On November 24, 2022, Bill 41, the Workers' Compensation Amendment Act, 2022 (the "WCA Amendments"), received Royal Assent.
As we previously reported, the WCA Amendments impose new obligations on BC employers in respect of the return of injured workers to their job. These employers will have a new statutory duty to return injured workers to their pre-injury work or alternative work of equal value and pay, in addition to the duty to accommodate returning workers short of undue hardship, if they employ more than 20 workers. The WCA Amendments also create a new mutual duty for all employers and injured workers to cooperate with one another to support the worker's return to employment. For a detailed explanation of all the incoming WCA Amendments, please review our earlier blog post.
The WCA Amendments that are of particular significance to employers, including the provisions imposing a duty to return injured workers to work (the duty to maintain employment, the duty to cooperate and the duty to accommodate) will come into force by regulation, on a date to be determined by the provincial government.
Other provisions have set in force dates, namely:
- the prohibition on claim suppression by employers, the increase in maximum compensation for non-traumatic hearing loss, and the indexing of workers' compensation benefits to the Canadian Consumer Price Index came into force on November 24, 2022;
- the requirement that interest be paid on compensation benefits owing to a worker for 180 or more days and the expanded access to Independent Health Professionals for appeals at the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal will come into force on April 3, 2023; and
- the provisions that establish the Fair Practices Commissioner will come into force on May 1, 2023.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.