The government of Alberta announced Monday a comprehensive piece of legislation addressing perceived concerns around updating Worker’s Compensation Board and Occupational Health and Safety.
The Government suggests these reviews, legislation and code changes are intended to bring fairness and better service for workers. During the process to create this legislation the government advocated that they would consult industry. The impression left from Bill 30 is that the government has not listened to industry’s legitimate concerns.
ACA Chair Paul Heyens said, “During fragile economic times for our province we are disappointed about this legislation and feel that it will be an extraordinary burden on employers. The ability of our members to continue to provide good paying jobs to workers, invest in safety programming, and support their communities may be compromised by the additional costs.”
The OHS review did not provide the opportunity for government to respond to industry requests to see the evidence that joint worker / employer health and safety committees improve worker engagement and employer safety performance.
During the WCB review the costs increases were set at 62 million, now they have increased to 94.5 million according to the government but there is a lack of full costing. The system will now have more red tape and financial costs.
Getting things right for workers also means getting it right for their employers. Even ACA’s request, agreed to in WCB Review recommendation 24, that WCB amend its policies to review a worker’s continued benefits in situations where an employer terminates a returning employee for egregious acts was rejected by the government.
The overall idea to make the WCB and OHS more responsive and responsible to workers is laudable. We believe it helps no one to have an unfair process. But this same measurement should also go for employers. They are the ones taking on the burden of financing the WCB and feel there should be equity in how it deals with all parties.
ACA will continue to advocate for amendments and changes in the legislation to help employers deal with these rapid and repeated changes. We will also work with the Industry Task Force to challenge the assumptions of this legislation.
ACA represents 3200 member firms in commercial, industrial, and Institutional construction industry across Alberta. Construction employs one in nine working Albertans.
For more information and background see the links below:
ACA Submissions and letters to Minister and Panel
ACA WCB review submission (2016)
ACA 2nd submission to WCB review panel January 2017
ACA Letter to the Minister February 1, 2017
ACA Letter to the Minister August 29, 2017
ACA submission to OHS Review
WCB and OHS Reviews has ACA Concerned
WCB Review Needs Careful Response But Surplus Should Be Refunded
ACA Responds to WCB Review Committee
ACA Shares Concerns With WCB Review Committee
ACA Requests to Speak to WCB Review Panel
ACA Provides Input to Review of WCB
Labour Minister Meets With ACA