A Brief History
In 1913, Ontario Chief Justice Sir William Meredith completed a three-year Royal Commission researching workers' compensation laws around the world. He introduced the historic compromise that is 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.
Meredith's five key pillars would serve as the basis for workers' compensation legislation across Canada:
- no-fault compensation
- security of benefits
- collective liability
- exclusive jurisdiction
- administration by independent boards
In 1916, John W. Wilton, MLA and well-known Winnipeg lawyer, introduced The Workmen's Compensation Act and is credited with single-handedly shepherding it through the Manitoba Legislature.
On March 10, 1916, the 15th Manitoba Legislature passed The Workmen’s Compensation Act, becoming the first province outside of Ontario to enact a version of Sir William Meredith’s workers compensation laws.
The Workmen’s Compensation Board was formed on September 1, 1916 to develop the structure and processes necessary to put The Workmen's Compensation Act into effect.
In 1974, the Manitoba Government decided to amend the language of The Workmen's Compensation Act to more accurately reflect the modern workforce – changing all mentions of workmen to workers.
See our Centennial Calendar for photos and more information about the WCB's last 100 years.
WCB Celebrates 100 Years of Serving Manitobans with Unveiling of Honourary Street Sign
DATE: Thursday, September 1, 2016
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
LOCATION: Workers Compensation Board
Outside front plaza
Will be located in Lecture Theatre I in case of inclement weather.
SPEAKING: Michael Werier, Chair of the WCB
Portrayal of John W. Wilton, MLA who shepherded The Workmen's Compensation Act through the legislature in 1916.
Cliff Cullen, Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Noreen Duncan, daughter of Norman Elliott, pioneer of Return to Work at the WCB
Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada
100 Years of the Meredith Principles (2013)
Follow us on Twitter @WCBManitoba for more 100th anniversary trivia.