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.
  • Upcoming changes

      Changes effective September 1

      Below is a list of changes will be made effective on September 1, 2018 to enhance the workers’ compensation system and improve benefits and the claims process.

    • 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.
    • Establishment of employers’ obligation to return injured workers to work (and workers’ responsibility to cooperate).
    • Continue coverage for injured workers under their employers’ existing health benefits program.
    • Provision of interim relief for workers and employers while their matters are under review or appeal. This is financial support provided in exceptional circumstances where financial hardship is demonstrated.
    • Confirmation WCB will not estimate earnings capacity until all reasonable efforts have been made to help injured workers in their job search.
    • Remove the cap for maximum insurable earnings.
    • Enhance benefits for all surviving spouses.
    • Provide the ability to adjust the benefits of severely injured young workers to mitigate the hardship they might otherwise experience.
    • Extend the window for appeal to the Appeals Commission to two years after a decision from the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body.

    • Additional enhancements coming in 2018

    • 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.
  • Changes that came into effect on April 1

  • Changes that came into effect on January 1

      Below is a summary of legislative changes that came into effect January 1, 2018. A number of these changes required updates to existing policies which you can review in our Policy and Information Manual.

    • 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.
    • Enhanced retirement benefits are provided to help workers who were unable to contribute to a pension plan because of their reduced earnings while they were on wage loss benefits:
      • 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 age 65 or five years following the date of accident, whichever is later.
      • The calculation for retirement adjustment benefits has changed.
    • Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation is now based on 100 per cent of the change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index (i.e., the previous 0.5 per cent reduction has been removed).
    • 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.)
    • 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.
    • 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.

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