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AN ACT TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND WELL‑BEING OF WORKING ALBERTANS

AN ACT TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND
WELL‑BEING OF WORKING ALBERTANS

Chapter 25


HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows:

1   The Occupational Health and Safety Act as set out in Schedule 1 is enacted and may be cited as Chapter O-2.1 of the Statutes of Alberta, 2017.

2   The Workers’ Compensation Act is amended as set out in Schedule 2.

 


Schedule 2

AMENDMENTS TO THE
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT

Amends RSA 2000 cW‑15

1   The Workers’ Compensation Act is amended by this Act.

 

4(1)  Section 1(1) is amended

                           (b)    by repealing clause (i) and substituting the following:

                                  (i)    “dependent child” means

                                        (i)    a child under the age of 18 years, or

                                      (ii)    a child under the age of 25 years who is enrolled at an educational institution approved by the Board;

(2)  Subsection (1)(b) applies with respect to accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

9   The following is added after section 9.1:

Code of Rights and Conduct

9.2(1)  The Board shall, in consultation with workers, employers, the Appeals Commission and the Fair Practices Office, establish a Code of Rights and Conduct that sets out the rights of workers and employers in their interaction with the Board and describes how the Board operates in recognition of those rights.

(2)  The Code of Rights and Conduct must include provisions

                                 (a)    conferring rights on workers and employers, including the right to participate in decisions that affect them,

                                 (b)    imposing obligations on the Board respecting the manner in which the Board interacts with workers and employers,

                                 (c)    providing for the procedure for making and handling complaints about breaches of the Code,

                                 (d)    providing for the consequences of, and remedies for, a breach of the Code, and

                                 (e)    any other matter specified in the regulations.

(3)  The rights and obligations in the Code of Rights and Conduct are in addition to any other rights and obligations under this Act, any other enactment or the general law.

(4)  The Board shall make the Code of Rights and Conduct available to the public by publishing it on the Board’s website and by any other means the Board considers appropriate.

 

11(1)  Section 13.1 is amended

                           (b)    by adding the following before subsection (3):

(2.4)  Interim relief may only be granted in accordance with policies established by the Board, which must be publicly available.

                            (c)    by adding the following after subsection (7):

(7.1)  Before deciding to hold a hearing to reconsider a matter under subsection (7), on receiving an application, the Appeals Commission shall review the information provided in support of the application under subsection (7) to determine whether there is an arguable case for reconsideration.

(7.2)  Where the Appeals Commission determines that there is an arguable case for reconsideration, the Appeals Commission shall hold a hearing to consider the merits of the application for reconsideration.

(7.3)  If the Appeals Commission determines that there is merit to the application for reconsideration, the Appeals Commission shall hold a hearing to reconsider the matter.

(2)  Subsection (1)(c) applies with respect to an application for reconsideration made on or after September 1, 2018.

 

12(1)  Section 13.2 is amended

                            (c)    in subsection (8) by striking out “one year” and substituting “2 years”;

(2)  Subsection (1)(c) applies with respect to decisions or determinations referred to in section 13.2(1) of the Workers’ Compensation Act made on or after September 1, 2018.

 

14   The following is added after section 23:

Part 3.1
Fair Practices Office

Fair Practices Office

23.1(1)  The Fair Practices Office is established and consists of the Fair Practices Commissioner appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and any employees that are necessary for the purposes of carrying out the business and affairs of the Fair Practices Office appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act.

(2)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may also appoint one or more Deputy Fair Practices Commissioners.

(3)  Subject to the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act and any applicable regulations under that Act, the Fair Practices Commissioner and any Deputy Fair Practices Commissioners may be appointed for a maximum term of 3 years and are eligible for reappointment for additional terms of not more than 3 years each.

(4)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall determine the remuneration that is payable to the Fair Practices Commissioner and a Deputy Fair Practices Commissioner.

(5)  The remuneration referred to in subsection (4) must be set in accordance with any applicable regulations under the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act.

Fair Practices Commissioner

23.2(1)  The Fair Practices Commissioner shall

                           (a)    subject to subsection (2), review and make recommendations to the Board, the Appeals Commission or the Medical Panels Office, or any one or more of them, as the Fair Practices Commissioner considers appropriate,

                                  (i)    relating to any matter under this Act, for the purpose of determining administrative fairness and processes used to reach decisions, and

                                (ii)    relating to a breach of the Code of Rights and Conduct,

                           (b)    establish programs directed at providing independent advice, assistance and advocacy services to employers and to workers and their dependants, and

                           (c)    perform any other function or duty provided for in the regulations.

(2)  In accordance with the regulations, the Fair Practices Commissioner may review and make recommendations on a matter referred to in subsection (1)(a),

                           (a)    if a complaint is made in accordance with the regulations to the Fair Practices Commissioner by a worker, the worker’s dependant or an employer,

                           (b)    if a matter is referred to the Commissioner by the Board or the Appeals Commission, or

                           (c)    on the Commissioner’s own motion.

(3)  The powers and duties conferred on the Fair Practices Commissioner by this section may be exercised and performed notwithstanding any provision in this Act or any other Act to the effect

                           (a)    that any matter referred to in subsection (1)(a) is final,

                           (b)    that no appeal lies in respect of the matter referred to in subsection (1)(a), or

                           (c)    that no proceeding or decision of the Board, the Appeals Commission or the Medical Panels Office, or by any officer, employee or member of the Board, the Appeals Commission or the Medical Panels Office whose decision, act or omission it is, may be challenged, reviewed, quashed or called into question.

(4)  The Fair Practices Office may request the Board, the Appeals Commission, the Medical Panels Office, a worker, worker’s dependant or employer to provide it with any records or information, including personal information, that it considers necessary to make a recommendation, including the records and information relating to a matter that is being reviewed that are in the possession of the Board or the review body.

(5)  For the purposes of subsection (4),

                           (a)    the Fair Practices Office is authorized to collect and use the records and information, and

                           (b)    the Board, the Appeals Commission and the Medical Panels Office are authorized to disclose the records and information.

(6)  The Board, the Appeals Commission and the Medical Panels Office may each enter into an agreement with the Fair Practices Office respecting the manner in which the records and information required to be provided under subsection (4) are to be provided to the Fair Practices Office, including by electronic means.

(7)  A person receiving records and information under this section shall not use or disclose the records or information except for a purpose related to this section.

Annual report and meetings

23.3(1)  The Fair Practices Commissioner shall, in a form satisfactory to the Minister, 

                           (a)    submit a report to the Minister annually, and

                           (b)    at any other times that the Minister directs, submit a report containing the information requested by the Minister.

(2)  The Fair Practices Commissioner shall meet with the Board at least annually and at any other times that the Minister directs or that the Fair Practices Commissioner requests.

Costs of the Fair Practices Office

23.4   The costs of carrying on the operations of the Fair Practices Office, as approved by the Minister, and the remuneration payable to the Fair Practices Commissioner shall be paid by the Minister and be reimbursed quarterly to the Crown by the Board from the Accident Fund.

Immunity

23.5   No action may be maintained or brought against the Fair Practices Commissioner, a Deputy Fair Practices Commissioner or any employees or agents of the Fair Practices Office in respect of any act or decision done or made in the honest belief that it was within the jurisdiction of the Fair Practices Office.

Regulations

23.6   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

                           (a)    respecting the functions and duties of the Fair Practices Office;

                           (b)    respecting the functions and duties of the Fair Practices Commissioner;

                           (c)    respecting the ownership, custody, control, collection, use and disclosure of records, reports and information submitted to or created or acquired by the Fair Practices Office, the Fair Practices Commissioner or a Deputy Fair Practices Commissioner;

                           (d)    respecting any matter that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the intent of this section and sections 23.1 to 23.5.

 

19   Section 38(1) is repealed and the following is substituted:

Medical examination and investigation

38(1)  A worker claiming compensation or to whom compensation is payable under this Act shall, if the Board requires it, undergo a medical examination, at a time and place determined by the Board, to be conducted by a physician selected by the worker from a roster established by the Medical Panels Office, and the Board shall pay the costs of that examination.

 

20   Section 45 is amended by adding the following after subsection (4):

(5)  The review body may grant interim relief while the decision is under review in accordance with policies established by the Board, which must be publicly available.

 

21   Sections 46.1 to 46.4 are repealed and the following is substituted:

Minister responsible for Medical Panels Office

46.1   The Minister is responsible for the Medical Panels Office.

Medical Panels Office

46.2(1)  The Medical Panels Office is established and consists of, subject to subsection (2), the Medical Panels Commissioner appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and any employees that are necessary for the purposes of carrying out the business and affairs of the Medical Panels Office appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act.

(2)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may also appoint one or more Deputy Medical Panels Commissioners.

(3)  A Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner may act in the absence of the Medical Panels Commissioner and may carry out any power, duty or function delegated under subsection (8).

(4)  Subject to the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act and any applicable regulations under that Act, the Medical Panels Commissioner and any Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner may be appointed for a maximum term of 3 years and are eligible for reappointment for additional terms of not more than 3 years each.

(5)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall determine the remuneration that is payable to the Medical Panels Commissioner and a Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner.

(6)  The remuneration referred to in subsection (5) must be set in accordance with any applicable regulations under the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act.

(7)  In addition to the Medical Panels Commissioner’s other powers, duties and functions under this Act, the Medical Panels Commissioner is responsible for the operation of the medical panel process, including, without limitation,

                                 (a)    coordinating the referral of medical issues and matters to medical panels,

`                               (b)    developing and implementing processes to ensure the timely completion of medical panel reviews and reports,

                                 (c)    establishing the roster referred to in section 38(1),

                                 (d)    ensuring the efficient operation and management of the Medical Panels Office, and

                                 (e)    any other functions prescribed in the regulations.

(8)  The Medical Panels Commissioner may, in writing, delegate any powers, duties and functions of the Medical Panels Commissioner to the Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner. 

(9)  The costs of carrying on the operations of the Medical Panels Office, as approved by the Minister, and the remuneration payable to the Medical Panels Commissioner and any Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner shall be paid by the Minister and be reimbursed quarterly to the Crown by the Board from the Accident Fund.

(10)  The Medical Panels Commissioner shall, in a form satisfactory to the Minister, 

                                 (a)    submit a report to the Minister annually, and

                                 (b)    at any other times that the Minister directs, submit a report containing the information requested by the Minister.

(11)  No action may be maintained or brought against the Medical Panels Commissioner, a Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner, a medical panel or a member of a medical panel or any employees or agents of the Medical Panels Office in respect of any act or decision done or made in the honest belief that it was within the jurisdiction of the Medical Panels Commissioner or the Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner.

Medical panels

46.3(1)  Where it considers it appropriate to do so, the Board or the Appeals Commission may, in the course of evaluating a claim for compensation under this Act, request that a medical panel be established under this section to deal with a medical issue relative to the claim.

(2)  Where, in the Board’s or the Appeals Commission’s opinion, a difference of medical opinion arises in the course of the Board’s or Appeals Commission’s evaluation of a claim for compensation under this Act, the Board or the Appeals Commission, as the case may be, shall request that a medical panel be established to deal with the matter.

(3)  Where a difference of medical opinion arises in the course of evaluating a claim for compensation under this Act and a medical panel has not been established to deal with the matter under subsection (2), the worker or a worker’s dependant may apply to the Appeals Commission for the purpose of having a medical panel established to deal with the matter if the worker or the worker’s dependant, as the case may be, has exhausted the worker’s or dependant’s rights to a review under section 46.

(4)  The Appeals Commission shall request that a medical panel be established to deal with the matter referred to in the application if

                                 (a)    the requirement under subsection (3) is met, and

                                 (b)    in the Appeals Commission’s opinion, there is a difference of medical opinion.

(5)  A request for the establishment of a medical panel shall be made to the Medical Panels Office and must include the records and information, including personal information, available to the Board or the Appeals Commission, as the case may be, relating to the medical issue or matter.

(6)  For the purposes of subsection (5),

                                 (a)    the Medical Panels Office is authorized to collect and use the records and information, and

                                 (b)    the Board and the Appeals Commission are authorized to disclose the records and information.

(7)  Where the Medical Panels Office receives a request for the establishment of a medical panel, the Medical Panels Commissioner shall, in accordance with the regulations and subject to section 46.4, establish a medical panel to deal with the issue or matter that is the subject of the application.

(8)  A person is not eligible to be a member of a medical panel unless the person is a regulated member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta who holds a practice permit issued under the Health Professions Act or has a similar status under similar legislation in a jurisdiction outside Alberta.

(9)  For the purposes of providing a report of its medical findings, the medical panel established under subsection (7)

                                 (a)    shall review the records and information received under subsection (5),

                                 (b)    if the worker has selected a physician to provide input and make representations on behalf of the worker before a medical panel pursuant to the regulations, shall arrange to receive the physician’s input and representations, and

                                 (c)    may

                                        (i)    interview or examine the worker,

                                      (ii)    invite a physician, including the worker’s treating physician, and any other health provider who holds a practice permit under the Health Professions Act whom the medical panel considers appropriate, to provide input,

                                     (iii)    seek, or request the Medical Panels Commissioner to seek, advice or information relevant to the medical issue or matter from one or more of any of the following:

                                            (A)    physicians;

                                            (B)    medical specialists;

                                            (C)    health care providers who hold a practice permit under the Health Professions Act,

                                           and

                                     (iv)    request the Medical Panels Commissioner to do one or both of the following:

                                            (A)    to arrange for any tests on or assessments of the worker;

                                            (B)    to compile medical information relevant to the medical issue or matter.

(10)  For the purposes of this section, a difference of medical opinion arises where

                                 (a)    the medical issue is substantial and material to the claim,

                                 (b)    the physicians who provided the medical opinions are in possession of the same facts in respect of the medical issue,

                                 (c)    the physicians have reasonably similar qualifications or expertise in respect of the medical issue, and

                                 (d)    the medical opinions relate to the same time frame

and the Board is not able to resolve the outstanding medical issue through consultation with the physicians.

(11)  If the evidence in support of the opposite sides of an issue relating to the difference of a medical opinion in the course of evaluating a claim for compensation is approximately equal, the issue shall be resolved in favour of the worker.

(12)  The medical findings of a medical panel are binding on the Board, the Appeals Commission and all other persons with a direct interest in the claim.

(13)  The medical findings of a medical panel are final and conclusive and not open to question or review in any court.

Case conferencing

46.4(1)  Before referring a matter to a medical panel under section 46.3, and unless it is impractical to do so, the Medical Panels Commissioner may request any of the following to attend a case conference:

                                 (a)    any physicians referred to in section 46.3(10);

                                 (b)    any health care provider who holds a practice permit under the Health Professions Act the Medical Panels Commissioner considers appropriate;

                                 (c)    the parties;

                                 (d)    any other person the Medical Panels Commissioner considers appropriate.

(2)  The participants in the conference may consider

                                 (a)    the resolution of the difference of medical opinion, the process for resolving the difference and how the resolution process can be facilitated,

                                 (b)    simplification or clarification of a matter or issue referred to the medical panel under section 46.3, and

                                 (c)    any other matter that may aid in the resolution or facilitate the resolution of the matter referred to the medical panel.

(3)  The Medical Panels Commissioner shall provide the parties and any other person directed to attend the conference with notice of the conference and any material to be relied on in the conference in a reasonable time before the date the conference is scheduled to take place.

(4)  The Medical Panels Commissioner may make a procedural order before, at or following the conference.

(5)  A case conference and any statements disclosed during the conference are without prejudice.

Regulations

46.5   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

                                 (a)    respecting the powers, duties and functions of the Medical Panels Commissioner and the Medical Panels Office;

                                 (b)    respecting the ownership, custody, control, collection, use and disclosure of records, reports and information submitted to or created or acquired by the Medical Panels Office, the Medical Panels Commissioner, a Deputy Medical Panels Commissioner and a medical panel;

                                 (c)    respecting the appointment and removal of the members of a medical panel;

                                 (d)    respecting the remuneration and expenses to be paid to the members of a medical panel;

                                 (e)    respecting the duties of the members of a medical panel;

                                 (f)    respecting applications under section 46.3;

                                 (g)    respecting the practice and procedure applicable to proceedings before a medical panel;

                                 (h)    respecting the establishment and maintenance of the roster referred to in section 38(1);

                                  (i)    respecting the selection of a physician for the purpose of section 38(1);

                                  (j)    respecting the procedures relating to a case conference referred to in section 46.4;

                                 (k)    respecting any matter that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the intent of sections 46.1 to 46.4.

 

22(1)  Section 47(4) is amended by striking out “Subject to section 70(3), a lump” and substituting “A lump”.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

23(1)  Section 56 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Compensation for disability

56(1)  The Board shall pay periodic compensation

                                 (a)    on a monthly basis in the case of permanent disability,

                                 (b)    on a bi‑weekly basis in the case of temporary disability, or

                                 (c)    on a basis other than under clause (a) or (b), if the Board considers it appropriate to do so.

(2)  If an accident results in an impairment of earning capacity after the date of the accident, the Board shall estimate the impairment of earning capacity resulting from the accident and shall pay periodic compensation to the worker in an amount equal to 90% of the estimated loss of net earnings as determined by the Board in accordance with subsection (3).

(3)  Subject to section 68(1), the estimated loss of net earnings shall be based on the difference between

                                 (a)    the worker’s net earnings at the time of the accident based on a period or periods of time prior to the accident or the date of disablement, as the case may be, that, in the Board’s opinion, fairly and justly represent the worker’s net earnings at that time, and

                                 (b)    the greater of the worker’s

                                        (i)    actual earnings after the accident, and

                                      (ii)    estimated earning capacity after the accident,

                                         as periodically determined by the Board.

(4)  Subject to section 88.1, the Board may estimate earning capacity referred to in subsection (3)(b)(ii) only after the Board has demonstrated it has made every reasonable effort to support the worker in the worker’s search for suitable employment.

(5)  Compensation shall be paid in accordance with subsection (1) for as long as the impairment of earning capacity lasts.

(6)  If the period or periods of time prior to the accident referred to in subsection (3)(a) are, in the Board’s opinion, insufficient to allow the Board to calculate the worker’s net earnings, the Board may pay periodic compensation based on another amount as determined by the Board.

(7)  In making a calculation under subsection (3), the Board shall consider separately each source of employment the worker had at the time of the accident from which the worker no longer has the ability to earn wages or in which the worker’s ability to earn wages is impaired, due to the accident, regardless of whether the source of employment is in an industry to which this Act applies.

(8)  Payments customarily made by an employer to a worker to cover any special expenses incurred by the worker in the course of the worker’s employment shall not be included in computing the worker’s net earnings under subsection (3) for the purposes of this Act.

(9)  In determining impairment of earning capacity, the Board shall not consider any disability benefit paid by the employer, either by way of continued salary or otherwise.

(10)  The amount of the periodic payment of compensation is

                                 (a)    in the case of permanent total disability and temporary total disability, 90% of the worker’s net earnings, and

                                 (b)    in the case of permanent partial disability and temporary partial disability, a proportionate part of 90% of the worker’s net earnings based on the Board’s estimate of the impairment of earning capacity from the nature and degree of disability.

(11)  Compensation for permanent total disability and permanent partial disability is payable to the worker during the worker’s lifetime and must not be less than

                                 (a)    in the case of permanent total disability, $1640.90 per month, and

                                 (b)    in the case of permanent partial disability, a proportionate part of $1640.90 per month based on the Board’s estimate of the impairment of earning capacity from the nature and degree of disability.

(12)  Compensation for temporary total disability and temporary partial disability is payable to the worker only as long as the disability lasts, and compensation for temporary total disability must be

                                 (a)    where the worker’s bi‑weekly net earnings are greater than the sum referred to in subsection (11)(a), the greater of

                                        (i)    the sum referred to in subsection (11)(a), and

                                      (ii)    the bi‑weekly equivalent of the amount that the worker would have received under subsection (10) had the worker been permanently totally disabled,

                                     and

                                 (b)    where the worker’s bi‑weekly net earnings are equal to or less than the sum referred to in subsection (11)(a), 100% of those bi‑weekly net earnings.

(13)  Where work is made available to a worker who is temporarily partially disabled and the Board is satisfied that the worker is medically and physically capable of doing the work and that, considering all the circumstances, it is fair and just to expect the worker to accept the work, the following applies, notwithstanding subsection (12):

                                 (a)    if the worker accepts the work, the Board shall pay periodic compensation to the worker if, in doing the work, the worker suffers an earnings loss that is caused by the residual disability, and in that case the compensation must be in an amount that is a proportionate part of 90% of the worker’s earnings loss, based on the Board’s estimate of the degree to which the earnings loss is caused by the residual disability;

                                 (b)    if the worker refuses the work, the Board shall continue to pay periodic compensation to the worker in accordance with clause (a) as if the worker had accepted the work.

(14)  Notwithstanding subsection (13), if the worker is subsequently terminated or the work is withdrawn by the employer, the Board shall pay compensation for temporary total disability until the Board determines the worker is capable of other suitable employment.

(15)  Subsection (13) applies regardless of whether the work is in an industry to which this Act applies.

(16)  Where the Board determines that a worker has reached both medical and vocational plateaus in respect of the worker’s injury, and the worker continues to suffer impairment of earning capacity, the Board shall pay to the worker periodic compensation in the form of an economic loss payment for permanent disability, calculated in accordance with subsection (3).

(17)  After the worker has reached both medical and vocational plateaus, the Board may, at such times as it considers appropriate, investigate the worker’s circumstances for the purposes of reviewing the worker’s entitlement to an economic loss payment, and may, following the investigation, confirm or adjust the level of the economic loss payment payable in accordance with the worker’s actual or estimated earning capacity at the time.

(18)  In computing net earnings for the purposes of this Act with respect to accidents that occurred before September 1, 2018, no regard may be taken of the aggregate gross annual earnings of the worker in excess of an amount prescribed by order of the Board.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

24   The following is added after section 56:

Non‑economic loss payment

56.1(1)  When the worker has reached medical plateau, the Board shall pay the worker a non‑economic loss payment as compensation for permanent clinical impairment, including disfigurement, that results from the accident.

(2)  A worker’s non‑economic loss payment is calculated by multiplying the worker’s percentage of permanent clinical impairment by $90 772.20.

(3)  This section applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

25(1)  Sections 57 and 58 are repealed.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

29   Section 65 is repealed.

 

30   Section 66 is repealed.

 

31   Section 67 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Compensation to learner and apprentice

67(1)  If a worker who is a learner suffers impairment of earning capacity because of an accident, the periodic compensation to which the worker is entitled must be calculated on the same basis as if the worker were, at the time of the accident, a beginner in the industry in which the worker was a learner.

(2)  If a worker who is an apprentice in an industry suffers impairment of earning capacity because of an accident and is entitled to periodic compensation, the Board may grant the worker an adjustment in the periodic compensation at the time that the worker would, in the normal course, have become qualified in the worker’s trade.

 

32(1)  Section 68 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Increase in compensation for young workers

68(1)  For the purposes of section 56, the worker’s net earnings is the Alberta average weekly earnings for the year prior to the issuance of the compensation payment if

                                 (a)    the worker was

                                        (i)    under the age of 25 years at the date of the accident, or

                                      (ii)    25 years of age or older at the date of the accident and was enrolled in a vocational or academic program approved by the Board,  

                                 (b)    the Alberta average weekly earnings exceed the worker’s actual net earnings at the time of the accident, and

                                 (c)    the worker

                                        (i)    has been assessed as having a permanent clinical impairment of 50% or higher, or

                                      (ii)    has been receiving compensation for temporary disability for 24 months after the date of the accident and is expected to have a permanent clinical impairment of 50% or higher.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the Alberta average weekly earnings is an amount based on the average weekly earnings for Alberta as published annually by Statistics Canada for the year preceding the date of the accident.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

33   Section 69 is repealed.

 

34(1)  Section 70 is repealed and the following is substituted:

Compensation for death

70(1)  For the purposes of this Act, if at the time of the worker’s death there is both a spouse and an adult interdependent partner of the worker, then

                                 (a)    if the spouse is a dependent spouse, the spouse is entitled to a pension under this section, or

                                 (b)    if the spouse is not a dependent spouse and the adult interdependent partner is a dependant, the adult interdependent partner is entitled to a pension under this section,

and nothing in this subsection affects the rights under this Act of dependent children of either relationship.

(2)  If a worker dies as a result of an accident and leaves a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner, a pension is, subject to this section, payable to the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner in an amount equal to the pension the worker would have received had the worker lived and been permanently totally disabled.

(3)  If a worker dies as a result of an accident and leaves a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner and dependent children, the pension payable under subsection (2) shall be paid to the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner for the dependent spouse’s or dependent adult interdependent partner’s benefit and the benefit of the dependent children until 5 years has expired from the month in which there is no longer a dependent child.

(4)  If, following the month in which there is no longer a dependent child, a child who is 18 years of age or older but less than 25 years of age becomes a dependent child because of being enrolled at an educational institution approved by the Board, the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner is entitled to a pension until the child is no longer a dependent child.

(5)  If a worker dies as a result of an accident and leaves a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner and no dependent children, the pension payable under subsection (2) is payable to the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner for a term of 5 years.

(6)  If a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner is not gainfully employed in the month in which the pension payable in accordance with subsection (3) or (5) ends, and the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner accepts vocational or other rehabilitation services referred to in section 89(1), the pension payable under subsection (2) continues until the earlier of

                                 (a)    the date the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner becomes gainfully employed, and

                                 (b)    the expiration of 5 years after the pension payable under subsection (3) or (5) ends.

(7)  A pension under subsection (6) to a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner with no dependent children or where there is no longer a dependent child is payable until

                                 (a)    the worker would have attained the age of 65, or

                                 (b)    the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner attains the age of 65,

whichever is later.

(8)  If a worker dies as a result of an accident and

                                 (a)    leaves dependent children but no dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner, or

                                 (b)    leaves a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner and dependent children, but the dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner later dies,

the pension payable under subsection (2) shall be paid to the person who acts as guardian of the dependent children for the maintenance and education of the dependent children until the month in which there is no longer a dependent child, at which time the pension payable under subsection (2) continues for a term of 5 years, to be divided equally among the surviving children who were dependent children at the time of the worker’s death.

(9)  If more than one person is acting as a guardian referred to in subsection (8), the Board may divide the amount payable under that subsection proportionately among those persons according to the number of children of whom they are the guardian.

(10)  Notwithstanding anything in this Act, if the Board considers that a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner is incapable of substantially benefitting from rehabilitation services referred to in section 89(1)(c) or of becoming gainfully employed, the Board may continue payment of the pension payable under subsection (2), or a percentage of it that the Board considers appropriate, for as long as the incapability continues.

(11)  Where a dependent spouse or dependent adult interdependent partner is receiving a pension other than under subsection (10) and that pension ends, that person is entitled to receive a lump sum retirement benefit calculated by multiplying the total amount of the pension paid up to the month in which the pension payments ended by 2%.

2017 c25 Sched. 2 s35

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

36(1)  Section 71 is amended by striking out “$165 per month” and substituting “$420 per month”.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

37(1)  Section 72 is amended by striking out “$83” and substituting “$420”.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

39(1)  The following is added after section 88:

Part 5.1
Obligation to Reinstate Worker and Continue to Provide Benefits

Obligation to return injured
workers to work

88.1(1)  In accordance with this section, an employer shall offer to reinstate a worker

                                 (a)    who has been unable to work as a result of an accident, and

                                 (b)    who, on the date of the accident, had been employed by the employer for at least 12 continuous months on a full-time or regular part-time basis.

(2)  This section does not apply to

                                 (a)    persons declared to be workers pursuant to section 14(3),

                                 (b)    persons whose applications under section 15 have been approved by the Board,

                                 (c)    individuals deemed to be workers pursuant to section 16,

                                 (d)    persons declared to be workers by orders of the Board made pursuant to the regulations, or

                                 (e)    unless subject to an order issued under section 14(2), employers and workers in an industry designated by the regulations as being exempt.

(3)  The employer shall accommodate the work or the workplace to the needs of the worker to the extent that the accommodation does not cause the employer undue hardship.

(4)  When the worker is medically and physically capable to perform the essential duties of the worker’s employment on the date of the accident, the employer shall

                                 (a)    offer to reinstate the worker in the position the worker held on the date of the accident, or

                                 (b)    offer to provide the worker with alternative employment of a comparable nature at not less than the earnings and benefits earned by the worker on the date of the accident.

(5)  When the worker is medically and physically capable to perform suitable work but is unable to perform the essential duties of the worker’s employment on the date of the accident, the employer shall offer the worker the first opportunity to accept suitable employment that becomes available with the employer.

(6)  Where an employer reinstates a worker in accordance with this section and then terminates the employment, the employer is presumed not to have fulfilled the employer’s obligations under this section if the worker is terminated

                                 (a)    within 6 months after reinstatement, or

                                 (b)    while the worker is continuing to receive compensation under this Act.

(7)  The employer may rebut the presumption under subsection (6) by demonstrating to the Board that the termination was not related to the worker’s accident.

(8)  Nothing in this section prevents an employer from

                                 (a)    refusing to continue to employ a worker,

                                 (b)    terminating, laying off or suspending a worker, or

                                 (c)    altering the status of or transferring a worker,

if the employer satisfies the Board that the employer’s decision to do so was for a business reason made in good faith and that the decision was not affected by the worker being or having been unable to work as a result of an accident.

(9)  The employer or the worker shall notify the Board of disputes concerning whether the employer has fulfilled the employer’s obligations to the worker under this section.

(10)  On receiving a notice under subsection (9), the Board shall, within 60 days or within any longer period that the Board allows, determine whether the employer has fulfilled the employer’s obligations to the worker under this section.

(1)  The Board may attempt to resolve the dispute referred to in subsection (9) through mediation.

(12)  The Board is not required to make a determination under subsection (10) where the worker’s notice under subsection (9) is provided to the Board more than 3 months after the date of termination.

(13)  If the Board determines that the employer has not complied with an obligation under this section, the employer is subject to an administrative penalty under section 152.1 in an amount not exceeding the amount of the worker’s net average earnings for the year before the accident.

(14)  The Board may provide to the worker an amount not exceeding the penalty paid by the employer under subsection (13).

(15)  If the employer’s obligations under this section provide the worker greater reinstatement terms than does a collective agreement that is binding on the employer, this section prevails over the collective agreement except that this subsection does not operate to displace the seniority provisions of the collective agreement.

(16)  An employer is obligated under this section until the date on which the worker declines an offer from the employer to reinstate the worker that, in the opinion of the Board, complied with this section.

(17)  The employer of an injured worker shall cooperate in the early and safe return to work of the worker by

                                 (a)    contacting the worker as soon as possible after the accident occurs and maintaining communication throughout the period of the worker’s recovery and impairment,

                                 (b)    attempting to provide suitable employment that is available and consistent with the worker’s functional abilities and that, when possible, restores the worker’s earnings payable to the worker on the date of the accident,

                                 (c)    giving the Board such information as the Board may request concerning the worker’s return to work, and

                                 (d)    doing such other things as may be prescribed by the Board.

(18)  The worker shall cooperate in the worker’s early and safe return to work by

                                 (a)    contacting the worker’s employer as soon as possible after the accident occurs and maintaining communication throughout the period of the worker’s recovery and impairment,

                                 (b)    assisting the employer, as may be required or requested, to identify suitable employment that is available and consistent with the worker’s functional abilities and that, when possible, restores the worker’s earnings payable to the worker on the date of the accident,

                                 (c)    giving the Board such information as the Board may request concerning the worker’s return to work, and

                                 (d)    doing such other things as may be prescribed by the Board.

(19)  If a worker fails to comply with subsection (18), the Board may reduce or suspend the compensation payable to the worker.

(20)  For the purposes of section 22 of the Alberta Human Rights Act,

                                 (a)    the Board shall notify the director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission if a matter under this section is being dealt with by the Board under this section, and

                                 (b)    the Appeals Commission shall notify the director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission if a matter under this section is under appeal to the Appeals Commission. 

Continuation of employment benefits

88.2(1)  In this section, “contributions for health benefits”, in relation to a worker, means amounts paid in whole or in part by an employer on behalf of the worker or the worker’s spouse or adult interdependent partner or dependants for health benefits.

(2)  Throughout the first year after a worker is injured as a result of an accident, the employer shall make contributions for health benefits when the worker is absent from work because of the injury sustained from the accident. However, the contributions are required only if

                                 (a)    the employer was making contributions for health benefits in respect of the worker when the accident occurred, and

                                 (b)    the worker continues to pay the worker’s contributions, if any, for the health benefits while the worker is absent from work.

(3)  Subsection (2) does not apply to persons or individuals referred to in section 88.1(2).

(4)  If an employer fails to make contributions for health benefits under subsection (2) and the worker incurs expenses for the provision of health services that would otherwise have been covered by the health benefit, the Board shall reimburse the worker for the amount incurred and the employer is liable to the Board for the amount so paid.

(5)  If the Board determines that the employer has not complied with an obligation under this section, the employer is subject to an administrative penalty under section 152.1 in an amount not exceeding one year’s contributions for health benefits in respect of the worker.

(6)  The Board may provide to the worker an amount not exceeding the penalty paid by the employer under subsection (5).

(7)  Where an employer participates in a multi-employer benefit plan in respect of a health benefit, subsection (2) does not apply with respect to that employment benefit if

                                 (a)    the plan continues to provide the worker with the health benefit to which the worker would otherwise be entitled, and

                                 (b)    the plan does not require the employer to make contributions during the worker’s absence and does not require the worker to draw on the benefit credits, if any, under the plan during the absence.

(8)  For the purpose of determining a worker’s entitlement to an employment benefit under a health benefit plan, fund or arrangement, the worker is deemed to continue to be employed by the employer for one year after the date of the accident.

(2)  Subsection (1) applies in respect of accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2018.

 

41   Section 104 is repealed.

 

43   Section 119 is amended by adding the following after subsection (4):

(5)  The review body may grant interim relief while the decision is under review in accordance with policies established by the Board, which must be publicly available.

 

46   Section 152.1 is amended

                            (a)    in subsection (1) by striking out “103, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 138, 139, 140, 140.1, 145, 147(3) or 151.1” and substituting “88.1, 88.2(2), 103, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 138, 139, 140, 140.1, 145, 147(5) or 151.1”;

                           (b)    in subsection (3) by striking out “An administrative penalty” and substituting “Subject to sections 88.1(13) and 88.2(5), an administrative penalty”.

Transitional regulations

50   The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations providing for the transitional application of the amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act made by this Act.

Coming into force

51(1)  Sections 11(1)(a), 12(1)(a), (b) and (d), 26, 27, 28, 35, 38, 42, 44 and 45 come into force on January 1, 2018.

(2)  Sections 4(1)(a), 15, 16, 17 and 18 come into force on April 1, 2018.

(3)  Sections 4(1)(b) and (2), 9, 11(1)(b) and (c) and (2), 12(1)(c) and (2), 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 41, 43 and 46 come into force on September 1, 2018.

(4)  Section 14 comes into force on December 1, 2018.

(5)  Sections 19 and 21 come into force on Proclamation.