Province launches review of WCB Claims Suppression, Rates

The provincial government is launching an external review of the Workers Compensation Board’s (WCB’s) process for setting employer premiums, which will look for ways to strengthen employer incentives for more effective injury prevention while targeting the illegal practice of claim suppression, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.

The minister said Paul M. Petrie of British Columbia, an expert on workplace safety and health issues, will work with the WCB and Manitoba Family Services and Labour staff to conduct the review, gathering input from groups across the province that represent injured workers, employers and organized labour.

“The review will help us in our development of a new injury-prevention strategy to transform the way we approach workplace injury and illness,” said Howard. “The current method used to assess WCB’s employer premiums has been in place for over 10 years. While it has mostly worked well, the review will look at ways to improve it by ensuring that injuries are reported and prevention efforts are rewarded.”

A separate, comprehensive analysis of injury-prevention activities in the province is currently underway to help reduce the number of workplace injuries and time-loss injury rates. This analysis began in June and is a collaborative effort between industry, labour, stakeholders, the WCB, the Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health, and Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health.

The report on the WCB’s process for setting employer rates is to be submitted to the minister in the spring of 2013.

Over the last decade, the government has increased the number of safety and health officers, and inspections of Manitoba workplaces, updated safety and health legislation, improved training and launched the SAFE Work public awareness campaign, Howard said.

For the last three years, the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) has been calling for this independent review of the WCB rate model to deal with the problem of claims suppression. Read the MFL's report on WCB claims suppression HERE.

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