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ISSUE 2012-01-March

In This Issue

OH&S Principles for Principals

Bill 14 – Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act 2011


Day of Mourning- April 28


Quick Links

Refusal of Unsafe Work Flow Chart



If you have questions about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any health, safety or wellness issue, please contact Sue Ferguson at 604.730.4502 or

OH&S Principles for Principals

Thanks to recent funding, the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has prepared a user-friendly guide to assist Principals and Vice Principals with their responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC regulations. 


This online resource document will provide uniform advice on managing Occupational Health & Safety requirements as described in Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act and the OH&S Regulations.


It will also support principals and vice principals in referring issues for appropriate school district resolution where necessary. The resource provides guidance and should not supersede any Board policies regarding occupational health and safety procedures/requirements.


This document was created in consultation with the BC Principals’ and Vice Principals Association (BCPVPA) and was reviewed by WorkSafeBC’s technical review committee.


BCPSEA will receive a limited number of hard copy flip books which we will distribute.


Thank you to the members of the joint committee for making this project a success: Sue Ferguson (BCPSEA), Jennifer Canas (BCSSA), Harold Krische (BCPVPA staff ) and BCPVPA members, Sheryl Lindquist (SD73), Alex Baumann (SD44), David Mushens (SD41) and Shairoz Merani (SD41). 


Click the image below to access the complete interactive document.

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Bill 14 – Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2011

Bill 14, Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act proposes amendments in the following areas:

·         Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments

·         Calculation of long-term average earnings for apprentices and learners

·         Mental stress

The consumer price updating is housekeeping and reflects the 2011 CPI adjustments contained in the Board minutes.

The long-term average earnings for apprentices and learners will reflect the greater of either the time of injury earnings, or the earnings in the twelve month period preceding the injury.  If there is a permanent disability the average earnings will be determined using a qualified person’s gross earnings.

Mental Stress

April 30, 2009, the BC Court of Appeal released its decision in Plesner v. British Columbia (Hydro and Power Authority), [2009] B.C.J. No. 856 (C.A.). This case involved a constitutional challenge to the mental stress provisions found in section 5.1 of the Workers Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 492 (the “Act”) and Policy Item 13.30 (the “Policy”) of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II (“RS&CM”).

Pursuant to that decision, at its meeting on July 14, 2009, the Board of Directors approved changes to the Policy. The key changes to the policy follow the direction provided by the BC Court of Appeal, specifically:

·         Consistent with the decision in the Plesner v. BC Hydro and Power Authority et al, 2009 BCCA 188, a number of policy statements and all examples were severed.

·         Inclusion of a definition of a traumatic event as “an emotionally shocking event”, which reflects both the Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 24th Edition and The Concise Oxford Dictionary definitions of traumatic.

·         A reference was inserted that states an acute reaction may be delayed in certain circumstances, in keeping with the accepted diagnostic features of mental stress.

Currently mental stress is defined as when there is an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected event arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

The change being made in Bill 14 would allow for compensation to be paid where the mental stress is a reaction to:

                      I.        One or more traumatic events arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment, or

                    II.        A significant work-related stressor or a cumulative series of significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

Current policy requires that the event must be clearly and objectively verifiable and that a traumatic event is an “emotionally shocking” event. There is no current policy that describes a “significant stressor”.

The Act provides that a mental stress reaction is not compensable when it is caused by a decision of the worker’s employer relating to the worker’s employment, such as a decision to change the work to be performed or the working conditions, to discipline the worker or to terminate the employment.

What does this mean to employers?

Costs to employers will increase. The conservative estimate from government is $18 to $20 million per year. This is in compensation costs only. Additional costs will be in administration, including difficult adjudications and appeals, and medical costs.

Regulation and Policy will have to be extremely clear in order to ensure appropriate cases are referred and compensated appropriately.

Bill 14 is awaiting second reading in the Legislature
We do not know if there will be any amendments.

Day of Mourning – April 28, 2012

Description: Description: Description: Day of Mourning 2012Across Canada, April 28 has been designated the Day of Mourning, a time when workers, families, employers, and others come together to remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational diseases.

Every year, WorkSafeBC, the BC Federation of Labour, and the Business Council of British Columbia co-host a public ceremony to honour the occasion.

Because April 28 falls on a weekend this year, a ceremony will be held at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver on Friday, April 27, at 10:30 am to pay tribute to fallen workers. All are welcome.

WorkSafeBC will also be webcasting the Day of Mourning proceedings live on so that workers and others who cannot attend their local ceremonies can watch from anywhere in the world and be a part of the occasion.

You can request complimentary Day of Mourning decals and posters through WorkSafeBC's online order form.


BC Public School Employers' Association
400 – 1333 West Broadway, Vancouver BC V6H 4C1
Tel: 604.730.0739   Fax: 604.730.0787    Privacy Statement

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