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Compensation Policies

The Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual (“RS&CM”) contains the official policies of WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors respecting compensation and rehabilitation for injured workers and their dependants under British Columbia’s Workers Compensation Act (“Act”).  The Act requires WorkSafeBC and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal to apply these policies when making decisions.

The RS&CM is divided into two Volumes, which reflect significant changes that were made to the Act in 2002.  For convenience, the law and policy immediately before the 2002 changes to the Act are called the former provisions and the law and policy after the 2002 changes to the Act are called the current provisions.  RS&CM, Volume I sets out the former provisions.  RS&CM, Volume II sets out the current provisions.

The transition provisions explaining the impact of the legislative changes made to the Act in 2002 are set out in section 35.1 of the Act.  The rules for determining which Volume of the RS&CM applies to a worker’s claim are in policy item #1.03 of each Volume (“the scope policy”), and set out in full below.

(a) General

Subject to subsequent amendments, Volume I sets out the law and policies that were in effect immediately prior to June 30, 2002 in relation to compensation for injured workers. For convenience, the law and policies in effect immediately prior to that date, as amended, will be called the “former provisions”.

Volume II sets out the law and policies in effect on or after June 30, 2002, as they may be amended from time to time, in relation to worker benefits. For convenience, the law and policy on or after that date, including any subsequent amendments, will be called the “current provisions”.

Unless otherwise stated, in Volume II of this Manual the “Act” refers to the Workers Compensation Act, as amended on or after June 30, 2002. The Interpretation Act, RSBC 1996, Chapter 238, applies to the Act, unless a contrary intention appears in either the Interpretation Act or the Act.

(b) Amendment Act, 2002 (Bill 49) Transitional Provisions

The following rules apply to determining whether the former provisions (Volume I) or the current provisions (Volume II) apply in a particular case. These rules are based upon the transitional rules in section 35.1 of the Workers Compensation Act, as amended by the Amendment Act, 2002.

  1. The current provisions apply to an injury that occurs on or after June 30, 2002.

  2. Except as noted in rules 3, 4, and 5, the former provisions apply to an injury that occurred before June 30, 2002.

  3. Subject to rule 4 respecting recurrences, if an injury occurred before June 30, 2002, but the first indication that it is permanently disabling occurs on or after June 30, 2002, the current provisions apply to the permanent disability award with two modifications:

    (i) 75% of average earnings (former provisions) is used for calculating the award rather than 90% of average net earnings (current provisions); and

    (ii) no deduction is made for disability benefits under the Canada Pension Plan (former provisions).

    Under this rule, for an injury that occurred before June 30, 2002, where the first indication of permanent disability also occurs before June 30, 2002, the permanent disability award will be adjudicated under the former provisions. Where the first indication of permanent disability is on or after June 30, 2002, the award will be adjudicated under the current provisions, using the modified formula described in (i) and (ii) above. The determination of when permanent disability first occurs will be based on available medical evidence.

    An example of when this rule applies is where a worker, injured before June 30, 2002, shows no signs of permanent disability before that date. However, on or after June 30, 2002, the worker has surgery, which first causes permanent disability. The permanent disability award will be adjudicated under the current provisions, using the modified formula.

  4. If an injury occurred before June 30, 2002, and the disability recurs on or after June 30, 2002, the current provisions apply to the recurrence.

    This transitional rule applies only to a recurrence of a disability on or after June 30, 2002. It does not apply to permanent changes in the nature and degree of a worker’s permanent disability. Where a worker was entitled to a permanent disability award before June 30, 2002 in respect of a compensable injury or disease, the former provisions apply to any changes in the nature and degree of the worker’s permanent disability after that date.

    For the purposes of this policy, a recurrence includes any claim that is re-opened for an additional period of temporary disability, regardless of whether the worker had been entitled to a permanent disability award before June 30, 2002. However, where the worker was entitled to a permanent disability award before June 30, 2002, the former provisions apply to any changes in the nature and degree of the worker’s permanent disability following an additional period of temporary disability.

    The following are examples of a recurrence:
    • A worker totally recovers from a temporary disability resulting in the termination of wage-loss payments. Subsequently, there is a recurrence of the disability and the claim is re-opened for compensation.

    • A worker is in receipt of a permanent partial disability award and the disability subsequently worsens so that the worker is temporarily totally disabled. The claim is re-opened to provide compensation for a new period of temporary disability. The additional period of temporary disability is a recurrence to which the current provisions apply. However, a subsequent change in the nature and degree of the worker’s permanent disability is adjudicated under the former provisions.
  5. Regardless of the date of injury, the current provisions on indexing apply to compensation paid for an injured worker on or after June 30, 2002. Indexing of retroactive awards payable before June 30, 2002 will be based on the former provisions.

Effective date: August 1, 2006
Application: Amendments to policy item #1.03(b)(4) that took effect on August 1, 2006 apply to all decisions, including appellate decisions, made on or after October 16, 2002.
History: December 31, 2003 – Amendments to reflect consequential changes to the Act resulting from the Amendment Act, 2003.
June 17, 2003 – Reorganization of format and addition of content to address the scope of Volumes I and II of the Manual.
October, 16, 2002 – Amendments to clarify meaning of “recurrence” for the purposes of section 35.1(8) of the Act.