Under B.C.’s mandatory no fault system, workers relinquish their right to sue their employer and in turn employers agree to fund the no fault insurance system.
According to Megan Johnson from WorkSafe B.C., the no fault system is in place so that approved employees can receive fast access to compensation, rather than having to sue an employer through the court system.
She said the no fault system falls under the Workers Compensation Act.
“This is not something that has just been developed for Babine Forest Products, it is something that is applicable to everyone,” she said.
WorkSafe B.C.’s payout system is compensation based and Johnson said injured workers can claim for wages lost while they are recovering for their injuries.
“If the injury is permanent and a person is no longer able to return to work then they may be eligible for a pension,” she said, adding that each application is individually assessed.
“They may also be eligible for payments relating to retraining for another type of job,” she said.
Johnson said payments would continue for the duration of the injury and would cover all medical costs associated with recovery.
“Medical costs for any work-related injury are covered for the duration treatment is required, even if an injured worker resumes some or all of their work duties,” she said.
In the case of an accepted work related fatality claim, WorkSafe B.C. pays benefits directly to dependants and pays toward funeral costs. “Those benefits can include a pension for a surviving spouse/dependants and additional assistance can include support from WorkSafe B.C.’s Family and Critical Response Unit, counseling, and educational upgrading and job training,” Johnson added.
While she said she could not provide specifics, Johnson said there have been claims for compensation made by Babine Forest Products employees that have been accepted by WorkSafe B.C.
“We can only compensate for accepted claims … only if there is an injury,” she added.
According to Johnson, when a worker is initially injured they receive a wage loss compensation based upon their earnings at the time of the injury.
“After 10 weeks, a new long term rate is set, which is based on the average of the employees earnings the year prior to their injury. It could be higher, lower or the same, so the rate is individualized and is going to be different for everyone.”
“Those on a long term rate would have received a letters with the name and phone number of a wage rate official, so if they have any questions they should call. Also they have the right to appeal that rate if they feel it is not correct,” Johnson said.
She advised any claimants that have a form they don’t understand to WorkSafe B.C. for help or alternately contact the Ministry of Labour, Workers Advisors Office. “They can help people with their claims and they are independent of WorkSafe B.C.,” she added.