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Amendments to Workers Compensation Act come into effect in Manitoba

January 5 2006 - Amendments intended to improve benefits, increase prevention, and strengthen accountability and governance measures came into effect January 1 2006.

Labour and Immigration Minister, Nancy Allan said:

"We undertook the long-overdue modernization of the Workers Compensation Act with the support and input of Manitoba's workers and employers. The finished product provides a framework for improved benefits, increased prevention strategies and enhanced firefighter protection as well as a greater level of accountability."

During the process of ameding the Act, the Workers Compensation Act Review Committee held public hearings across Manitoba and received over 200 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Workers Compensation Amendment Act was introduced in April 2005 with support from all three parties in the provincial legislature. The amendments now in effect include:

  • requiring an independent auditor to conduct a value-for-money audit of at least one WCB program every five years,
  • creating what is claimed to be the most modern Workers Compensation Board (WCB) corporate governance in Canada which would include separate audit and investment committees,
  • eliminating the government representative on the investment committee which is created by the board and accountable to stakeholders,
  • ensuring committee chairs are board members other than the WCB board chair,
  • renewing the focus on prevention,
  • providing wage replacement at 100 per cent for minimum wage earners,
  • eliminating benefit reductions for injured workers with longer claims,
  • eliminating benefit reductions for workers 45 and older,
  • increasing permanent injury benefits,
  • enabling employers to request a medical review panel in certain circumstances,
  • extending employer liability protection to directors of corporations who are employers, and
  • requiring the WCB, not employers, to pay the cost of transporting injured workers to hospital.

The amendments expanding the list of presumptive diseases for firefighters and extend this coverage to include volunteer and part-time firefighters came into force on royal assent and are already fully implemented.

"The valuable input of all stakeholders has allowed the government to introduce modern, responsive and effective legislation that supports our overall strategy to improve workplace health and safety," said Nancy Allan. "The legislation will bring Manitoba back into the mainstream of Canadian law."

 
 
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