The BC Nurses' Union is pleased that WorkSafeBC's (WSBC) board of directors has made the important decision to include COVID-19 in the list of viral pathogens deemed to be the cause of occupational disease contracted in the workplace. The move is expected to simplify the process for nurses who make a WSBC claim and ensure those who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 at work will be able to access benefits faster.
BCNU would like to thank members and the public who took part in its Support BC's Nurses campaign in early June which asked people to email their MLA to ensure all nurses who are exposed, or test positive to COVID-19 are compensated immediately. In all, an impressive 1,405 letters were signed and sent via BCNU's website to local representatives. BCNU has also been advocating for those who have been working on the frontlines during COVID-19, supporting those who have contracted the illness and writing directly to the WSBC board of directors to explain the importance of their decision.
The government says Bill 23 is expected to 'modernize the Workers Compensation Act' and 'create more confidence in the system.' The swift passage of Bill 23 means WCB can apply the Viral Pathogen presumption immediately and will not have to wait until later this fall as was originally projected.
The 34 provisions in Bill 23 include amendments to the Workers Compensation Act and substantial changes relating to compensation and other occupational and safety measures including:
Increasing the maximum wage rate to $100,000/year
Loss of earnings awards when the LOE exceeds the functional impairment rating
Determining retirement age based on facts when worker is 63 years of age
For more information on Bill 23, please click here.
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