RICHMOND, B.C. — The workers’ compensation system in B.C. could be getting a major overhaul in the coming year.
Harry Bains, minister of labour, announced he will be exploring a series of reforms to improve programs and services for injured workers to ensure workers are treated fairly when they access the system.
“My top priority will always be the health and safety of B.C.’s workers, which includes supporting those who have been injured on the job,” said Bains in a statement. “For far too long, the needs of injured workers have not been met.”
Bains added he believes the ministry has made significant changes since 2017 to bring balance to workers’ compensation and create a strong and sustainable system that supports the needs of workers and employers. But he would like to do more.
He said the ministry is looking at recommendations from several expert reports received by government since 2017, including the Helps, Petrie, Boygo and Patterson reports, to guide the changes. Bains noted a crucial part of the process will be consultations with employers, workers and other stakeholders.
He cited protecting workers, the public and the environment from asbestos exposure as a top priority, noting the ministry is reviewing options for safe asbestos abatement. Also on the list of priorities is affordable and stable premium rates paid by employers.
“My ministry and WorkSafeBC are committed to supporting all those who rely on the workers’ compensation system during extremely difficult times in their lives,” said Bains. “We are encouraged by the progress we have made so far, and we know we have much more to do.”