The Worker's Compensation Board is due for a major overhaul according to an independent review.
This was decided after critics pointed out that the last comprehensive review was done over 15 years ago.
"The WCB has lost its way, focusing more on keeping premiums down for employers than actually providing help and support to injured workers," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "With the current model, workers worry that if they're injured on the job, they'll be hung out to dry."
The WCB review was launched in March of 2016 as part of the Government of Alberta’s formal review of agencies, boards and commissions. It also included the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation and the Medical Panel Office.
“We committed to reviewing the Workers’ Compensation Board to ensure it provides fair compensation and meaningful rehabilitation in a way that is sustainable and affordable," remarked minister of Labour, Christina Gray. "Our government will be reviewing the recommendations over the coming months before making any legislative changes.”
Well-respected human resources and labour relations consultant, Mia Norrie, chaired the panel, alongside members John Carpenter, a partner with Chivers Carpenter law firm and labour relations consultant Pemme Cunliffe.
During the course of the review, the panel received approximately 1,700 questionnaire responses and more than 500 written submissions. They made a total 60 recommendations to the government.
“We are confident that these recommended changes will protect the future stability of the WCB while ensuring that the needs of injured workers are addressed in a fair and transparent manner," said Norrie.
The WCB system covers nearly 1.9 million Albertans working at over 160,000 employers across the province.