October 24, 2015
For immediate release
Workers Compensation Board eliminates wait period for injured workers
Workers Compensation Board
"Eliminating the wait period will provide wage loss benefits to all workers from the day following an accident," said Stuart Affleck, Chair of the Workers Compensation Board. "This measure will have a direct impact on our most vulnerable injured workers who might not have access to sick leave benefits during this timeframe."
In 2002, the Workers Compensation Act was amended to introduce a three-day wait period following an injury, before benefits commenced. This amount was reimbursed if the worker remained off work for more than four consecutive weeks. The three day wait period was one of the measures taken to help bring the Board into a fully funded position. Under the Workers Compensation Act, the Board is required to be fully funded in order to provide for past, present and future claims for injured workers.
In 2014 the Board was able to reduce the wait period to two days and they continued to monitor and evaluate the reduction for a two-year period, with plans to reduce further if results were positive.
"The WCB is now in a healthy financial position, making it an ideal time to offer these additional benefits to workers," said Luanne Gallant, CEO for the Workers Compensation Board.
The workers compensation system takes a balanced approach to the interests of workers and employers. Over the past 10 years, WCB has provided Island employers with a 17% reduction in average assessment rates.
If the legislative amendment to eliminate the wait period for workers is passed in the upcoming session, the changes to the Workers Compensation Act would be effective January 1, 2016.