Even in the safest of workplaces, accidents can and will happen. When employees encounter on-the-job injuries or diseases, they may need to rely on workers’ compensation to help with associated costs. In Canada, workers’ comp is a system of compulsory no-fault insurance for workplace injuries. The following concepts, known as the Meredith Principles, underlie most workers’ compensation legislation in Canada today.
- No-fault compensation, which means workers are paid benefits regardless of how the injury occurred.
- Security of benefits, which means a fund is established to guarantee funds exist to pay benefits.
- Collective liability, which means that covered employers, on the whole, share liability for workplace injury insurance.
- Independent administration, which means that the organizations who administer workers’ compensation insurance are separate from government.
- Exclusive jurisdiction, which means only workers’ compensation organizations provide workers’ compensation insurance.
The basic idea of these principles is to create a system in which the employer funds the workers’ compensation system (based on their payroll, industry sector, and history of workplace injuries), in exchange for workers surrendering their rights to sue if injured. Each province and territory has its own legislation (generally the Workers’ Compensation Act), created by the local government and administered by Workers’ Compensation Boards/Commissions (WCBs). You can access online versions of workers’ compensation legislation here.
Be sure you know your local laws in order to stay in compliance and protect yourself and your workers during times of unexpected hardship.