WorkSafeBC Law and Policy Consultation

Mental Health Awareness Month 2023 - WorkSafeBC Law Policy Consultation

Far too many nurses regularly suffer musculoskeletal injury (MSI) while at work, only to be faced with an outdated claims process that discriminates against women when filing for compensation from WorkSafeBC; seven out of every ten men filing MSI claims are accepted whereas only five out of every ten women are accepted for the same type of claim. (New Directions: Report of the WCB Review 2019).

BCNU is currently engaged in WorkSafeBC’s law and policy consultation process to help drive system-wide change. We’re working with WorkSafeBC and other parties to revamp the existing claims policy related to activity-related soft tissue disorder (ASTD), a type of MSI. The union is proposing WorkSafeBC:

  • End the use of the term “ASTD” in the current claims process and adopt the term “MSI” (musculoskeletal injury) contained in the OHS regulation to promote claimant understanding.
  • Update the claim policy’s risk factors and base them on the current MSI science.
  • Ensure that injury assessments are conducted by independent professionals instead of non-expert board officers who also make claim decisions.
  • Require qualified assessments of a worker’s job to determine the presence of risk factors and whether the work is of causative significance.

These proposed policy changes will make a real difference in nurses’ working lives. Statistics show that many work-related MSI injuries are not accepted due existing policies. Reasonably assessing and accepting workers’ MSI claims will not only be fairer to injured nurses it will drive improvements to prevent these injuries.

Take Action

Have you suffered a MSI in a limb or a joint and been told that there is insufficient evidence to show it was caused by work? Have you experienced difficulties with the claim process? How did this impact you? Sharing your experience has the potential to effect real change. Workers’ stories can help identify events, actions, behaviours that contributed to a MSI injury.

Support Our Recommendations and Share Your Story

Send a message that supports BCNU’s call to fix the outdated and discriminatory activity-related soft tissue disorder (ASTD) claims process and share your MSI claim experience. 

Your input could result in improvements to the claims adjudication process and help build robust provincial regulations to prevent MSIs and compensate workers when they occur.


Consultation closes at 4:30pm on Friday, May 17.

About the ASTD Claims Process

Under WorkSafeBC’s claims policy, MSIs are termed “activity-related soft tissue disorders” (ASTDs). BC is the only province to use this terminology. This fact alone has led to many injury claims being denied. It is one of many concerning trends related to ineffective WorkSafeBC enforcement and poor practice when adjudicating ASTD injury claims. This includes WorkSafeBC’s use of non-expert board officers to assess risk factors and evaluate MSI claims and a troubling trend of gender-bias among claims. Statistics show that about 70 percent of men’s MSI claims are accepted compared to only 50 percent for women. 

These practices are behind the significantly lower acceptance rate of ASTD claims compared to other types of claims.  More action is needed now. BC’s health-care system requires robust provincial regulations to prevent MSI injuries and ensure workers are fairly compensated.


UPDATED: April 19, 2024

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