Overview of the Workers Compensation System

The workers compensation system is an injury and disability insurance system for workers and employers, paid for by employers.

The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba was founded in 1916 with the passing of The Workers Compensation Act and officially opened in 1917. The program is the result of a Canadian compromise struck in the early twentieth century and maintained to this day – injured workers gave up the right to sue their employers in exchange for guaranteed no-fault benefits in the event of a work related injury or illness, and employers agreed to pay for the system, in exchange for protection against lawsuits.

The present day workers compensation is based on the following key principles:

  • collective liability of employers for workplace injuries and diseases – All participating employers share responsibility for the costs of the system. Compensation is paid by the WCB and does not depend on an employer's ability to pay WCB premiums.
  • compensation for injured workers and their dependants, regardless of fault – Benefits are paid to injured workers whether or not negligence on the part of the worker or employer contributed to the injury.
  • income replacement benefits based upon loss of earning capacity – Injured workers receive income replacement based on a calculation of wages lost as a result of the workplace injury or illness.
  • immunity of employers and workers from civil suits – Injured workers gave up their right of legal action in return for guaranteed benefits and employers agreed to pay for the system in exchange for protection against lawsuits. This historic compromise allows workers compensation matters to be handled quickly and without the costs, uncertainty and formality of court proceedings.
  • prevention of workplace injuries and diseases – Workplaces benefit from joint efforts of the WCB and government’s Workplace Safety and Health Division to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses from occurring.
  • timely and safe return to health and work – Injured workers receive optimum recovery through expeditious and effective healthcare treatment and return to work in a timely and safe manner under the leadership of the WCB in partnership with employers, workers and healthcare providers.
  • independent administration by an arm’s length agency of government – The WCB assumes responsibility for the collection of employer contributions and the provision of benefits to injured workers and their dependants.