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ISSUE 2012-05: November 6, 2012

In This Issue

Extracurricular Activities and WorkSafeBC (WSBC) Coverage


Quick Links

Refusal of Unsafe Work Flow Chart


Principles for Principals: Click the image below to access the complete interactive document.

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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

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 2004. 


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 acceptable.

Some examples:

§  Teachers 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.

§  A group of students are going skiing and they ask some teachers to come along. One teacher breaks a leg. They will not be covered.

§  Teachers 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.

§  A 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.

§  A 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.

§  A 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.

§  A 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 assignment.

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

§  Did the injury or death occur on the employer’s premises?

§  Did the injury or death occur while the worker was doing something for the benefit of the employer’s business?

§  Did 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 employment?

§  Did the injury or death occur while the worker was using equipment or materials supplied by the employer?

§  Did the injury or death occur while the worker was in the process of receiving payment or other consideration from the employer?

§  Did 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?

§  Was the injury or death caused by an activity of the employer or of a fellow employee?

§  Did the injury or death occur while the worker was performing activities that were part of the worker’s job?

§  Did the injury or death occur while the worker was being supervised by the employer or a representative of the employer having supervisory authority?

Criteria and Considerations for #C3-21.00

§  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 satisfied.

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 trainer;

(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; or

(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 Employer

Was there an intention to foster good relations with the public, or a section of the public with which the worker deals?

BC Public School Employers' Association
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