WCB royal commission lacks balance
Proposals would reward negligent employers, says HEU
B.C.'s largest health care union says recommendations contained in the final installment of the WCB royal commission's report would reward employers who are injuring health care workers in increasing numbers.
"At first blush, there appears to be a shocking lack of balance in the recommendations of the royal commission," says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. "While recognizing the barriers faced by injured workers in their pursuit of WCB benefits, the royal commission report’s concrete recommendations take clear aim at injured workers’ benefit levels."
Allnutt says the royal commission's proposal to reduce WCB compensation rates from 75 per cent of gross earnings to 90 per cent of net earnings is completely unjustified in the face of a 7.5 per cent increase in injury rates in health care workplaces, B.C.'s most dangerous for on-the-job injuries.
"This scheme would reward health employers who have failed to provide safe workplaces while at the same time slashing benefits to injured health care workers," says Allnutt.
HEU is also opposed to a proposed offset of WCB compensation by amounts received from the Canada Pension Plan. "There is no justification for a raid by negligent employers on the pension plan contributions of workers and employers who've provided safe workplaces," says Allnutt.
And while the royal commission has recommended steps to reduce the red tape workers face in the appeal process, Allnutt says the royal commission’s proposal to streamline appeals may actually deprive workers of their right to a fair hearing.
Allnutt says his union will work hard to make sure that any changes to WCB legislation promote safer workplaces and protect benefits to injured workers.