Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Marc St. Thomas (OH&S Committee)


“The WCB was born out of a compromise between B.C.’s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers or fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. The WCB is committed to a safe and healthy workplace and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits to workers injured as a result of their employment.”

This next article is from the Public Compensation Coalition, it tells a little more of the story of how the present provincial government and industry has ruthlessly reduced the WCB benefits to injured workers. These policy changes have eroded the very intent of the original 1917 workers compensation compromise. Many of these large companies are foreign owed and have made huge profits from our natural resources. Industry seems to be dictating policy to the Liberal puppets. We all lead busy lives and the government banks on apathy and unawareness when making changes like these. The Liberal government and Industry have created a real false sense of security for the people of BC. We don’t want our labour standards reduced to third world levels. If you are willing to accept these changes then you don’t have to do anything. If you want to help regain the benefits that this government has taken away, you can make a difference with by going to the Public Compensation Coalition website and read more about the changes made to WCB and become a member of the Public Compensation Coalition. I ask you to do this is not only for ourselves, but also for the new workforce, our sons and daughters.

Marc St.Thomas

Fact Sheet
Since 2001, British Columbia’s public workers’ compensation system has faced legislative, regulatory, policy and organizational changes. These changes mean many workers are not adequately protected in their workplaces. These changes also mean that workers are not being fairly supported and compensated in the event that they are injured or made ill in their workplaces. Below are some facts about the changes, what they mean, and what might be in store for our workers’ compensation system.

· The WCB closed its world class Rehabilitation Clinic, moving rehabilitation services to other

public and for-profit operations
· First aid services have been contracted out to for-profit companies
· One-third of BC’s workplace health and safety regulations were eliminated
· Penalities imposed on employers have decreased despite an increased number of

recommended penalities
· Life time pensions were eliminated and replaced with a one-time post retirement payout

· Only 39 Loss of Earnings pensions were awarded in 2006, compared to 927 awarded in 2002
· Formerly, disabled workers received a pension for life; now they receive a one-time lump sum
payout of 5 per cent of the total benefits they received
· The injury rate for young workers is more than double that of the overall population
· Changes to the appeals process has made it much less accessible to injured workers

· Liberty Mutual, the second largest provider of private workplace insurance in the US, recently
conducted research on opportunities in Canada
· Recent developments could open the door to an employer-pay system where injured or ill
employees don’t file claims and employers have the right to pay benefits directly
· The current WCB board management says it doesn’t support privatization — for now. We must
always be ready to defend our public system in the case of a change to the board, or further
legislative and regulatory erosion

· The WCB is currently developing an automated claims adjudication program called the Claims
Management System (CMS), which is budgeted to cost $65 million
· The CMS has the potential to narrow entitlements for injured workers, and eliminate the human
discretion to consider individual circumstances
· Those involved in the development of the CMS program have said that it could facilitate the move
to an employer pay system

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