Insights

Mitigating Claims Costs: Underused WCB Policies

Posted in: Claims Costs | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on October 20, 2021

As an Alberta employer, did you know that under certain circumstances you can control Workers’ Compensation (WCB) costs by paying your injured worker directly for wage loss and other expenses? According to WCB Policy 04-02, Part II, when an injured worker is directed by the WCB or the Appeals Commission (AC) to attend medical appointments, rehabilitation treatments, and/or WCB sponsored Return To Work (RTW) programs, the WCB may pay the worker allowances to cover any wage loss, travel expenses or subsistence costs. It is important to understand that any payments made by the WCB, become part of the total costs associated with a claim.  However, under the above circumstances, if the employer pays the worker for lost wages to attend WCB-directed appointments and directly reimburses their other expenses as identified in the above policy, the costs should not become part of the claim.  Why is this important? WCB claim costs […]

Orange Shirt Day: September 30th

Posted in: Holidays,News & Announcements | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on September 27, 2021

This year, September 30, 2021, marks an inaugural statutory holiday in Canada in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or Orange Shirt Day. It was originally created as a day of observance in 2013 and is designed to educate and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system, and the devastating impact it had on indigenous communities for over a century. In brief, shortly after Confederation, in a misguided attempt to secure Canada as a nation and forge a single Canadian identity, the government of Canada felt it should absorb the First Nations into the general population and essentially extinguish their culture. One of the methods used was to open residential schools, in conjunction with a number of Christian churches, that would separate indigenous children from their parents and culture. The children would effectively be immersed in the ‘new’ Canada, leaving behind their native roots. As a […]

Asbestos: The Number One Cause of Occupational Fatalities in Canada

Posted in: Claims Costs | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on August 27, 2021

According to the most recent incidence statistics, asbestos exposure continues to be the number one cause of occupational deaths in Canada. Since 1996, the asbestos-related disease has accounted for a third of all workplace fatalities across the country.  Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral with many diverse and desirable applications including fire-retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, fireplace cement, heat/, fire and acid-resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, automobile parts, and drywall joint compound. It is made up of microscopic fibers that can be released into the atmosphere and if those fibers are inhaled it can lead to various serious and incurable lung conditions. As a result, it is now a major health and safety hazard.  The health dangers of asbestos exposure were first documented in 1899 and concerns were continually raised into the early 1900’s. However, despite the known issues and concerns, asbestos was […]

Cost Relief on COVID-19 Claims

Posted in: Claims Costs | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on June 25, 2021

In September 2020, the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) announced a plan to address the potential financial impact COVID-19 claims costs posed on Alberta employers. The WCB identified 5 different applications of cost relief for claims where COVID-19 played a factor and that costs would automatically be removed from an employer’s experience records, namely: Cost relief for COVID-19 claims.Cost relief for claims where modified work was no longer available for no-time-loss claims due to the provincial shutdown.Cost relief for claims where the worker became fit for work during the shutdown and the employer could not offer modified work because of the shutdown (modified work must have been offered within two weeks of the provincial re-opening).Cost relief for delays in hospital admission and surgeries due to the pandemic.Recording claims as no-time-loss when modified work is no longer available. Although there are no actual costs to relieve, the status of the claim […]

COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace – Who’s Gonna Pay?

Posted in: Claims Costs,WCB Law | Posted by Rebecca Ingram on May 25, 2021

As Alberta grapples with the impact of the 3rd wave of COVID-19 infections, there have been a rash of outbreaks in workplaces involving a large number of COVID-19 infections. Transmission, quite clearly, is happening worker to worker and exposure is occurring while they are at work but is this a work-related injury or illness? And if so, how will this affect employers who are already struggling economically to survive the pandemic? If the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is going to accept claims that arise from COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, who will bear the brunt of the costs? The WCB acknowledges that COVID-19 is not in itself caused by employment; however, if the work situation/circumstances put a worker at a greater risk of contracting the disease, then the claim would be acceptable. While this may seem reasonable, when put into practise the results are mind boggling.  Based on an […]

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