Extracurricular Activities and WorkSafeBC (WSBC) Coverage
Recently, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal
(WCAT) published a decision regarding a high school
social studies teacher being denied coverage for a wrist injury while
engaging in a staff versus student baseball game at lunch time. This specific
incident was initially denied by a WSBC entitlement officer, partly based
on the worker’s responses. He observed it became “kind of boring for
students if it’s all work and no fun all the time.” The school district
manager stated “there were occasions when the employer definitely
requested teachers to take part in student functions and/or where a
teacher was being supervised.” The employer had no difficulty with claims
being accepted for injuries sustained during such activities.
This claim went through the original entitlement
officer and two levels of appeal. The review officer and WCAT Vice-Chair
conducted a careful analysis of the facts of the claim specifically
related to subsection 5(1) of the Workers Compentsation Act and
the criteria in both policy items #C3-14.00 and #C3-21.00. The criteria
in C3-21.00 were reviewed through public consultation in the spring of
Teachers involved in extracurricular activities
will continue to be covered provided the specifics of the incident uphold
the criteria in both policy #C3-14.00: Arising Out of and in the
Course of Employment, of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims
Manual, Volume II and C3-21.00: Extra-Employment Activities, B.
Recreational, Exercise or Sports Activities.
Extracurricular Can Be Fun, But Not All Fun is Extracurricular
There are more than a dozen claims related to
extracurricular activities and teachers each year. One or two per year
are denied based on the criteria established in WSBC policies C3-14.00
and C3-21.00 as referenced above. Each of these policies has a set of
criteria that a claims manager will use to establish if a claim is
are supervising a school ski trip. They are listed in the field trip
plan. One teacher breaks leg skiing down a slope. They will be covered.
group of students are going skiing and they ask some teachers to come
along. One teacher breaks a leg. They will not be covered.
go for a personal fitness walk around the community during their
scheduled lunch break. One trips and falls. They will not be covered.
They are doing the walk for their own benefit, not the employer’s.
teacher is the coach for a school team and gets hit in the head with a
ball. The teacherwill be covered under #C3-21:00.
teacher is supervising a scheduled lunch hour volley ball tournament. It
is a regular school intermural game practice. The teacher pinches a
finger putting up the nets. The teacher will be covered.
teacher takes a skateboard from a student who was riding it in the school.
The teacher demonstrates how well they can ride it and are injured. The
teacher will likely not be covered.
teacher is in a community theatre group that uses a school theatre for
rehersal and performances. Some of the teacher’s students are also in the
theatre group. The teacher is injured. The teacher will not be covered as
it is not a school function and not connected to the teacher’s
For ease of reference, the established criteria are
listed below. It is important to note that WSBC makes the decision,
not the employee or the employer.
Criteria for #C3-14.00
the injury or death occur on the employer’s premises?
the injury or death occur while the worker was doing something for the
benefit of the employer’s business?
the injury or death occur in the course of action taken in response to
instructions from the employer? For example, did the employer direct or
request that the worker participate in an activity as part of the
the injury or death occur while the worker was using equipment or
materials supplied by the employer?
the injury or death occur while the worker was in the process of
receiving payment or other consideration from the employer?
the injury or death occur during a time period in which the worker was
paid a salary or other consideration, or did the injury or death occur
during paid working hours?
the injury or death caused by an activity of the employer or of a fellow
the injury or death occur while the worker was performing activities that
were part of the worker’s job?
the injury or death occur while the worker was being supervised by the
employer or a representative of the employer having supervisory
Criteria and Considerations for
A. Participation in Competitions
Subject to the general factors
listed under Item C3-14.00, an injury or death sustained by a worker
while participating in, or while traveling to or from, an
employment-related competition (such as a first aid, mine rescue, or
fire-fighting competition), is considered to arise out of and in the
course of the employment if all three of the following conditions are
1. The type of skill or knowledge
that the competition is designed to test or promote is connected to the
worker’s employment. It is not necessary thatthe worker function in the
tested capacity regularly or on a full-time basis. It is sufficient if
the worker functions in the capacity on a standby basis while having
another regular job function (for example, a worker who also serves the
role of first aid attendant at his or her workplace).
2. The worker is a participant in
the competition, not merely a spectator. The worker is considered a
participant if any of the following apply:
(a) the worker is a participating or
reserve member of a competing team;
(b) the worker is a coach or
(c) the worker is appointed or
assigned to assist in the organization or administration of the event; or
(d) the worker has job
responsibilities relating to the skills being tested in the competition,
or is training for such responsibilities, and is attending to improve her
or his skill or knowledge relating to those responsibilities.
3. The worker’s participation in the
competition is sponsored or requested in some way by the employer. If the
employer has not specifically requested the worker to attend, this may be
implied from the circumstances. For example, a request for the worker to
attend may be implied if any of the following apply:
(a) the worker is paid for the whole
or any part of the period of participation;
(b) the worker is paid for the whole
or any part of the time spent in training for the event;
(c) the employer makes some
contribution towards the expenses of the worker for attending the event;
(d) the employer provides supplies
or equipment for the worker’s participation or training for the event.
An injury sustained by a worker
while practising or training for a competition may arise out of and in
the course of the employment, as discussed in Section B below.
B. Recreational, Exercise or Sports Activities
The organization of, or
participation in, recreational, exercise or sports activities or physical
exercises is not normally considered to be part of a worker’s employment
under the Act. There are, however, exceptional cases when such activities
may be considered to have an employment connection. The obvious one is
where the main job for which a worker is hired is to organize and
participate in recreational activities. There may also be cases where,
although the organization or participation in such activities is not the
main function of the job, the circumstances are such that a particular
activity can be said to be part of a worker’s employment.
Factors Unique to Recreational,
Exercise or Sports Activities
In addition to the factors in Item
#C3-14.00, the following factors may also be considered in determining
whether a recreational, exercise or sports-related injury or death arises
out of and in the course of the employment.
1. Fitness a Job Requirement
Was physical fitness a requirement
of the job?
2. Public Relations for Benefit of
Was there an intention to foster good relations with the
public, or a section of the public with which the worker deals?