A website for injured workers, their advocates and a better compensation system in B.C. 

What’s New: Jan-March 2024

Bill 41 – Change Comes to the Compensation System 

Effective January 1, 2024, two new Duties were introduced into the Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) via Bill 41. The following new Duties will dramatically change the B.C. compensation system. 

  • All workers and all employers are affected by a new Duty to Cooperate in section 154.2 of the Act. There is also new policy – C5-35.10 The Duty to Cooperate in RSCM II.
  • For employers who employ more than 20 workers, there is also a new Duty to Maintain Employment, which applies to most (but not all) of their workers. This Duty is set out in section 154.3 of the Act and there is also new policy – C5-35.20 The Duty to Maintain Employment.

The new Duties set out the expectation (with enforcement provisions) that injured workers and employers will work together to keep injured workers in the workplace as much as possible, through the healing process and after recovery or plateau. There are complicated rules about how this will work, and how these new Duties integrate (or not) with existing employment obligations under Collective Agreements and under the Human Rights Code

ALERT: Many Compensation Policies in the RSCM II have been changed as part of implementing the new Duties. 

The impact of the new Duties, in practice, go far beyond the two specific policies “Duties”. In January 2024, the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II (RSCM II) issued other substantial policy changes including:

  • A complete rewrite of Chapter 5 “Wage-Loss Benefits and Return to Work Obligations” including a change in how temporary wage loss benefits are determined.
  • Significant amendments to:
    • Policies on Permanent Disability Benefits (Chapter 6 – #40-42.00)
    • Most policies on Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 11)
    • Policy on a Worker’s Obligation to Provide Information (Chapter 12 – #93.26) 

Resources – Understanding the new Duties 

A starting place for understanding the new Duties is the new Practice Directive #C5-6 “Return to Work Obligations: Duty to Cooperate and Duty to Maintain Employment”, available on the Board’s website. This 21-page document is written in plain English and describes different work scenarios.

Other introductory material is available

  •  On the WorkSafe website, by searching for “Bill 41” material. This is material provided in the information sessions for workers and employers. 
  • There are also several helpful video/blogs on the website of GKS Law.

There is also new Bill 41 material In the IWRAP Members Portal. 

Additions to the IWRAP website this month

In the Resources/Featured Research and Publications section: 
New course material in the Member Portal
  • Basic WCB Advocacy – March 5, 2024

  • Bill 41 Duties Explained – Text of a Powerpoint (February, 2024)