BCNU is applauding recently proposed changes to the Workers Compensation Act, that will better support nurses requiring access to supports necessary in the unfortunate event they sustain injury while on the job.
The government says Bill 23 will 'modernize the Workers Compensation Act' and 'create more confidence in the system.' Notable amendments include the following compensation benefits to nurses and other workers in BC:
Increasing the maximum insurable earnings to $100,000 from $87,100.
Expediting health care for a worker, before a claim is accepted, when treatment will likely prevent a significant deterioration in health.
The Board will now determine the age the worker would retire for the end of permanent disability awards at the time the worker turns 63, rather than base it on what the worker would have done at the date of injury, which is how it is done now.
The Board may now reconsider a decision or order if there is an obvious error or omission, even if after 75 days has passed.
BCNU is awaiting a decision by WSBC's board of directors, expected later this month, whether to include COVID-19 in the list of viral pathogens deemed to be the cause of occupational diseases contracted in the workplace. If the Board votes to include COVID-19, Bill 23 will also fast-track the effective date of presumptions for occupational diseases caused by COVID-19. The presumption would also simplify the process for nurses who make a WSBC claim and ensure those who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 at work are able to access benefits faster.
BCNU launched its Support BC's Nurses campaign in early June offering nurses and the public the opportunity to send a message to their MLA asking they ensure all nurses who are exposed or test positive to COVID-19 are compensated. The campaign has seen over 1,000 letters signed and sent to local representatives. BCNU has also been actively involved on the ground, advocating for those who have been working on the front lines during COVID-19, and writing directly to the WSBC board of directors to explain the importance of their decision.
More information about the proposed changes can be found here.
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