BURNABY, July 19, 2019 – Today the BC Government & Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) provided its written submission to the B.C. workers' compensation system review. The provincial government initiated the review in response to years of advocacy by workers and their unions to make the system more worker-centered.
"The workers' compensation system was created as a compromise between the interests of workers and employers," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "Thanks to the changes enacted by the previous BC Liberal government, our current system favours employers and fails workers. I'm glad to see our government taking concrete steps to make the compensation system work for injured workers."
A series of changes enacted starting in 2002 shifted the system's focus from the needs of injured workers to the financial impact on employers resulting in an overall reduction in compensation benefits for injured workers, a limited ability for injured workers to appeal decisions, and a reduced focus on the merits and justice of an individual worker's case.
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith was the first presenter to appear at the review's public hearings where she emphasized the need to restore a balance between workers' and employers' interests and rebuild workers' confidence in the system. At subsequent public hearings held in 14 communities across the province, dozens of current and former BCGEU members who have been injured on the job also courageously stepped up to tell their stories.
"Workplace injuries can be devastating for workers," says Smith. "Unfortunately, our current workers' compensation system just compounds their challenges. But that doesn't have to be the case and I am very hopeful that this review will be a critical first step in getting our compensation system back on solid footing with a renewed focus on the needs of injured workers."
The stated goal of the independent review, with its report due to government this fall, is to make the system more worker-centred. To that end, the BCGEU looks forward to reviewing the report's findings and recommendations with the expectation that significant changes are proposed to repair the social contract that is our workers' compensation system.
The BCGEU is one of the largest unions in B.C. with over 79,000 members in almost every community and economic sector in the province.
For more information contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications, [email protected]
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