Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. proposes benefit increases
Workplace injury and fatality benefits would go up if proposed changes approved
The Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. is asking for feedback on proposed changes to the Workers Compensation Act which would result in increases to injured worker benefits on the Island.
"Anything we can do to alleviate a little bit of the financial strain during a time that you might be experiencing a physical or psychological injury and trying to recover, we feel will add to that recovery," said Cheryl Paynter, CEO of WCB P.E.I.
The five benefit increases being proposed by the WCB are:
- Increase benefit rates for workers off work due to an injury from 85 per cent of net pre-injury earnings to 90 per cent.
- Increase the cap on annual long-term benefits to six per cent from four per cent.
- Reset the maximum assessable earnings to current Statistics Canada data each year.
- In the case of a workplace fatality, increase financial support for burial expenses to $15,000 from $7,500.
- Increase the lump sum death benefit to 100 per cent of maximum annual earnings.
"With cost of living and inflationary pressures, we feel that the timing is key here now to get out and get feedback on these and potentially move some recommendations up to government for change," said Paynter.
The WCB is fully funded by employers' premiums, but Paynter said employers have benefited in recent years from high investment returns due to low interest rates.
That means employers won't see an increase in premiums if these proposed benefit increases take effect.
Feedback until July 17
The consultation period for the changes ends July 17. Anyone can give feedback on the WCB's website, or get in touch directly to meet with them, said Paynter.
"We know we have a pretty deep stable of stakeholders here. And we'd really like to hear from everybody before we formalize a recommendation in to government."
Once the feedback and consultation period ends, WCB hopes the recommended changes will come before the provincial government during the fall 2022 sitting of the provincial legislature and take effect in January 2023.
With files from Angela Walker