Worker’s Compensation in Canada: Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

It seems that there are a number of Canadians who don’t know the extent of their rights when it comes to the topic of workers compensation.


Employment law specialists such as Loya & Associates normally have all the angles covered when it comes to getting you what you deserve under your employment rights and it also helps if you can gain a better understanding yourself of your rights and responsibilities.

The Workers Compensation System

One of the main points to remember is the fact that workers compensation law should always be viewed as a separate and distinct area of law.

This has always been the case and as lawyers in this specific field of expertise will already know, applying principles from other areas of law may not produce the correct answer to a relevant compensation question.

The fundamental principles of the Workers Compensation System are a series of five main cornerstones of the basis of finding an acceptable and fair compromise between workers and employers.

These main principles are as follows:

  • No-fault compensation benefits
  • Security of benefits
  • Collective liability
  • Independent administration
  • Exclusive jurisdiction
  • Your roles and responsibilities

One of the aims of the Workers Compensation Act is to clearly define the various roles and responsibilities of all relevant parties in the event of a workplace injury or illness.

Workers have a responsibility to report any occurrence of injury to their employer and take steps to try and mitigate any further potential loss, which means also cooperating with their employer if and when suitable modified duties are offered as a potential solution.

Employers responsibilities include providing an adequate level of first aid and agreeing to arrange and pay for transport leading to medical treatment if required. Your employer will also be expected to pay full wages and benefits for the day or length of shift when the accident happened.

Employers are also expected to investigate any incident that causes an injury or illness and keep a record of what steps were taken to address and correct the problem. They also have to be prepared to provide an offer of suitable modified work which allows you to make as safe and early return to work as feasible.

Modified duties

One of the most common mistakes that employers tend to make is not offering their injured worker modified duties at the earliest opportunity.

As many employers find out to their cost, it is not always the medical costs that start to hurt them financially, but the time spent away from work that you have to be compensated for.

If you find yourself in the situation where you are away from work as a result of a workplace injury, you need to be aware of the fact that if your employer offers you alternative duties to hasten your return to work, you will need to consider complying with this request if it is considered a viable proposition.

Reporting workplace injuries or illness

The official timescale for reporting incidents will vary according to which province of Canada you work in.

As a general guide, employers normally have to report a work related accident or illness to the appropriate Workers Compensation Board (WCB) within 72 hours of learning that their worker requires professional medical attention or is absent from their regular work duties.

Reporting to the WCB is also required if you end up earning less than you normally due for your regular work because of a forced reduction in work hours or if you are asked to do modified work at less than your regular rate of pay.

Finding a solution

You will find that a no-fault recovery procedure is often used as a way of finding a suitable level of compensation and agreeing a way forward without the need for legal proceedings.

The aim of using the five guiding principles of the workers compensation system is to find a faster way of reducing the number of issues that would normally be adjudicated by a court so that you can get an offer of financial compensation and an acceptable offer of reduced or amended work duties, so that you can get your life back on track and return to work as soon as possible.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a workplace injury or illness, it will definitely help to have a basic grasp of what you are entitled to and what your employer should be offering to do for you.

Even if it doesn’t get to court, you might also want to consult a lawyer with employment law experience who can help you get what you are entitled to.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *