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PROVINCE IMPLEMENTING CHANGES TO WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT

The Manitoba government has introduced proposed legislation that would implement significant changes to The Workers Compensation Act, as recommended by the 2016-17 Legislative Review Committee (LRC), Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today.

“The Workers Compensation Amendment Act will enhance the independence of the Workers Compensation Board (WCB), confirming the board’s control over and responsibility for its own operations,” said Fielding.  “The Manitoba Employers Council and the Manitoba Federation of Labour have expressed their support for the enhanced independence of the WCB.”  

Other proposed changes include:
•    reinstating a cap on maximum insurable earnings,
•    creating an employer adviser office,
•    establishing a schedule of occupational diseases,
•    expanding and clarifying enforcement and collection mechanisms,
•    changing the process for the appointment of board members to the WCB, and
•    specifying that The Workers Compensation Board is not a government agency for the purposes of The Financial Administration Act.

Fielding noted a 2018 report from the auditor general of Manitoba said the province would have to change the legal structure of its relationship with WCB in order to exempt the board from summary financial statements.

The Workers Compensation Act mandates a comprehensive review of the legislation every 10 years.  As part of the review, the LRC conducted public consultations between November 2016 and May 2017, and received nearly 100 submissions from a wide array of stakeholders.  Consultations were also undertaken with the Provincial Comptroller’s Office and the Office of the Auditor General of Manitoba.

The LRC’s report contains 64 recommendations, 41 of which are aimed at legislative change.  Thirty-four of the recommendations for legislative change would be implemented in whole or in part by this proposed bill.

The LRC report is available online at https://www.gov.mb.ca/labour/safety/pdf/lrc-report.pdf.

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