Recent changes to the Policies and Information Manual

Date of distribution: September 5, 2018

TRANSMITTAL SHEET No: 05 – 2018      September 5, 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.

Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans received royal assent on December 15, 2017. Bill 30 amends the Workers’ Compensation Act and includes a number of new provisions. Although some of the new provisions came into force earlier this year and are reflected in previously published policy documents, the majority came into force on September 1, 2018. This transmittal includes both new policies and policy amendments resulting from Bill 30. Unless stated otherwise in the following summaries, all the changes are effective September 1, 2018, and apply to claims with a date of accident on or after that date.

  • Code of Rights and Conduct
    Effective September 1, 2018, s.9.2 requires establishment of a Code of Rights and Conduct. The Code is a more extensive document that replaces the Statement of Rights.
  • Policy 01-09, Administrative Penalties
    Policy 01-09 has been amended to include the new penalty provisions in s.88.1 (obligation to reinstate) and s.88.2 (continuation of health care benefits).
  • Policy 01-10, Interim Relief
    A new policy, Policy 01-10, Interim Relief, was created in response to the Bill 30 requirement that workers and employers be provided with interim financial relief during the review or appeal process, if in serious financial need. Policy 01-10, Part I and Part II, Application 1, outline when interim relief is available to workers and employers and what type of relief is provided. The new policy applies to reviews or appeals initiated on or after September 1, 2018.
  • Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 3 – Rate adjustments for young workers
    The policy was amended to include a new provision that allows WCB to adjust the earnings base for young workers (under age 25) who have a compensable permanent clinical impairment of 50% or more, and whose actual earnings are less than the Alberta average weekly earnings. This provision also applies to workers age 25 and older who, at the time of the accident, are enrolled in an academic or vocational program that would reasonably be expected to increase their earning capacity.
  • Policy 04-02, Part II, Application 4, Continuation of Employment Health Benefits
    Policies 04-02 and 05-01 have been revised to incorporate the provisions of s.88.2 of the WCA, which establishes a new obligation for employers to continue to provide existing employment health benefits for up to one year while workers are absent from work due to a work injury. Changes include:
    • A new Application 4 under Policy 04-02 outlining employer and worker obligations under s.88.2 of the WCA.
    • A revision to Policy 05-01, Compensation Overpayments, to include overpayments to workers for reimbursements of expenses incurred for health services.
  • Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 1 – Estimating Earning Capacity
    Revisions to Question 4 and a new Question 5 confirm that WCB will not estimate earning capacity until all reasonable efforts have been made to help injured workers in their job search.
  • Policy 04-05 and the Obligation to Reinstate (OTR)
    Policy 04-05 has been revised to incorporate the provisions of s.88.1 of the WCA, which establishes a new obligation for employers to accommodate and reinstate injured workers, provided certain criteria are met. Employers and workers now also have a legislated duty to cooperate with each other and with WCB. Changes include:
    • Two new policy applications in Part II (Applications 2 and 3) that address the new obligation.
    • The previous Applications 2 – 7 are renumbered and are now Applications 4 – 9.
    • Revisions to Part I and several policy applications in Part II to reflect the new provision and to update cross-references and legislation references.
    • A revision to Application 4, Question 8, to incorporate the new s.56(14) of the WCA, that addresses worker benefits when an employer terminates the worker’s employment or withdraws the modified work.
  • Policy 04-08 – Fatalities
    Amendments to the fatality provisions in the WCA have enhanced benefits for dependent spouses/dependent adult interdependent partners and dependent children, for claims with a date of accident on or after September 1, 2018. Enhancements include: replacing the five-year reducing term pension with five years of full pension; if there are dependent children, extending full benefits while the children are in secondary or post-secondary school, up to age 25; and establishing a new retirement lump sum benefit paid to spouses/partners when their pension ends. As well, the retirement adjustment calculation for spouses who are not capable of gainful employment is revised to be consistent with the new calculation for ELP retirement adjustments. These enhancements are in addition to the fatality lump sum benefit that came into effect on January 1, 2018. Changes include:
    • A new Application 2 that addresses the new provisions for dependent spouses and adult interdependent partners. The previous Application 2 is now Application 4, for dependent spouses and adult interdependent partners with dates of accident from January 1, 1982, to August 31, 2018, inclusive.
    • A new Application 3 that addresses the new provisions for dependent children and other dependants. The previous Application 3 is now Application 5, for dependent children and other dependants with dates of accident from January 1, 1982, to August 31, 2018, inclusive. Also, in both applications, there is a minor wording change for consistency with s.71 (benefits for children not living with the dependent spouse/partner).
    • The previous Application 4, for dates of accident from January 1, 1974, to December 31, 1981, inclusive, has been renumbered and is now Application 6
    • A revision to Part I, indicating the change in definition of “dependent child”, and minor revisions throughout the policy, updating legislative references and policy cross-references.
  • Maximum Insurable Earnings – Compensable Earnings and Assessable Earnings
    Amendments to the WCA remove the cap on insurable earnings with respect to compensation paid to injured workers for accidents on or after September 1, 2018. There will still be a cap on insurable earnings with respect to employer assessments. To avoid confusion, “insurable earnings” will now be distinguished as either “compensable earnings” or “assessable earnings”. This resulted in multiple policy changes. Changes include:
    • Revisions to remove the cap on insurable earnings for compensation to accidents on or after September 1, 2018.
    • Revisions to change references to “insurable earnings” to:
      • “compensable earnings” if related to compensation; or
      • “assessable earnings” if related to assessments.
    • The cost relief threshold for back injuries and cardiac claims will be set at eight times the worker’s actual earnings (instead of eight times the weekly maximum compensation rate).
  • G-2, The Review and Appeal Process
    Legislative changes have revised the time frame for requesting an appeal at the Appeals Commission. Decisions made on or after September 1, 2018, will have a two-year window in which to file an appeal instead of a one-year window. This change applies only to appeals to the Appeals Commission and only when the date of the review decision from the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body is on or after September 1, 2018.
  • Housekeeping changes
    A number of housekeeping changes were required as a result of Bill 30. These include such things as updated legislative references and cross-references between policies due to new policies and policy applications, and minor wording changes to integrate the new provisions of Bill 30. Where there are changes in the “References” section in Part I of any policy, additions and changes are shaded in grey, deletions are not shaded. In addition to the housekeeping changes flowing from Bill 30, there is a change to Policy 04-03, Part II, Application 1, Question 4 clarifying that recurrence rates established under s.61 may apply to permanent as well as temporary wage loss benefits. Also included with this transmittal are a revised Table of Contents, Glossary, Document History, Index, and new 2018 Compensation Tables (Appendix E) with additional entries up to $150,000 gross earnings.
  • Complete list of changed documents

    Document Old New
    Table of Contents Entire document Table of Contents
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Principles Entire document Principles
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Statement of Rights Entire document Code of Rights and Conduct
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-02, Access and Privacy Part I Policy 01-02, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-08, New Evidence Part II, Application 1 Policy 01-08, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-09, Administrative Penalties Entire document Policy 01-09, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-09, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-09, Part II, Addendum A
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-10, Interim Relief None – new policy Policy 01-10, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 01-10, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 03-01, Injuries Part I Policy 03-01, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Addendum A Policy 03-01, Part II, Addendum A
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 03-02, Aggravation of a Pre-existing Condition Part I Policy 03-02, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-01, Establishing Net Earnings Part I Policy 04-01, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 3 Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 4 Policy 04-01, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Addendum A Policy 04-01, Part II, Addendum A
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-02, Temporary Benefits Part I Policy 04-02, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-02, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 04-02, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    None – new document Policy 04-02, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-03, Recurrence of Temporary Disability Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-03, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-04, Permanent Disability Part I Policy 04-04, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 5 Policy 04-04, Part II, Application 5
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Return-to-Work Services Entire document Policy 04-05, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 5
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 6
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 7
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 8
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-05, Part II, Application 9
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-06, Health Care Part I Policy 04-06, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-07, Services for Workers with Severe Injuries Part II, Application 4 Policy 04-07, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-08, Fatalities Part I Policy 04-08, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 1 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 3 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 4 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 5 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 5
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 6 Policy 04-08, Part II, Application 6
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Addendum B Policy 04-08, Part II, Addendum B
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 04-09, Benefit Payments Part I Policy 04-09, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-01, Compensation Overpayments Part II, Application 1 Policy 05-01, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-02, Cost Relief Entire document Policy 05-02, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-02, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-02, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-02, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 05-02, Part II, Addendum A
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 06-01, Employers and Workers Part II, Application 3 Policy 06-01, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 5 Policy 06-01, Part II, Application 5
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 06-03, Premiums Part I Policy 06-03, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 1 Policy 06-03, Part II, Application 1
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 06-03, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 4 Policy 06-03, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 5 Policy 06-03, Part II, Application 5
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 6 Policy 06-03, Part II, Application 6
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 07-01, Classification Part I Policy 07-01, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 07-01, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Policy 07-02, Experience Records Part I Policy 07-02, Part I
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 2 Policy 07-02, Part II, Application 2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 3 Policy 07-02, Part II, Application 3
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 4 Policy 07-02, Part II, Application 4
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Part II, Application 7 Policy 07-02, Part II, Application 7
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    G-2, The Review and Appeal Process Entire document G-2
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Appendix D, Alberta Clinical Impairment Guide Introduction, pages i-x Appendix D, Introduction, pages i-x
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Appendix E, 2018 Compensation Tables Entire document Appendix E, 2018 Compensation Tables
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    *For accidents on or after April 01, 2003
    *For accidents on or before March 31, 2003
    Appendix F Entire document Appendix F
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Appendix H Entire document Appendix H
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Glossary Entire document Glossary
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Document History Entire document Document History
    (issue date September 5, 2018)
    Index Entire document Index
    (issue date September 5, 2018)

    2018 Policy Transmittals