LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
|Workers’ Comp Filing Deadline
February 28, 2019
Dec. 10: WorkplaceNL launched a new high school course to help young workers understand the purposes of the OHS laws and their rights and duties under them. The Young Worker OHS Course will be incorporated into the high school career development curriculum as an optional course.
Dec. 5: The Assembly passed a Highway Traffic Act bill requiring drivers to leave at least one metre of open space between their vehicles and bicycles and pedestrians on highways with posted speed limits of km per hour or less and 1.5 metres on highways with higher speed limits or face penalties of $100 to $400 or 2 to 14 days in jail, not to mention 2 demerit points on their licence.
Dec. 5: Newly passed Bill 32 gives employees a new leave to deal with family violence. Highlights:
- 3 days paid and 7 days unpaid per year
- Employee must have 30 days of continuous employment with same employer
- Employer right to request reasonable verification of need for leave
- Employees must provide written notice as soon as possible unless there’s valid reason why they can’t
- If employee is fired while on leave, employer has burden of proving it was unrelated to leave
- Employer must keep leave request and records confidential.
Dec. 5: Royal Assent for Bill 35 which would establish the presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder is work-related for purposes of workers’ comp. Unlike some provinces, the PTSD presumption would apply to all workers, not just firefighters and emergency responders, provided that the condition is properly diagnosed by a psychiatrist or registered psychologist. If the bill passes, it would take effect on July 1, 2019.
Workers’ Comp EEL Benefits
Jan. 1: Legislation (Bill 36) creating a new one-time, lump sum payment of 5% of Extended Earnings Loss (EEL) retirement benefit (10% for injured workers who were previously in an employer-sponsored pension plan) takes effect. Workers would receive the new benefit upon reaching age 65. And because the injury fund is fully funded (at 131.6%), WorkplaceNL won’t have to raise workers’ comp premiums to finance the new benefit.
Workers’ Comp Rates
Jan. 1: It’s official. Awash in money generated by the 131.6% Injury Fund surplus, WorkplaceNL applied a $0.21 rate discount bringing 2019 average assessments to a 35-year low of $1.69 per $100 assessable payroll. Nearly 95% of employers are getting a rate cut. Meanwhile, Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings is increasing 1.9% from $64,375 to $65,600.
Dec.: EPA environmental assessment actions during the month:
- Registration of Labrador City Microbrewery and Taproom (Reg. 1993)
- Registration of Mount Pearl Cannabis Production Facility (Reg.1994)
- Registration of Mount Pearl Stericycle Biomedical Waste Transfer and Treatment Facility (Reg. 1992)
- Release of Port Blandford Marina Development (Reg.1987)
- Release of Point au Gaul Breakwater Upgrades (Reg.1989)
- Release of Corner Brook Cannabis Production Facility (Reg.1988)
- Release of Bauline Line Quarry (Torbay) (Reg. 1976)
- Withdrawal of Logy Bay Road NORM Temporary Storage Facility (Reg. 1802)
- Environmental Preview Report for Glenburnie Drydock (Reg.1962)
- Environmental Preview Report for Crémaillère Harbour Marine Port Development (Reg. 1933)
- Draft EIS Guidelines for Hope Brook Access Road (Reg. 1968) (Reg. 1968)
- Appeal Decision for Indian Head Hatchery Expansion Project (Reg. 1975)
- Appeal Decision for Placentia Bay Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture Project (Reg. 1834).