Frequently Asked Questions

General

What will an Adviser do?

A Workers' Adviser can:

  • Help you understand the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC policies and procedures.
  • Provide you or anyone else who is helping you with information about your claim.
  • Help you with a Request for Review at the Review Division or an Appeal at the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal regarding a WorkSafeBC decision.
  • In some cases, represent you during a review or an appeal.

How much will it cost me?

The service is free.

Is the Workers' Advisers Office part of WorkSafeBC?

No, the Workers' Advisers Office is a branch of the Ministry of Labour. We are independent of WorkSafeBC.

When I call the Workers' Advisers Office, can you look at my WorkSafeBC claim file?

Yes. Under Section 95(3) of the Workers Compensation Act, the Workers' Advisers have access to your claim file.

Can the Workers' Advisers Office send me copies of my claim file?

No, we are not allowed to send out claim files because they are not our files. You must request disclosure of your claim file directly from WorkSafeBC.

What if I get hurt in another province?

Contact the Workers' Advisers office in the province you were working in when you were injured. See Workers' Advisers Offices Across Canada and Inter-Provincial Claims Factsheet.

WorkSafeBC is putting me into a return to work program that I am not ready for. What should I do?

Talk to your doctor. If you do not participate, your benefits could be terminated. However, you can request a review and eventually appeal this decision. On appeal, you have to provide medical information showing that you were not able to participate. If you are successful, your benefits will be reinstated.

Can I get workers' compensation if I have an occupational disease?

Yes. See - Introduction to Occupational Diseases Factsheet.

What can I do when my case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant won't return my calls?

Continue to contact your case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant by mail, phone, fax, and document your attempts.  If you still receive no response, contact their manager. Leave a detailed message stating the reason for your call. If you still receive no response, contact the WorkSafeBC Fair Practices Office.

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Claims Process

What are "earnings"?

Money paid to you by an employer is "earnings". This includes regular overtime. In some cases WorkSafeBC may also include money paid to you by Employment Insurance. You should contact WorkSafeBC for more information if you think this should apply to you.

"Earnings" does not include payments made by your employer under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Employment Insurance Act (EI) and other retirement pension, health and welfare plans or similar benefit plans for you or your dependants. If you do not understand the calculation, you should contact WorkSafeBC and ask for clarification.

How will my "net" earnings be calculated?

WorkSafeBC will obtain statements of your earnings from employment, before deductions from you and your employer(s). WorkSafeBC will estimate the value of deductions for personal income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions. These will be deducted from your gross employment earnings. The remaining earnings are your "net" earnings. If you do not understand the calculation, you should contact WorkSafeBC and ask for clarification.

What wage replacement benefits will I be paid?

You will receive benefits based on 90 percent of your "net" earnings.

Will I get the same rate of benefits throughout my disability?

No. In most cases, WorkSafeBC will set an "initial" rate which will be paid for the first ten weeks of wage loss. After ten weeks, WorkSafeBC will set a "long term" rate of benefits for ongoing wage loss benefits and for any permanent disability benefits you may get.

In most cases the "initial" rate will be set on your rate of pay in the job or jobs you had when you were injured, less the estimated value of deductions for personal income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions.

Your "long term" rate, in most cases, will be set on the average of your earnings in the 12 months immediately before your injury, less the estimated value of deductions for income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions.

If I am new to the workforce, how will my "long term" benefits be decided?

If you had a permanent job but you had not worked for a full 12 months with your employer when you got injured, your "long term" earnings will be based on the earnings of a similar worker in the same job with your employer. If this is not possible, WorkSafeBC will base your "long term earnings" on the earnings of a similar worker in the same job with another employer in your region.

If I was an apprentice when I was hurt, how will my benefits be decided?

Your temporary wage loss benefits will be based on the greater of (a) the rate you were paid by all employers for whom you were an employee at the time of your injury, and (b) your gross earnings for the 12 months prior to your injury.  If your injury results in a permanent disability, your award will be based on entry-level wages of a qualified person in your trade or occupation.

The year before my injury, I didn't earn what I usually do. How will this affect my long term benefits?

WorkSafeBC will usually base your benefits on your average earnings over the year before you were injured. If WorkSafeBC decides this is unfair to you, they can base your rate of benefits on what it thinks you will lose as a result of your injury. This will only happen in exceptional circumstances.

Will my benefits be reduced if I am entitled to benefits under the Canada Pension Plan?

Temporary wage loss benefits are not reduced on account of CPP benefits.. However, your WorkSafeBC permanent disability benefits will be reduced if you are paid disability benefits for the same injury under the Canada Pension Plan. The Board will deduct 50% of the value of your benefits from CPP.  For more information see the factsheet Canada Pension Plan Benefits and WorkSafeBC Benefits.

Will WorkSafeBC reduce my benefits if I am receiving private disability insurance?

No, but your WorkSafeBC benefits may have an effect on your private benefits. You should check with your insurance company.

Are WorkSafeBC benefits adjusted for inflation?

WorkSafeBC disability benefits are adjusted for inflation annually, at a rate of one percent less than the Consumer Price Index, to a maximum of four percent in a year. The adjustment will be made every January 1st.

When do benefits start if I become disabled?

If you are injured, wage loss benefits start the first working day following the day of your injury. If you become disabled due to an occupational disease, wage loss benefits usually begin when you can no longer work at your usual job.

What happens if I still have a disability when I go back to work? Will WorkSafeBC give me permanent disability benefits?

In most cases, yes. If you suffer a permanent disability from an injury or a disease, WorkSafeBC will assess your physical or psychological "loss of function" from your disability. In exceptional cases, WorkSafeBC may calculate your permanent disability award based on your "loss of earnings," that is, the difference between what you used to earn before the injury and what you can now earn. For more information, see our Permanent Disability Award factsheet.

How long do WorkSafeBC benefits continue?

Wage loss or permanent disability benefits will continue for as long as you are disabled by the injury or disease, but will stop at age 65, unless you can show that you would have worked after age 65.  For more information, see our Duration of Benefits factsheet.

Will I get a retirement benefit?

If you are paid permanent disability benefits, WorkSafeBC will contribute money to a special fund for you. In addition to your monthly permanent disability benefits, WorkSafeBC will pay an amount of money equal to 5 percent of your monthly permanent disability benefits into this special fund. WorkSafeBC will invest this money. The profits will be added to your fund. When you turn 65, you will receive the money in this fund as a "Retirement Benefit". See our Retirement Benefits factsheet.

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Appeal / Review Process

How do I file an appeal and is there a deadline?

See our factsheets on Reviews of WorkSafeBC Decisions and Appeals to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal.  Please note that there are short deadlines for both reviews and appeals. .

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