News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 19, 2016

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT


Manitoba's Five-year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Includes Release of Preliminary Report from Chief Prevention Officer: Minister Braun

The province will launch a comprehensive review of the Workers Compensation Act this year as required by the act, Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun announced today, adding a committee has been formed to review workers compensation legislation to ensure it continues to meet the needs of both workers and employers in Manitoba’s changing workplaces.

“This review will build on the many important changes that have been made to strengthen workplace safety and health laws, and prevent workplace injuries over the last decade,” said Minister Braun.  “It’s fitting that in this centennial year of the founding of Manitoba’s Workers Compensation Board, we look at how we can better prevent injuries, improve support to help workers heal and get back to work, and ensure the WCB continues to align with its founding principles.”  

The committee will include a representative from business, labour and the public interest, and its mandate will be to conduct a complete review of the act with input from all stakeholder groups, the minister said.  After hearing all points of view, the committee will submit a report to the government, she added.

The committee will consist of:

  • Michael Werier, chairperson;
  • Christopher Lorenc, representing employers;
  • Anna Rothney, representing labour; and
  • Ken Sutherland, representing the public interest.

As part of the review, the minister noted the committee is being asked to consider the following issues:

  • reviewing the alignment of the act with its founding principles
  • aligning the act with workplace illness and injury prevention initiatives outlined in Manitoba’s
    Five-Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention
    ;
  • examining provisions in the act respecting the approach to addressing mental health in the workplace; and
  • ensuring the WCB is current with emerging trends in injury and illness, and the most up-to-date health and safety knowledge and medical practices.

Manitoba’s Five Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Preventionset out 10 action areas to improve workplace safety and health for workers and employers. 

“We’re pleased that a review committee has been struck to engage with labour and employer stakeholders on opportunities to strengthen this legislation,” said Kevin Rebeck, president, Manitoba Federation of Labour.  “On its 100th anniversary, it is especially timely to review how the WCB is meeting its original founding principles and keeping pace with current needs.”

The last major review of the act, in 2005, generated 100 recommendations for improvements to the system.  The 2005 review, chaired by Prof. Wally Fox-Decent, laid the groundwork for many important amendments to the act over the last 10 years, the minister said.

“I am pleased that a similar commission has been formed on this occasion, including Chris Lorenc as employer representative, who also sat on the Fox-Decent commission,” said William Gardner, chair, Manitoba Employers Council.  “I look forward to a consensus being achieved again.”

The minister also noted the release of a preliminary report by Manitoba’s chief protection officer,Dennis Nikkel.  The preliminary report provides an update on the activities of the Workplace Safety and Health Branch, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, SAFE Work Manitoba and other key stakeholders including industry safety associations.

The full report of the chief prevention officer will be released on Sept. 1, Minister Braun said.  She noted the full report is expected to include further analysis of serious incidents including acute hazard fatalities, occupational disease and disease-related fatalities, injury and illness data, updates on the development of leading indicators for measuring the state of safety and health in Manitoba, and further recommendations on priorities for prevention activity.

“The chief prevention officer will strengthen accountability and transparency to ensure that we are making progress on the commitments we made in our five-year plan, and identifying and responding to emerging trends in workplace safety and health,” said Minister Braun.

The chief prevention officer’s preliminary report can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/labour/safety.

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