LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Workers’ Compensation—Bill 30
Sept. 1: The second round of Bill 30 workers’ comp changes take effect, including:
- Mandatory return to work
- New Code of Rights & Conduct for both employers and workers in dealing with WCB
- Interim relief benefits to ease the financial hardship of workers awaiting the outcome of their review or appeal
- WCB must make “all reasonable efforts” to help injured workers find jobs before estimating their earnings capacity
- Removal of cap for insurable earnings, i.e., workers to get compensation of 90% of net earnings with no limit
- Enhancement of benefits for surviving spouses
- Benefits adjustments to ease the hardship of severely injured young workers
- Extend appeal deadline to 2 years after Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body.
Dec. 1: OHS changes take effect to increase protection for waged, non-family workers on farms and ranches, including mandatory:
- Emergency evacuation plans
- Protections against falls into bins and hoppers
- PPE training
- Mechanical equipment for moving heavy and awkward loads
- Machine guarding
- Standards for scaffolding
- Workplace violence prevention plans.
Aug. 28: New standards for Public Safety Answering Points, i.e., the people who pick up when you call 911, were adopted and will take full effect in June 2019. Highlights:
- Standard terminology for all PSAPs
- Calls must be answered within 15 seconds and transferred within 60 seconds of answering at least 95% of the time
- Centres must have quality assurance plans, annual internal audit processes and backup procedures to ensure outages don’t disrupt 24/7 service continuity.
Sept. 1: New employment rules for young workers take effect:
- Youth ages 13-14 can take jobs on light work list, e.g., retail and food assembly
- Employers need permit to hire 13-14-year-olds for jobs not on light work list
- 15-year-olds can continue to do most jobs except for hazardous work
- On farms and ranches, waged, non-family youth ages 13 to 15 can do any non-hazardous work (rules don’t apply to family, friends and neighbours.
Most recent posted OHS fines in Alberta:
|$28,500||Jason Scott Wright (charges against his water piping firm dropped)||Worker installing piling structures hit by bucket of an excavator suffering serious injuries||Failure to ensure health, safety and welfare of a worker|
|$1,150||Orion Rentals Ltd.||Worker operating power mobile equipment modified by employer for spooling lay-flat irrigation piping injured when spooling mechanism accelerates causing hose and steel coupler to smash through operator windshield||Failure to ensure health, safety and welfare of a worker|
Workers’ Comp Rates
Sept. 1: Maximum assessable earnings will remain $98,700 for the full 2018 year but the WCB is revising the MAE calculation formula for 2019.
Workers’ Comp Consultations
Sept. 4: Comments ended on proposed revisions to WCB procedures for consulting employers, employees and other stakeholders before revising workers’ comp policies designed to increase engagement.
Sept. 1: New rules require employers to continue paying the health benefits of injured workers who are absent from work due to a work injury for up to one year after the accident date. Key details:
- New rules apply to claims with accident date on or after Sept. 1, 2018
- Workers paying into benefit plan before injury must continue paying into plan or they lose their coverage
- Health care benefits covered include dental, vision care, medications, hospital services, health services and paramedic services
Continued coverage extends not just to injured worker but spouses or other dependents who were covered before the accident