Introduction to Compensation Claims for Injured Workers (7:III)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 21, 2022.

Sections 122-125 and 19-20 of the WCA [Former Act, ss. 96 and 113] of the WCA give the Board exclusive jurisdiction over workers’ compensation and OH&S matters. The courts have historically respected these strong privative clauses.

Section 122 grants the Board the exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into, hear, and determine compensation matters under Part 4 of the Act [Former Act, Part 1]. Specifically, the board may determine:

  • whether an injury has arisen out of or in the course of an employment;
  • the existence and degree of disability by reason of an injury;
  • the permanence of disability by reason of an injury;
  • the degree of reduction of earning capacity by reason of an injury;
  • the average earnings of a worker, for the purpose of levying assessments, and the average earnings of a worker for purposes of payment of compensation;
  • the existence of the relationship of a member of the family of a worker as defined by the Act;
  • the existence of dependency;
  • whether an industry is within the scope of the Act, and the class to which an industry should be assigned for the purposes of the Act;
  • whether a worker is in an industry within the scope of the Act and entitled to compensation under it; and
  • whether a person is a worker, a subcontractor, a contractor or an employer within the meaning of the Act.

Section 19 similarly grants exclusive jurisdiction to the Board to inquire into and determine health and safety matters under Part 2 of the Act [Former Act, Part 3].

Once an injured worker applies for compensation, the Board will begin to assess whether or not to accept the claim. Once the claim is accepted, the Board will then adjudicate the worker’s entitlement to the type of compensation benefits listed below.

The nature of the worker’s injury will generally determine the relevant law and policy. The main types of injuries are:

  • Personal Injury (physical or physical/psychological) – sections 134 and 146 of the WCA [Former Act, s. 5];
  • Psychological injury (only mental stress) – section 135 of the WCA [Former Act, s. 5.1];
  • Occupational Disease – sections 136(1) and 137 of the WCA [Former Act, ss. 6(1) and 6(3)]
  • Hearing Loss – section 145 of the WCA [Former Act, s. 7]

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