MFL makes recommendations to address WCB claims suppression

January 22, 2013

The Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) has filed a submission providing recommendations to Manitoba’s External Review of the Workers Compensation Board’s rate assessment model (the system for determining employer premiums).

The “Maintaining Fair and Equitable Compensation” review, conducted by Paul Petrie, is examining how the WCB’s current rate model (known as ‘Experience Rating’) encourages employers to engage in unethical practices such as claims suppression and overly aggressive return to work. Under the experience rating model, employers with fewer and cheaper workers compensation claims are rewarded with lower premiums. The problem is that this financial incentive has encouraged many employers to keep their WCB costs down through unethical practices such as:

• Discouraging injured workers from reporting injuries or filing compensation claims;
• Preventing injured workers from reporting injuries or filing compensation claims;
• Pressuring injured workers to return to work before they are ready and healthy enough to work;
• Encouraging injured workers to accept alternative benefits instead of filing a WCB claim;
• Aggressively fighting against almost every WCB claim filed by their employees; and
• Punishing workers for reporting injuries or filing WCB claims.

These employer responses are called “claims suppression” and their effect is to deny benefits to injured workers and to undermine efforts to create truly safer and healthier workplaces. 

The MFL submission explains how the experience rating model is undermining the fundamental principles on which our workers’ compensation system is built, and provides an overview of the terrible toll it is taking on workers. The submission makes ten recommendations to address claims suppression and restore the integrity of workers’ compensation.

The most significant recommendation is to scrap the experience rating model altogether and replace it with a model that provides incentives for genuine workplace injury/illness prevention activities.

Find out more by downloading the MFL submission.