A message from our President and CEO
These are unprecedented circumstances for everyone, and we understand the tremendous strain the current COVID-19 crisis is putting on workers, employers and every person in British Columbia, in Canada and around the world. I want to assure workers, employers, and health care providers around the province that WorkSafeBC remains committed to providing the services you rely on. Like all employers, we are also committed to reducing the risk of COVID-19 spreading among our own employees and in workplaces across B.C.
While our offices are now closed to the public, we are still here to help. Our call centres remain open, and we are continuing to adjudicate and manage new and existing claims. Workers and employers around the province are still operating, providing critical goods and services to the people of B.C., and WorkSafeBC will continue to provide the support they will need from us. We will remain flexible and responsive as the situation evolves to ensure that we provide the best possible service.
I can assure you that all aspects of our prevention services, including inspections, responding to workplace incidents, and occupational health and safety investigations will continue, with the understanding that many employers are in uncharted territory because of COVID-19. We also understand that some sectors are more at risk than others, particularly health care, so we are working with health authorities to ensure their pandemic-preparedness and infection-control protocols are in place to protect our front-line health care workers.
WorkSafeBC is making operational changes in a number of areas. Organizationally, we have implemented a number of measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees. We have cancelled or postponed all upcoming events, have put social distancing measures and more rigorous cleaning in place in our offices, and are implementing a comprehensive work-from-home strategy supplemented with virtual meetings.
The public health emergency has led to many new questions regarding work-related health and safety. We are committed to being as available as possible to answer those questions. Our front-line staff in particular – such as case managers and vocational rehabilitation consultants – will prioritize communication with injured workers. Our call-centre staff are working to respond to queries and concerns as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding that wait times may be longer than usual as we all respond to rapidly changing events.
We are working closely with our health care providers to determine how we can continue to support workers requiring treatment. Many providers are currently utilizing telehealth and telephone consultations. In these unique circumstances, WorkSafeBC will continue to make benefit payments to injured workers who are not able to attend treatment.
We will continue to support our employees, and they will continue to support you. We may be providing our services differently, but it will be with the care, compassion, and professionalism you have always expected from us.
My hope is that we can all stay healthy and safe through this most difficult time. Please visit the COVID-19 updates section of our website for information about COVID-19 and the workplace, the services available to you, and further updates as the situation develops.
WorkSafeBC President and CEO
This announcement was updated on March 23, 2020.