Recent changes to the Policies and Information Manual

Date of distribution: January 2, 2018

TRANSMITTAL SHEETNo: 01 – 2018      January 2, 2018

WHAT'S CHANGED (Please read the policy documents for complete information).

Please note that policy changes since the last issue are indicated by shaded text or shading in the left margin.

  • Policy 01-04, Investment Policy
    As part of the annual review of the policy, the Board of Directors has approved an administrative amendment to Application 6, Question 3, Monitoring and Controls, to be less prescriptive as to the auditing standards for the audit of internal controls, as this varies based on the location of the custodian’s parent company.
  • Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 4 – Cost-of-Living Adjustments
    Based on recent amendments to the WCA, the calculation method for determining cost-of-living adjustments for 2018 (and future years) has been amended to remove the 0.5% reduction. The revised indexation formula is based on 100% of the change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index (all items) for the 12 months ending September 30 of the year immediately prior to the adjustment. The revisions also make it clear that, if the formula results in a negative number, the number is treated as a zero.
  • Policy 04-04, Permanent Disability
    Recent amendments to the WCA included changes to the Economic Loss Payment (ELP) retirement adjustment, effective January 1, 2018. This applies to all claims with a date of accident on or after January 1, 2018. Policy 04-04 has been revised to reflect these changes. The revised policy also includes some updates for consistency and clarity.

    To separate the new provisions from the policy in effect for claims occurring before January 1, 2018, we have added a new application in Part II. The new provisions are in Application 3, and the provisions for claims with dates of accident from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2017, are now Application 4. The previous Applications 4 – 9 have been renumbered and are now Applications 5 – 10.

    There are no changes to Application 2 (Non-Economic Loss Payments); however, the application is included in this reissue so that the issue date is the same for all parts of the policy.

    The revisions made in accordance with legislative amendments, and applying to claims with a date of accident on or after January 1, 2018, are:
    • Normal retirement age is now considered to be age 65 or five years following the date of accident, whichever is later. Workers still have the opportunity to extend this by providing sufficient and satisfactory evidence that, if they had not had the work injury, they would have continued to work past normal retirement age.
    • Calculation of the ELP retirement adjustment has been simplified. It takes into consideration the worker’s total wage loss benefits from date of accident to retirement.
    • Workers whose economic loss payments end because they regain their pre-accident earning capacity before retirement age will be eligible for a retirement lump sum benefit, payable when their economic loss payment ends.
    The updates made for consistency and clarity are:
    • Part I and Part II, Application 1, have been updated so that they are consistent with the definition of permanent disability contained in Part I. The definition includes “an impairment of earning capacity due to permanent compensable work restrictions”. Other references in Part I and Application 1 (including the application name) incorrectly referred to “permanent impairment of earning capacity”. These references have been changed so that it is clear that, while the work restrictions are permanent, the loss of earning capacity may not be.
    • The new Application 3 now includes information about Temporary Economic Loss (TEL) payments. TEL has been in use for a number of years and is an economic loss payment that provides the worker with the same benefits as ELP. The difference is how the costs are charged to the employer. Unlike ELP, TEL is not capitalized as the worker is expected to return to pre-accident earning capacity within six years.
    • In the examples of “sufficient and satisfactory evidence” that a worker is working past normal retirement age, the new Application 3 also clarifies what WCB considers to be a personal choice of semi-retirement. Application 3 also clarifies what happens with an ELP retirement adjustment when a previously retired worker returns to the workforce.
  • Policy 04-06, Part II, Application 1 – Health Care
    Recommendation 15 in the WCB Review Panel Recommendations report focused on WCB enabling workers to choose their own health care professionals so long as those professionals meet criteria established by WCB. This choice is available to workers and the policy wording has been amended to ensure that workers are aware of their options.
  • Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 1 – New lump sum fatality award for claims with a date of accident on or after January 1, 2018
    Effective January 1, 2018, an amendment to the WCA provides a new benefit for dependants of workers who die as a result of a work accident or occupational disease. Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 1, has been revised to include this new benefit. The lump sum is in an amount up to the maximum (100%) NELP for the year of the worker’s death. It’s adjusted by any NELP paid to the worker or worker’s estate.
  • 2018 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
    A number of policies have been revised to reflect the 1.2% COLA that is effective January 1, 2018. These policies are 04-01 - Addenda A and B, 04-04 - Addendum A, 04-07 – Addendum B, 04-08 - Addenda A and B, 04-10 - Addendum A, 05-02 - Addendum A, and Appendix F.

    Note: The maximum allowable amount for burial, cremation, and memorial expenses (Policy 04-08, Addendum A) has also increased effective January 1, 2018, using the methodology approved by the Board of Directors.

    Also included are the 2018 Compensation Tables (Appendix E).
  • Policy 04-07, Addendum A – Clothing Allowance
    The clothing allowance amounts for all six categories have been increased effective January 1, 2018, in accordance with the formula approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Table of Contents
    The table of contents has been updated.

Complete list of changed documents

Document Old New
Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents
(issue date January 2, 2018)
01-04, Investment Policy Entire Document Policy 01-04, Part I
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 1
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 2
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 3
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 4
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 5
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 6
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Application 7
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 01-04, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

04-01, Establishing Net Earnings Part II, Application 4 Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 4
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Part II, Addendum A Policy 04-01, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Part II, Addendum B Policy 04-01, Part II, Addendum B
(issue date January 2, 2018)

04-04, Permanent Disability Entire Document Policy 04-04, Part I
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 1
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 2
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 3
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 4
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 5
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 6
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 7
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 8
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 9
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 10
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Policy 04-04, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

04-06, Health Care Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-06, Part II, Application 1
(issue date January 2, 2018)
04-07, Services for Workers with Severe Injuries Part II, Addendum A Policy 04-07, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Part II, Addendum B Policy 04-07, Part II, Addendum B
(issue date January 2, 2018)

04-08, Fatalities Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 1
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Part II, Addendum A Policy 04-08, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Part II, Addendum B Policy 04-08, Part II, Addendum B
(issue date January 2, 2018)

04-10, Other Home Services Part II, Addendum A Policy 04-10, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

05-02, Cost Relief Part II, Addendum A Policy 05-02, Part II, Addendum A
(issue date January 2, 2018)

Appendix E,
Compensation Tables
Entire Document 2018 Compensation Tables:
Appendix F, Minimum Permanent Disability Awards & Dependants’ Pensions, With Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), Minimum Personal Coverage, & Maximum Annual Insurable Earnings

Entire Document Appendix F
(issue date January 2, 2018)

2018 Policy Transmittals