Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Alberta WCB review asks for input

Alberta’s WCB review panel has asked for feedback from the public. You have until July 15 to answer an online questionnaire or make a written submission. A positive aspect of the review for researchers is that submissions from organizations (but not submissions from individuals) will be made available to the public.

For those considering making a submission, there is an online guide to the WCB system. The guide provides a pretty decent picture of how the WCB works. It also has some interesting stats. For example. it indicates that there were 133,000 new claims in 2015 as well as nearly 14,000 rejected claims (so about 10%). 

Less satisfying was the lack of data presented about investigations of WCB fraud (e.g., how many investigations were undertaken, was the “success” rate of investigations, which stakeholder groups were targeted for investigation).

There is also a workbook that can be filled out (in lieu of a separate written submission). This workbook perhaps telegraphs some of the possible changes to workers’ compensation. For example, it asks specific questions about re-employment obligations, maximums to insurable earnings, the use of deeming orders to reduce compensation payments, and the utility of experience rating.

After years of superficial reviews of various labour issues under the Tories, it is heartening to see an actual, substantial review of the WCB taking place.

-- Bob Barnetson

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