Stage 1: Report an injury
If you have been advised that one of your employees has been injured, you are required by law to report the injury to us within 72 hours.
For instructions on how to report an injury, including the types of accidents or situations that require an employer report of injury, see Report an injury: For employers
Once you've submitted your injury report, please ensure your worker has a copy of the worker handbook. This handbook will help them understand what the next steps are and what we need from him/her. Download a PDF copy.
In order for the claim process to begin, we require reports from:
- you (the employer)
- the worker
- the worker's doctor
Your responsibilities when an injury occurs
- Provide any first aid treatment required at the scene of the accident.
- If required, send your worker for immediate medical attention. You are responsible to arrange and pay for transportation if there is a cost associated with it (e.g. ambulance fees or taxi fare).
- If applicable, provide your employee with a copy of your modified work agreement to share with the medical facility. This will inform the health care provider of the modified duties you have available.
- If you are signed up to access Occupational Injury Service (OIS) clinics, find your closest clinic. If you're not signed up, learn more about getting your injured workers access to fast-tracked medical services.
Wages and health benefits
- Pay the injured worker's full wages for the day the injury occurred. If he/she is unable to work beyond the day of the accident, compensation payments start the first regular working day afterward. Cheques are issued every two weeks.
- If you continue to pay the worker full wages during the period of disability, the compensation he/she is eligible to receive will be paid to you. Please advise your adjudicator or case manager that you are paying your worker directly to avoid duplicate wage-loss payments.
- If you have been paying into an employment benefit plan for the worker before their accident or illness, you’re also required to continue to pay your injured worker’s health benefits if they are absent from work for up to one year following the date of the accident. Find out more about your injured worker’s health benefits after an injury.
Go to Stage 2: Claim classification
Stage 2: Claim classification
After reporting, your worker's injury will be classified and a decision will be made regarding the status of the claim.
Types of claims
WCB-Alberta registers your worker's claim as one of the following:
- lost-time claim
- no-time-lost claim
- interjurisdictional claim
Your worker's claim will be assigned to an adjudicator who makes the initial benefit decisions. If he/she needs additional rehabilitation support to return to work, the claim may be transferred from an adjudicator to a case manager.
If your worker did not miss work past the day of injury, a claim process team will monitor medical treatment.
If a worker is injured in a province that they work in, but are not a resident of, he/she can choose to have their claim started in the province of employment or their home province.
For example, a worker that lives in British Columbia, but gets injured on the job while working in Alberta can have his/her claim initiated in B.C. if they prefer. If so, the workers' compensation board in B.C. can request reimbursement costs from WCB-Alberta.
No-time-lost claim processing fact sheet
Learn more about how no-time-lost claims are processed.
- Out of province coverage fact sheet In certain circumstances, employers in Alberta can offer coverage to their workforce through WCB-Alberta when the workers leave the province. Learn more.
Alternative assessment procedure for interprovincial transportation
Employers are required to register with and pay workers’ compensation premiums to each jurisdiction
they work in. Learn more.
Go to Stage 3: Claim decision
Stage 3: Claim decision
Depending on the information submitted to WCB, the status of your worker's claim may be:
- not accepted
- pending (a decision has not been made yet)
- processed (a claim has been registered and medical costs are being paid, but the claim has not been reviewed for a decision)
- medical investigation (further medical assessments are required before a decision can be made)
Once the claim is accepted, an adjudicator will contact your worker to discuss the benefits he/she is entitled to, along with other services that can help him/her return to work.
Each claim is unique. Some claims require more support and ongoing communication than others. If that's the case, the adjudicator may transfer your worker's claim to a case manager, who will work closely with the both of you to determine the return-to-work options that are best suited to him/her.
Claim not accepted (denied):
The adjudicator may reject your worker's claim if any of the following is true:
- The injury did not arise out of employment.
- The diagnosis is for a condition not caused by work.
- There is not enough information in his/her file to support that an injury or illness occurred.
- The claim was not filed within 24 months of his/her injury.
- If as an employer, you are not required to have workers' compensation coverage and did not purchase this for your worker.
If you would like to request a copy of your worker's claim file, find out how to do so here.
As an employer, you can question any decision made on a claim for one of your workers. As decisions are made, you will receive a copy of decision letters and it is important you read these carefully to understand the decisions and the rationale.
We are committed to making claim decisions that are fair. It is important to us that you understand the decisions that affect your workers, your workplace and your account.
See Reviews and appeals to learn more about this process and the help that is available to you.
Go to Stage 4: Treatment and recovery
Stage 4: Treatment and recovery
A healthy recovery is one of the most important parts of successfully returning to work. To help your injured worker get there, we have a wide range of rehabilitation services available to them.
Just like your employees, each claim is unique. We review each one individually to determine the benefits and services that are best suited to that individual. We place a strong focus on rehabilitation that will get your worker back to his/her pre-accident job.
Go to Stage 5: Return to work
Stage 5: Return to work
Our priority is to help injured workers get back on the job safely—but we don't do this alone. The entire claims process is made better when we can collaborate with you and your worker, and health care providers to make it happen.
Creating a plan
Once your worker's claim is approved, we develop a case plan with him/her and you, their employer. A case plan lists clear return-to-work goals and how we will work together to achieve those goals. The case plan has distinct phases through which a claim typically progresses:
- Entitlement determined: WCB confirms claim acceptance.
- Case plan defined: Together we determine appropriate treatment and return-to-work options.
- Fitness to work determined: We define the standards required for your worker's safe return to work.
- Return-to-work status confirmed: We follow up to make sure your worker has returned to safe and appropriate work.
- Case plan conclusion: Determination of long-term WCB benefits and services, if appropriate.
Returning to work
You and your injured worker are expected to work together towards a return to the same job or an alternative job after a workplace accident, unless it impacts your ability to run your business. This is called undue hardship. To claim undue hardship, you will be required to complete an employer claim of undue hardship form. We will work with you to determine if undue hardship applies.
Ready to return
Your case manager will work with your injured worker to determine when he/she is able to return to work, based on progress reports from the worker, his/her doctor and other health care providers. If medical information suggests your worker is ready to return to the pre-accident job, we will confirm the return-to-work date with you.
Likely to return
If medical information suggests your worker will likely return to the pre-accident job, but has temporary restrictions, modified work will be discussed with you as a way to enable a safe and timely return to work for your employee.
Modified work is a change in job duties that you can arrange that allows your worker to return to work while recovering, providing him/her with an opportunity to remain active and continue contributing to your workplace. Working while recovering keeps injured workers connected to their jobs and colleagues and helps them maintain normalcy in their lives.
If you'd like to learn more about return to work options and how to start planning, see Return to work.
Fitness for work form
Review this form to help you determine whether or not your worker can start modified work.
Physical demands analysis form
A Physical demands analysis should be provided to the treating healthcare professional to determine fitness for work.
Offer of modified work form
This agreement provides details on the type of modified work, duration, hours of work, and rate of pay to ensure you and your worker have the same understanding of duties.