2018 Updates

The Government of Alberta has concluded its review of the workers' compensation system and has now passed legislation for enhancements to the system. Some of these changes came into effect in January and April, while other changes will become effective throughout 2018.

As we work to implement new legislation, we are committed to keeping you informed and consulting with our stakeholders on areas where we need further input.

Stay informed and provide your input: sign up for our email newsletter and policy updates.

For an overview of upcoming changes, effective dates and plans for stakeholder consultation, please refer to our review roadmap.

  • Legislative changes have also been made to the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) regarding the Medical Panels Office and Appeals Commission.
    Some of these changes came into force on proclamation of Bill 30, while others come into force throughout 2018.
  • The establishment of a Fair Practices Office has also been included in the WCA and will be effective December 2018.
  • For specific details about these changes and corresponding timelines, please refer to Bill 30.

Navigate though the tabs to learn more about the 2018 legislation and policy changes.

Updates include enhancements to benefits, the claims process and the workers’ compensation system. A number of these changes required updates to existing policies which you can review in our Policy and Information Manual.

Effective September 1, 2018

Creation of a Code of Rights and Conduct that articulates the rights of workers and employers in their interactions with us and how we commit to operate in recognition of these rights.

Effective September 1, 2018

Every successful return to work starts with a great plan. Establishing employers’ obligation to reinstate injured workers makes it even more important for all Alberta employers and their workers to work together to have a solid return-to-work plan in place when injuries happen.

Effective September 1, 2018

Interim relief is financial support given to workers during the review or appeal process. It is provided in exceptional circumstances and is intended to ensure the worker is financially able to meet basic living expenses while waiting for a decision to be made.

Effective April 1, 2018

Expanded presumptive psychological injury coverage ensures workers who experience a traumatic event or events at work and are diagnosed with a corresponding psychological injury.

  • Learn more about the expanded presumptive psychological injury coverage for workers and employers in our worker and employer fact sheets.

Expanded presumption of myocardial infarction (heart attack) includes coverage for paramedics in addition to firefighters. If you are employed as a paramedic and sustain a heart attack, it will be presumed to have risen out of and occurred during the course of your employment.

Presumptive coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder e coverage for correctional officers and emergency dispatchers in addition to first responders.

  • Learn more about our presumptive coverage of post-traumatic stress disorder for workers in our worker fact sheet.

Effective September 1, 2018

  • Extend the window for appeal to the Appeals Commission to two years after a decision from the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body.
  • Continue coverage for injured workers under their employers’ existing health benefits program.
    • Learn more about employment health benefits for workers and employers in our worker and employer fact sheets.
  • Confirmation WCB will not estimate earnings capacity until all reasonable efforts have been made to help injured workers in their job search.

Effective January 1, 2018

  • Policy has been updated to make it clearer that workers have the right to choose their own health care provider. (Providers will continue to be required to meet an established criteria.)
  • Safety associations funded through WCB-collected levies will receive their grant installments from WCB only after satisfying oversight requirements established and delivered by Occupational Health & Safety.
  • Legislation now includes a regular review schedule for the workers’ compensation system. Our next review will be in three years, and then reviews will happen every five years after that.

Effective September 1, 2018

  • Remove maximum insurable earnings cap. Workers with a date of accident on or after Sept 1, 2018 will be compensated at 90% of their net earnings, with no limit on earnings.
  • Enhance benefits for all surviving spouses and dependent children of workers who pass away as a result of a workplace accident or illness.
  • Provide the ability to adjust the benefits of severely injured young workers so they can be compensated more closely to their earning potential had they not been injured.

Effective January 1, 2018

  • A new lump-sum fatality benefit (up to $90,772.20) is provided to the spouse or dependent(s) of a worker who dies as a result of a workplace injury or illness.
    • Learn more about the new lump-sum fatality benefit in our worker fact sheet.
  • Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation is now based on 100% of the change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index (i.e., the previous 0.5% reduction has been removed).
    • Learn more about the COLA calculation in our worker and employer fact sheets.
  • Enhanced retirement benefits will help workers who were unable to contribute to a pension plan because of their reduced earnings after their injury:
    • A new lump-sum benefit is provided to workers who received an economic loss payment (either temporary or long-term) for two or more consecutive years before regaining their earnings capacity.
    • Normal retirement age has been extended to 65 or five years following the date of accident, whichever is later.
    • Calculation change for retirement adjustment benefits.
    • Learn more about our enhanced retirement benefits for workers in our worker fact sheet.

  • Ensure the approach to treatment coverage reflects and responds to the unique and individualized needs of each worker.
  • Ensure the use of predominant cause for claim acceptability does not create an unreasonable threshold of eligibility.

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