Updated: February 9, 2021
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits and Retirement Age Determination consultations are now open for stakeholder feedback. The options provided are whether further policy changes are required or if the status quo is preferable. RCC’s view is that the most significant impact of the potential changes is an increase in system cost, thus assessment rates. (Note that RCC’s experience in such cases is that a strong argument needs to be made for remaining with the status quo.) Consultation on both issues will close on April 16, 2021.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
When calculating a worker’s permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, loss of earnings (LOE) is no longer subject to the “so exceptional” test previously set out in the Workers Compensation Act, but will be considered alongside loss of function (LOF) in every assessment of a worker’s Permanent Partial Disability Benefits, as per the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23). The change will result in the worker’s benefits being based on whichever method provides the greater amount of compensation. WorkSafeBC estimates the impact on assessment rates to be $0.004 per $100 assessable payroll.
Retirement Age Determinations
On the issue of retirement age determination, which was previously determined at the same time as a worker’s entitlement to permanent disability benefits, the passage of Bill 23 also allows WorkSafeBC to now wait until after a worker reaches 63 years of age to determine whether the worker would retire after age 65. This amendment only applies to workers who are under 63 years of age at the time of injury. The changes proposed would alter guidance on: (a) when decision-makers may determine a worker’s retirement age; (b) what types of evidence decision-makers may consider; and, (c) how these amendments impact claims that predate the legislative changes. WorkSafeBC was unable to estimate the assessment rate impact of this change. (RCC’s view is that the impact could be significant.)
For any questions, please contact Greg Wilson, Director of Government Relations at [email protected].