Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 28, 2014


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Legislation would Complement New Enforcement Measures, WCB Assessment Rate Model Review: Minister Braun

Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun will introduce changes today that would better protect the rights of workers injured on the job, increase fines and penalties for offences under the Workers Compensation Act and consolidate workplace injury and illness prevention services to better serve the public.

The minister also announced today new measures to support safe workplaces including a new mobile unit with new high-visibility vehicle markings for workplace health and safety officers, a new serious injury support worker position in the Worker Advisor Office, and Manitoba’s first annual leadership conference for safety and health committees.

“Today is the Day of Mourning, a day to remember those who were killed or injured on the job, while strengthening our commitment to safe workplaces,” said Minister Braun.  “Every worker has a right to a safe and healthy workplace.  These changes will help us reach our goal of making Manitoba the safest place to work in North America.”

A recent report released by the WCB documented frequent instances of claim suppression by employers.  These proposed amendments would broaden worker protection by increasing penalties and requiring an employer who takes discriminatory action against a worker to prove the action was unrelated to the worker making a claim.

“We know from WCB research that claim suppression is happening far too often, to far too many workers,” said Minister Braun.  “New staff and resources are being put in place to investigate allegations of claim suppression.  This amendment will complement that work.”

The minister noted that in addition to improved enforcement, a comprehensive review of the WCB rate model is underway, aimed at encouraging real prevention, strengthening system accountability and removing financial incentives to minimize or suppress claims.  This review includes consultation with stakeholders, who will be asked their views on effective incentives to adopt meaningful injury prevention practices and programs.  Incenting investments in workplace safety is a key level to creating a culture of safe work in Manitoba, the minister said, adding the report is expected at the end of this year.

Manitoba’s Five-Year Plan for Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention committed to providing dedicated prevention services, Minister Braun said, adding these proposed amendments would establish a prevention committee of the WCB board of directors to oversee SAFE Work Manitoba, bringing prevention activities under one roof with a single point of contact for the public.

“Prevention services will be easier to access, more responsive and better tailored to the individual needs of each industry and workplace,” said Minister Braun.

This proposed legislation would build upon other government initiatives including:

  • new rules that came into effect on April 1 to provide for more effective stop-work orders and immediate penalties for unsafe workplaces,
  • doubling the number of health and safety officers enforcing laws in Manitoba since 1999, and
  • doubling the number of annual workplace health and safety inspections.

The minister also announced this year’s Safework Manitoba’s theme ‘training and access to prevention resources’.  This spring, SAFE Work Manitoba is improving the safety and health information businesses receive highlighting a mental health toolkit for employers, the introduction of a SAFE Work on Wheels mobile unit and a single SAFE phone number that now links Manitobans to the services and programs provided by SAFE Work Manitoba, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba.

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