WorkSafeBC, through its board of directors, is responsible for inspecting places of employment and subsequently with issuing orders and directions as needed to employers on how to prevent injuries and industrial diseases. Officers of the board are also responsible for investigating accidents and the causes of industrial diseases, for assisting and advising employers and employees to develop industrial health and safety programs, and for educating employees about industrial health and safety.
WorkSafeBC ensures that compensation is paid to a worker, or the worker’s dependants, if he or she is injured, disabled, or killed in the course of employment.
WorkSafeBC Registration and Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Most employers are required by law to register their business with WorkSafeBC and pay premiums. Registration of employers is legislated by the Workers Compensation Act, but obtaining coverage is more than just a legislated requirement. An employer who is covered by WorkSafeBC insurance is protected against lawsuits from injured workers.
Generally, registration is mandatory for anyone who:
- Employs and pay people on a regular, casual, or contract basis
- Hires someone to work in or around their home
- Comes from another province or country to work in B.C.
- Works as a commercial fisherman
- Works in the trucking industry
Workers cannot register for WorkSafeBC insurance coverage. Almost all workers are automatically protected under the Act. If a worker is injured or contracts an occupational disease while on the job during the course of employment, WorkSafeBC covers the worker’s medical and wage-loss costs.
There are some workers in B.C. who are not automatically covered by the legislation, including the following:
- Professional athletes
- Self-employed individuals who work for two or more employers in a day
- Babysitters who work less than 15 hours per week
Personal Optional Protection
Personal Optional Protection (POP) is optional workplace disability insurance for individuals who are not automatically covered under the Workers Compensation Act. This includes people who are self-employed as well as partners, proprietors, and proprietors’ spouses in a non-limited company. POP protects you against wage loss and may provide medical and rehabilitation services if you are injured while on the job or if you contract a disease as a result of your work. For example, if you are doing work outside of your regular job, such as catering or freelance work as a self-employed individual, POP would provide coverage in the case of a workplace injury.
Remember: Coverage is the employer’s responsibility, and with very few exceptions all workers in British Columbia are covered by WorkSafeBC.
What Injuries and Job-related Illnesses are Covered?
Workers normally receive compensation if they are covered under the legislation and if, in the course of employment, they:
- Are injured or die
- Have a mental breakdown or illness (this may be caused by a single traumatic incident at the workplace, or repeated incidents over time, such as bullying and harassment)
- Contract a job-related illness (e.g., mercury or lead poisoning, silicosis, asbestosis and other lung ailments, heart attack, radiation sickness, cancers of various kinds, asthma, tendinitis and heat stress)
Note that the phrase “in the course of employment” does not mean the worker has to be at work at the time of the injury. It means the worker must be doing something that is connected with his or her employment.
In deciding if an injured worker is eligible to receive compensation for injury or illness, WorkSafeBC considers the following questions:
- Did the injury or illness occur on the employer’s premises?
- Did it occur in the process of the worker doing something for the employer?
- Did it occur during an activity done in response to instructions from the employer?
- Did it occur while using equipment or materials supplied by the employer?
- Did it occur while receiving payment or other consideration from the employer?
- Was the risk something a worker is normally exposed to?
- Did it occur during a time when the worker was being paid?
- Was it caused by some activity of the employer or a co-worker?
After considering these questions, WorkSafeBC may decide to allow a claim that is not directly related to “work” but is related to “employment.”
In most provinces, all workers, whether permanent or casual, are covered by legislation specific to each province. (Casual workers are those not on the regular payroll or in steady employment with a particular industry.) If you plan to work outside of B.C., check the relevant provincial legislation to determine exactly which occupations are covered.
- http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/freeside/--%20w%20--/workers%20compensation%20act%20rsbc%201996%20c.%20492/00_act/96492_00.htm ↵
- http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/emp_10_10_10.asp ↵
- http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/emp_05.asp ↵
- http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/emp_10_10_30.asp ↵
- http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/fishing_industry/default.asp ↵
- http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/emp_10_10_50.asp ↵