New policies for the Workers Compensation Act – Return to Work

July 18, 2023 | News

WorkSafeBC is requesting feedback for four new policies in the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II that support the implementation of two new provisions to the Workers Compensation Act (WCA), effective January 1, 2024: the duty to cooperate and the duty to maintain employment

These changes align with the rights and compensation rules already in place within the Canadian Human Rights Act and BC Human Rights Code. These new provisions and policies do not negate an employer’s obligation to accommodate workers with disabilities under the human rights legislation.  

These four new policies, outlined below, allow WorkSafeBC the authority to reduce compensation claims to workers and impose administrative penalties on an employer.  

Introduction to Return to Work Obligations policy   

  • Provides framework and definitions for the other three policies. 
  • Defines accommodation, undue hardship, alternative work, suitable work, duty to cooperate, and duty to maintain employment.

Duty to Cooperate policy 

  • Changes the term “modified work” to “selective/light work”. 
  • Further defines employer and worker responsibilities. 
  • Outlines consequences for employers and workers. 
  • Describes that when a worker has multiple employers, the non-injury employers are not obligated to provide suitable work.

Duty to Maintain Employment policy 

  • Further outlines fitness for essential duties, alternative work, suitable work, accommodation/undue hardship, payments to workers. 
  • Includes determinations for a worker’s level of fitness to work. 
  • Imposed on employers with 20 or more workers, where the worker has been continuously employed with the employer for at least 12 months.

Penalties for Failure to Comply with the Duties to Cooperate and Maintain Employment policy 

  • If an employer remains non-compliant with their duties to cooperate and maintain employment, WorkSafeBC has the authority to issue administrative penalties to employers.  


Click here to view the proposed changes and offer feedback to WorkSafeBC – deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 1. If you would prefer to send your feedback to SafeCare BC for our collated submission, please send your feedback to no later than Friday, August 25. 

These additions may require changes to your Return to Work/Stay at Work program. If you would like to speak to one of our OHS consultants about your disability claims program, email