News Release - June 9, 2008
WINNIPEG - The Board of Directors of the Workers Compensation Board recently sought comments from the public regarding the addition of industries to the workers compensation system. The consultation period is now complete and a report summarizing submissions received from stakeholders has been forwarded for consideration to the Minister of Labour and Immigration, Nancy Allan, who is responsible for The Workers Compensation Act .
The consultation followed a comprehensive public review of The Workers Compensation Act in 2005 which recommended that coverage of workplaces be extended after the WCB consulted with affected industries.
“The Board of Directors at the WCB supports a broadened base of workers compensation coverage,” said WCB Chairperson Tom Farrell. “Manitoba employers should operate on a level playing field. Broadening the base of coverage would help to eliminate the cost advantage that some employers enjoy, where some must pay WCB premiums while others can elect not to pay. More employers in the system would also ensure a more equitable sharing of the costs of preventing, treating and compensating workplace injuries.”
The level of workers compensation coverage in Manitoba is the lowest in Canada and the list of industries covered by The Workers Compensation Act has remained basically unchanged for decades. Once the base of compulsory industries is finalized the WCB will make plans to encourage voluntary coverage for non-compulsory industries.
Increasingly workplace safety and health experts are recognizing that all workplaces contain hazards. “The WCB Board of Directors recognizes that hazards exist in all industries, that all workers are exposed to the risk of workplace injuries and that the workers compensation program plays a vital role in protecting them from the unforeseen impact of workplace injuries,” stated Farrell.
The Manitoba WCB is a mutual injury and disability insurance agency governed by a Board of Directors representative of employers, workers and the public interest and funded by employer premiums. The WCB insures approximately 70 per cent of the workers in Manitoba, employed by over 26,000 registered employers.
Under the program, covered employers receive both liability protection and disability insurance for their workers. Employers and directors of firms with WCB coverage cannot be sued by a worker for pain and suffering or lost income in relation to a workplace injury, and workers receive wage replacement and other benefits as a result of a compensable injury. Coverage cannot be denied or suspended for any employer in a compulsory industry.
The consultation resulted in 171 submissions being received from people working in 19 of the 64 affected industries.
The Extending Workers Compensation Coverage report is available to stakeholders on the Workers Compensation Board website located at www.wcb.mb.ca.
Director of Communications
Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba