Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has issued the following statement on the release of Janet Patterson’s report, New Directions: Report of the Workers’ Compensation Board Review, 2019:
“I’m committed to making B.C.’s workplaces the safest in Canada and improving our workers’ compensation system to be more supportive and responsive to injured workers and their families.
“My approach for legislative improvements is to make changes informed by consultation with people and advice from expert reviews. Earlier this month, we passed Bill 23, which amended the Workers Compensation Act based on three expert reports. However, the legislation did not address a fourth report that reviewed several other areas of the workers’ compensation system.
“Last year, retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson was contracted to undertake a focused review of the workers’ compensation system and to make recommendations on what an improved system should look like.
“I would like to thank Ms. Patterson for her detailed review and thank the many injured workers and others who took time to share their experiences. Ms. Patterson consulted widely and heard from more than 2,000 people and organizations from around the province. The feedback was both extensive and thoughtful, and I am grateful to everyone who participated.
“We are making this report public so the people who provided feedback know that their voices have been heard and reflected in the report and its findings. This is an extensive review to consider. There are over 100 recommendations, of which about 60 are for operational and process changes within WorkSafeBC. It contains substantial information and recommendations that will take some significant time to carefully review.
“In Bill 23, we made modest yet meaningful improvements to the Workers Compensation Act that support worker safety and improve the effectiveness of the system, while also being financially prudent. At this time, we are focused on implementing these improvements, along with doing our part to keep people healthy and safe as we work together to address the impact of COVID-19 on both workers and employers across British Columbia.”
Improving fairness and safety for workers and ensuring balance in workplaces are shared priorities between government, the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and are part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.