We are committed to a shared vision of care, recovery and return to work that puts workers at the centre of their recovery and employers at the centre of guiding a safe, successful return to work. We aim to build the best workers’ compensation system in the country—with stakeholders, not for them.

Here's a look at the steps we took on our 2019 service journey

We build collaborative recovery and return-to-work plans

Workers have a right to make decisions about their care. It’s their body, their injury and their recovery. Employers know their business best, so they're most equipped to find the right return-to-work opportunities to support their worker during recovery.

90% of workers agree they contributed directly to the development of their care plan.

At year end, 87% of workers felt they contributed to the development of their care plan. This fell short of our goal but reflects significant effort by claim owners to engage workers and their employers in creating personalized care plans.

Achieve a 2.5% increase in worker and employer satisfaction with involvement in the return-to-work plan (from a baseline of 88% for workers and 75% for employers).

Workers’ satisfaction with their involvement in the development of their return-to-work plan remained stable at 88%, while employers’ satisfaction improved to 76%.

We help our customers connect with us

We’re committed to finding new ways to meet our customers where they are.

Release Canada’s first workers’ compensation mobile app to help workers easily connect with us.

Our first-ever mobile app for workers was released in March. 3,163 workers downloaded our app in 2019.

Gather requirements for our first employer app.

In consultation with our stakeholders, we confirmed features for the first version of our employer mobile app. We’re on track for the first release in 2020.

Learn how our new app helps workers

We seek feedback that helps us improve

We want to better understand when our stakeholders’ experiences do not meet their expectations and use the lessons we learn to develop new approaches.

Update our customer experience surveys to appropriately measure workers’ satisfaction with their health care providers.

Workers reported 89% satisfaction with their physiotherapy/chiropractic providers and 87% satisfaction with their community physicians.

Update health care providers’ feedback processes.

We’re collaborating with the health care community to collect health care providers’ feedback.

We share how we make decisions

We’re committed to posting our procedures online so stakeholders know what to expect from us.

Consult with stakeholders to identify the most asked-about procedures and publish those procedures on our website.

We polled stakeholders in June and identified their top priorities. We posted our first online procedures on our website in December. Our first batch of procedures explains:

  • the initial entitlement decision,
  • rate setting,
  • medical testing and exam referrals and
  • opioid claim management.

Learn more about our review and appeals process
Technology advancements. New and emerging industries. The decline in routine employment. The nature of work is changing in our province.
Two-thirds of the workers we see are hurt while performing routine work (jobs that require primarily procedural skills or repetitive tasks). As the province moves towards automation and technical advancements, less routine work is available. We must help workers find alternative and creative re-employment opportunities that get them back to work and back to life.

Learn how re-employment opportunities give Albertans a fresh start

We provide job leads to give workers a fresh start

When a worker is unable to safely return to their pre-accident job as a result of their injury, re-employment specialists (experts in job coaching) help them explore their new future.

To increase opportunities for successful re-employment, we’ll increase the number of realistic and available job leads we provide to workers with permanent work restrictions.

We helped 271 workers find new jobs or careers when they were no longer able to safely return to their pre-accident job as a result of their injuries.

We create new opportunities through industry partnerships

No one knows an industry better than those who work within it. Together with our industry partners, we identify unique and creative job options for permanently disabled workers.

Increase stakeholder awareness of the personal and economic impact of not identifying employment opportunities for workers who are unable to return to their pre-accident job.

We built partnerships with industry and employer associations to build life-changing opportunities for workers with permanent disability. We met with 577 employers and, by year’s end, created 145 training-on-the-job opportunities. This resulted in a net savings of over $21 million in economic loss payments (after training-on-the-job costs).

Learn how our partners get permanently injured workers back to work and back to life
The number of claims with a psychological injury component is growing. Approximately 1.7% of all WCB claims involve a psychological injury.
Sometimes a psychological injury is a worker’s only injury–it exists on its own without an accompanying injury to the body (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder). In other cases, a psychological injury may result from the experience of being physically injured (e.g., depression as a result of immobility due to a broken leg or lack of progress in treatment). Regardless of the cause, recovery from a psychological injury can take longer than recovery from a physical injury. We want all workers to have the support they need to recover and return to work once it’s safe for them to do so.

Learn how workers with psychological injuries get the help they need

We aim to increase understanding about psychological injuries and connect workers with the services they need

Education and awareness are the first steps towards understanding the impact a psychological injury can have on a worker’s life—both personally and professionally. In partnership with the worker, employer and health care provider, we develop customized care plans that support workers in their psychological recovery and return to work.

Quantify and report on the impact of traumatic (acute) and chronic (ongoing) psychological injury on return to work.

Traumatic and chronic primary psychological injury cases were evenly split in 2019—51% and 49%, respectively.

Re-integration programs achieve strong return-to-work results. In the last year, 91% of workers with a primary psychological injury returned to work with their date-of-accident employer.

Improve referral time for psychological support services from date of accident to treatment by 5% (from 89 to 85 days).

We grew our network of psychological service providers by 63%, which decreased wait times for all clients in need of community psychological support services by 9%. Services are now accessed within an average of 81 days.

We examine the cause and effect of injuries

Determining causation tells us whether injuries are work related and is key to making claim decisions. In most cases, assessing causation is straight-forward, but when it’s not, decision makers seek a medical opinion from expert medical consultants with expertise in occupational injury.

To help treating doctors understand the role these consulting physicians play, we’re sharing our evidence-based causation analysis process with them, and offering the opportunity to participate in the ongoing evaluation of medical research for evidence-based causation determinations.

Publish the medical research evaluation model that helps us determine if an injury or illness is work related.

We drafted two explanations of our model—one technical version for physicians and one for all stakeholders—and will roll out our causation evaluation process to community physicians in 2020.

Learn about the resources we developed to support those with psychological injuries
We’re committed to what we do, but technology can help us do it better. Technology advances help us improve service delivery and open our data to stakeholders who want to make the province healthier and safer.

Learn how technology advancements are helping us improve

We make fast decisions on simple claims

Our claims staff are dedicated to supporting workers with significant injuries, answering employers’ questions and collaborating with the treatment providers who make recovery possible. In cases where an injury doesn’t result in missed time from work, workers and employers don’t usually require the same level of support. Often those workers have already fully recovered or they’re well on their way to feeling like themselves again and able to work while they continue treatment.

Automation streamlines our decision making in these simple cases. Our system now sends straightforward claims to a specialized team for immediate processing and getting payments out to workers faster.

Through automated claim assignment, we’ll reduce the number of cases that require manual adjudicator intervention by 15%, instead sending those claims straight to our claims processing agents for immediate response and action.

System enhancements in April resulted in a 22% decrease in the number of new cases sent to adjudicators. This means our claims processing agents provided timely support to workers and employers on 9,580 claims—confirming coverage, issuing decision letters and, if the claim was accepted, processing payments and approving treatment within 14 days of claim registration, 91.2% of the time.

We make data sharing easier

Data collection is central to our success—it needs to be complete, but it should not be onerous. By partnering with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), we believe we can make reporting and data sharing easier.

Identify a technology path to make WCB and OHS incident reporting easier for employers.

We reached agreement with OHS to streamline employer reporting through real-time data sharing that will eliminate redundant reporting. We’ll further explore this solution in 2020.

Deliver a high-level road map on how to best share WCB and OHS data in support of research into the prevention of, and treatment for, workplace injury.

We documented existing data collection and our future data needs. This set the stage for future work in 2020.