MFL releases 2013 Workplace Safety Report Card

WCB failing to crack down on employer abuses

WINNIPEG – Documents obtained through freedom of information reveal the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Manitoba has never once fined an employer for illegal claims suppression, despite a recent external review confirming that this employer abuse is happening in Manitoba.

“Injured workers are being denied fair compensation; an independent review confirmed the problem,” said Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) President Kevin Rebeck. “Yet the WCB is announcing more reviews instead of taking real action to fix it.”

The MFL called for urgent reform of the WCB rate model: “We need to shift resources from employer discounts that encourage illegal claims suppression towards incentives for effective injury prevention activities,” said Rebeck.

This information was released with the annual MFL Workplace Health and Safety Report Card, which focuses on workers compensation in recognition that 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the Royal Commission that led to the establishment of workers compensation in Canada. Other highlights from the report card include:

  • 1 in 4 Manitoba workers do not have WCB coverage, the third worst coverage rate in Canada;
  • Although an external review found the WCB rate model is encouraging illegal claims suppression, no reforms have been made yet to the rate model. Even with the modest rate model change proposals recently sent for review, claims suppression would continue to be profitable for employers.
  • Because the WCB is not consistently enforcing its return to work policy, many injured workers are being forced back to work prematurely;
  • A freedom of information document shows staff resources to help injured workers through the Worker Advisor Office have been reduced, and lag behind those in other provinces; and
  • Manitoba’s WCB earns top marks for financial stability and governance/accountability.

“The report card shows that Manitoba has a lot of work to do if we want to do right by injured workers,” said Rebeck. “Fortunately, several recent reviews provide a road map for improvement. It’s time for the WCB to get on with implementing their recommendations.”

The report card awarded Manitoba an overall grade of C, based on grades in the following categories:

  • WCB Protection (% of workers covered): D
  • Claims Suppression: F
  • Services for Injured Workers: C
  • Benefits: B
  • Workplace Injury/Illness Prevention: C
  • Return to Work Programs: C
  • Financial Stability: A
  • Governance/Accountability: A

The complete report card can be found HERE.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour represents more than 96,000 workers across Manitoba.

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For more information: 

Jean-Guy Bourgeois, MFL Special Projects Coordinator, 204-953-2563 or 204-451-5856

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