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WorkSafeBC looking at presumption for COVID-19 claims

Published on: April 30, 2020

Richmond, B.C. — WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors has directed the Policy, Regulation and Research Division (PRRD) to add COVID-19 (or potentially more broadly, coronaviruses or respiratory communicable diseases) to the list of diseases in Schedule 1 of the Workers Compensation Act on an expedited process.

The primary significance of Schedule 1 is that COVID-19 claims will be presumed to be caused from work, unless proven otherwise.

WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors has the sole authority over what diseases and associated trades, processes or industries are added to Schedule 1 of the Act.

Generally, the process to add a disease to Schedule 1 can take between 18-24 months. However, the PRRD anticipates the expedited process will take about six months.

The PRRD has established an internal working committee and is working with WorkSafeBC’s Evidence Based Practice Group and Clinical Services on obtaining medical and scientific research.

Consultation will include the Policy Practice Consultative Committee and an abbreviated consultation with external stakeholders in recognition of the importance of having the presumption in place as soon as possible.

While this work is underway, COVID-19 claims will continue to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis on the merits of the claim, consistent with current law and policy.

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC engages workers and employers to prevent injury, disease, and disability in B.C. When work-related injuries or diseases occur, WorkSafeBC provides compensation and support to people in their recovery, rehabilitation, and safe return to work. We serve approximately 2.4 million workers and 245,000 employers across B.C.

For more information, contact:

Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Tel: 604.276.5157