RCC learned today that Paul Petrie who was contracted by the Chair of WorkSafeBC to conduct an expedited policy review is receiving submissions by email. The consultation deadline is March 9. The report is due to the Board of WorkSafeBC on March 31.
Paul Petrie was retained to review WorkSafeBC’s (WSBC) Rehabilitation and Claims Services policies and any other matters the chair may request including:
- assess in relation to other Canadian jurisdictions whether the current WSBC benefit levels fully reflect the financial losses suffered by injured workers;
- consult with external stakeholders including members of the Policy and Practice Consultative Committee, representatives of the Workers’ Advisers Office and Employers’ Advisers Office, representatives of WSBC administration, and other parties that the Chair may indicate; and
- recommend possible changes to the Rehabilitation and Claims Services policies to ensure a worker-centred approach wherever practicable. [Emphasis added by RCC.]
RCC expects the report could provide recommendations in the following areas:
- negative consequences to rates as a result of the review;
- potential reporting on matters that are out-of-scope such as the statutory termination age of 65 (retirement age) and the duty to accommodate;
- impacts on chronic pain recognition and compensation; and,
- claims related to mental health.
Members interested in providing input may do so (deadline March 9) to Paul Petrie.
British Columbia’s new Government has commissioned reviews on Medical Services Plan premiums, minimum wages, taxation, employment standards and the labour code with short timelines and limited opportunities for consultation (that result from those short timelines). Organized labour has significant demands for changes to the WorkSafeBC regime and accordingly employer stakeholders expect a similar review on the Workers Compensation Act and regulations under the Act.
Paul Petrie has a lengthy record of involvement in Occupational Health and Safety regulation in British Columbia. He was the author of a Fair Compensation Review for the Manitoba Minister of Labour and Manitoba Workers’ Compensation Board in 2013.
RCC is meeting Paul Petrie on February 28. RCC will advocate that Mr. Petrie not touch upon statutory matters in his report as these are matters for the legislature, not the WorkSafeBC board. RCC will encourage Mr. Petrie to consider the impacts of his recommendations upon WSBC rates, particularly in light of recent significant increases to payroll costs instituted by the Government of British Columbia.