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How law (Act & Regulations) & policies are made

Law

The Workers Compensation Act (“Act”) is amended by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. WorkSafeBC is bound by the Act, and all of its regulations and policies must be consistent with it.

Regulations and policy

The Policy, Research and Regulation Division ("PRRD") advises WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors on regulation and policy development. An important part of the PRRD’s role is consulting with stakeholders, such as worker and employer representatives, industry and scientific experts, and the various divisions of WorkSafeBC.

Policies and regulations are developed differently. The general processes are set out below.

Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Development Process

WorkSafeBC develops and implements occupational health and safety regulations, including the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (“OHSR”). All workplaces under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC must meet the legal requirements set out in the OHSR.

The regulatory amendment process for the OHSR allows stakeholders to view and comment on the actual proposed amendments before the PRRD takes the amendments to the Board of Directors for approval.

First, the PRRD works with internal and external subject matter experts to develop and clarify regulatory proposals. Generally, there is a public consultation phase where draft regulatory amendments, along with explanatory notes, are then released to the general public for feedback.

Following public consultation, the draft proposals are revised as necessary and released to public hearings. The public hearings, which are generally held in several locations throughout BC, provide stakeholders with a second opportunity to provide feedback. The Board of Directors carefully considers this feedback before approving any regulatory amendments.

If approved by the Board of Directors, an amended regulation typically comes into effect about three to four months later.

Stakeholders can submit proposals and provide feedback on the OHS Regulation and Policy Workplan, which is approved by the Board of Directors annually.

Stakeholders may also view both current and closed regulatory consultations and public hearings here.

Policy Development Process

Only WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors may amend WorkSafeBC policies. WorkSafeBC policies include those in the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume I and Volume II and the Assessment Manual, the classification and rate lists, and the Occupational Health and Safety policies in the Prevention Manual.

PRRD stakeholder consultations on specific policies are a key component of the policy development process. These consultations may include stakeholder meetings, or a wider consultation involving the publication of a discussion paper that outlines policy options and requests stakeholder feedback.

After consultation, the PRRD presents stakeholder feedback, together with policy options, to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors carefully considers stakeholder feedback before making any changes to policy.

Stakeholders can submit proposals and provide feedback on the Policy and Regulation Workplans, which are approved by WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors annually.

Stakeholders may also view both current and closed policy consultations and public hearings here.