Our organization saw many changes during this time, as we responded to three royal commissions and adapted to new processes and policies that were brought about by changes to the Workers Compensation Act.
These changes included increasing the compensation rate (raised to 75% of gross wages in 1954), extending workers’ compensation coverage to more industries, and tying benefits and allowances to the cost of living, not to set amounts.
We saw the number of claims rise as industrial activity increased across the province, and we received our one millionth report of an injury in 1947. Some of the ways we responded to these trends included building a new rehabilitation centre, and creating films and posters to reach and educate workers about health and safety.
Learn more: Watch a video of highlights from 1943-1966
Highlights from this period
1944 We issue a directive that all safety committees must have equal representation from management and labour, marking the beginning of formalized joint health and safety committees in B.C.
1946 The B.C. government eliminates the workers' contribution to the Medical Aid Fund.
1951 Our headquarters move to West 37th Avenue in Vancouver.
1952 Following recommendations from the second Sloan Royal Commission, a coalition provincial government raises widows' pensions and children's allowances, and raises the compensation rate to 70 percent of average earnings.
1954 Worker compensation is raised to 75 percent of average earnings and chiropractors and non-conventional medical practitioners are now classified as doctors.
1955 For the first time, optional coverage is offered to fishermen.
1956 Compensation claims reach 95,562 – the highest in our history to date.
1959 Beatrice Zucco, the widow of a miner, is awarded $13,000 after an autopsy reveals that her late husband suffered from silicosis. Her initial claim for a widow's pension had been denied because X-rays failed to show the disease. It was determined that the silicosis had been over-shadowed by tuberculosis.
1961 For the first time in 20 years, the number of compensation claims drops.
1962 Alexander DesBrisay, chief justice of the B.C. Appeal Court, leads the third B.C. Royal Commission into the compensation system after the provincial labour minister states that "virtually every trade union in the province has asked for the probe."
1965 In a ground-breaking change, benefits and allowances are now tied to the cost of living, rather than paid as set amounts.