Bill 23
The LOF method was a mandatory provision applied in every case, and the LOE method was a discretionary provision only applied in exceptional cases, often referred to as the “so exceptional” test. Removal of the “so exceptional” test previously set out in the Act.

Every worker is entitled to have their PPD benefits amount assessed using both the LOF and LOE methods. The worker’s PPD benefits will be based on whichever method provides the greater amount of compensation.

 

Policy changes to the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II (RS&CM) have been made to ensure consistency with the Bill 23 legislative amendments.

The Policy, Regulation and Research Division is consulting on these newly revised policies to allow for meaningful stakeholder engagement and to identify whether further policy changes are necessary.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the discussion paper, options, current policy, and any additional comments that may be relevant to the issue. More information can be found here.

Stakeholder comments will be accepted until April 16, 2021 at 4:30pm by email at policy@worksafebc.com or by mail to Sheena Clarkson, Senior Manager (Policy, Regulation and Research Division WorkSafeBC P.O. Box 5350, Stn. Terminal Vancouver, B.C. V6B 5L5).

 

Retirement Age Determinations

Effective January 1, 2021, the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23) changed when and how WorkSafeBC determines at what age a worker “would retire”. The duration of a worker’s benefits for permanent disability, or in some cases, benefits for temporary disability, depends on the worker’s retirement age as determined by WorkSafeBC.

Under the Workers Compensation Act (Act), for workers who are under 63 at the time of injury, benefits for permanent and temporary disability are paid to the date the worker reaches age 65, or a later date if WorkSafeBC is satisfied the worker would retire after age 65.

Before Bill 23 Under the provision of Bill 23
WorkSafeBC determined whether a worker would retire after age 65 at the same time it determined the worker’s entitlement to permanent disability benefits. WorkSafeBC is to wait until after the worker reaches 63 years of age to determine whether the worker would retire after age 65.

WorkSafeBC may, when making the determination, consider the worker’s circumstances at the time of that determination.

This amendment only applies to workers who are under 63 years of age at the time of injury.

 

Points of consideration

  • When decision-makers may determine a workers’ retirement age
  • The types of evidence decision-makers may consider in determining a worker’s retirement age; and
  • How the Bill 23 amendments regarding retirement age determination apply to claims that pre-date the Bill 23 changes

Policy changes to the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II (RS&CM) have been made to ensure consistency with the Bill 23 legislative amendments.

WorkSafeBC is seeking consultation on these newly revised policies to allow for meaningful stakeholder engagement and to identify whether further policy changes are necessary.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the discussion paper, options, current policy, and any additional comments that may be relevant to the issue. More information can be found here.

Stakeholder comments will be accepted until April 16, 2021 at 4:30pm by email at policy@worksafebc.com or by mail to Sheena Clarkson, Senior Manager (Policy, Regulation and Research Division WorkSafeBC P.O. Box 5350, Stn. Terminal Vancouver, B.C. V6B 5L5)