In response to years of advocacy by workers and their unions, the provincial government has initiated an independent and comprehensive review of BC's workers' compensation system.
This is a tremendously important opportunity for BCGEU members to tell their stories about the injustices within the current system, and to influence legislative and policy changes that will restore fairness to the workers' compensation system. Do you have a story to tell?
Problems with the system started in 2002-03 when the BC Liberal government made sweeping changes to the laws and policies related to the workers' compensation system. Compensation for workers was reduced, appeals made more difficult, and WCB staff were required to adhere strictly to policy, rather than having the discretion to make decisions on the merits of each claim. As a result of these legislative and policy decisions, the workers' compensation system has become skewed in favour of saving money for employers at the expense of workers. Today many BC workers feel the system is failing to fully and fairly compensate injured workers.
There are three ways for you to participate:
1. Answer the online questionnaire
The review website has a short questionnaire for injured workers or anyone else to share their comments and concerns about workers' compensation in BC. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey, and contribute your perspective. Some questions you may want to keep in mind when you are completing this survey are:
- Is the system difficult to access, understand and navigate for workers?
- Are work injuries being assessed appropriately and fairly compensated?
- Are injured workers able to return to work or train for a different job in a fair, healthy and dignified way?
- What changes are needed to make the system better for workers?
2. Make an in-person or a written submission
If you or another BCGEU member that you know has a story to tell about their experiences with a WCB claim, or even a workplace injury that was never reported, you can share it with the review at a public hearing or in a written submission. The BCGEU will provide assistance and support for members to participate in this public review process, either in person at a public hearing, or in written form.
So, if you or someone you know wants to make a submission, or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your local area office.
3. Attend a public hearing
I also encourage you to attend a public hearing in your community to show support for injured workers that have struggled with a system that has been stacked against them, and to make sure the government knows that making the workers' compensation system fair again is an important and pressing issue for working people in BC.
The review will be led by prominent labour lawyer Janet Patterson, and involve 14 public hearings in communities across BC between June 14th and July 19th, and written submissions can be made until July 19th. The review's website, including the terms of reference and the schedule for public hearings can be found here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/workerscompensationreview/.
Thanks in advance for your assistance with this important review.
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