Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape – Bill 47
In March 2016, the Alberta Government initiated a review of the province’s workers’ compensation system, which included feedback, comments and input from key stakeholders and other interested parties. The results of the review were compiled and introduced to the Alberta legislature as Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. Bill 30 was passed into legislation late December 2017 and the changes were implemented throughout 2018. Not surprisingly, there was some fallout based on the broader scope of the legislative changes that had some unexpected, unfair and often negative implications for employers and workers. In response, the Alberta government, again, invited input from the general public and stakeholders from July 9 to August 14, 2020 on key areas impacting Alberta’s workers’ compensation system. The Workers’ Compensation Legislative Review 2020: What We Heard summarizes the feedback gathered from eighty-one stakeholders. As a result of the information […]
Working from Home and WCB Coverage
Did you know that Workers’ Compensation coverage extends to employees that are working from home? As an employer, what are you doing to ensure your workers’ health and safety as well as protecting yourself from unwanted claims? In March 2020 many employers were caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown. Businesses scrambled to figure out how to remain operational, many making a quick shift to employees working remotely from home and other temporary arrangements. Regardless of how fast organizations were forced to adapt, employers’ obligations to provide a safe and healthy work environment under occupational health and safety and workers compensation legislation remained unchanged. The speed with which the lockdown was implemented did not afford employers the opportunity to establish essential policies, procedures and agreements to ensure appropriate health & safety standards were in place. Even though the lockdown ended, restrictions were eased and businesses reopened, the […]
WCB Alberta Premium Payments 2020 and 2021
In March 2020, the Alberta government announced new measures to provide immediate financial relief to private sector employers in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included: Premium payments for 2020 deferred until 2021Refund of any 2020 premiums paid50% of 2020 premiums waived for small and medium sized private sector employers once invoicing resumes in 2021No interest charged on unpaid 2020 premiums While this has provided much welcome assistance for employers struggling to figure out how to navigate these uncertain times, a reckoning is rapidly approaching and employers need to start preparing now for when WCB Premium invoicing resumes in 2021. Employers will still be required to report their actual assessable earnings for 2020 plus their estimated assessable earnings for 2021 by February 28, 2021. Employers that took advantage of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will have to remember to include the applicable amounts in the actual assessable earnings […]
Are Employers Absorbing the Cost of COVID-19?
We are all trying to settle into our ‘new normal’ in a post-pandemic world. Unless and until there is a vaccine, COVID-19 will continue to play a significant role in how we navigate moving forward, however, some things never change such as work-related accidents and Workers’ Compensation (WCB) premiums payments. COVID-19 has impacted WCB claims in three ways: COVID-19 Claim Entitlement: While most provinces had provisions in place to deal with emergency situations and occupational exposure to infectious diseases, the criteria under which claims were accepted under these provisions was relatively narrow. Due to the lockdown imposed in mid-March the number of industries deemed as ‘essential services’ broadened, resulting in a larger cohort of essential workers being identified. Provincial workers’ compensation boards responded by expanding coverage for these front-line workers should they contract COVID-19, as a result increasing the potential number of associated WCB claims. More information about COVID-19 claim […]
Back To Work?
It’s the dog days of summer, Labour Day is fast approaching. That means cooler weather is on its way and with it comes new challenges as we try to find our footing in a post-pandemic world. Virtually every business has been affected by the lockdown and safety precautions that COVID-19 has necessitated, whether it was lay-offs, working from home, providing essential services, operating with a skeleton staff or finding innovative ways to provide goods and services. The full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be realized but we do know that it has taken a toll on our economy, our lifestyles, our livelihood and our mental health. It’s undeniable, COVID-19 has changed us, at work, rest and play. It has changed the way we do business, the way we interact, the way we travel, the way we shop, the way we entertain ourselves and the way we receive healthcare. Some […]