On July 22, 2020, the Board of Directors approved amendments to Schedule 1 of the Act to add a presumption for infections caused by communicable viral pathogens, which are the subject of a BC-specific emergency declaration or notice.
Consequential amendments have also been made to Item C4-28.00, Contagious Diseases, and Appendix 2 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II to reflect the Schedule 1 amendment.
These amendments come into effect on October 26, 2020, unless Bill 23 is passed beforehand.
WSBC has now advised that they will be granting extensions for 180 days beyond the original expiry date for certificates between March 1, 2020 and August 01, 2020, Certificates will not be re-printed and no further action is required by first aid attendants or employers. Re certification will occur, once training becomes available.
*OFAA protocols have a primary change of compression only CPR- refer to OFAA Covid 19 Protocols.
WSBC has now advised that if an injured worker is in self isolation/quarantine, then the worker is at risk of endangering the health/safety of others. Therefore, WSBC would pay full wages until the worker can participate in the RTW/GRTW. It is imperative to discuss alternative options with the Case Manager regarding, work from home options, etc., as well as a revised RTW/GRTW.
The Chief Review Officer has currently advised, extensions of time may be granted under section 96.2(4) of the Act, to extend the 90 day and 45 day time limits where there are special circumstances surrounding Covid-19. In addition, due to the complexity of the proceedings, there may also be an extension of time on the review itself, with is typically 150 days.
WSBC will be waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This will be applied retroactively to the March 15, 2020 start date and continue for the duration of the CEWS program, is currently until August 29, 2020. Employers must ensure they keep all documentation identifying workers who were furloughed, as a result of Covid-19.
CEWS has now been extended until December 2020, however no updates from WSBC regarding an extension of premiums being waived until that time.
Yes, every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.
The Safety Plan must provide: adequate hand washing locations that are easily accessible, ensure a cleaning protocol with proper training with all materials supplied by the employer, remove all "shared" items from lunch rooms, constructions sites can have no more than 50 people, and all onsite meetings are to be held in open spaces or outside, while still maintaining 2 metre distance. Policies must also address who can be at the workplace, how to deal with illnesses, as they arise. Ensure that all staff are aware of all policies and protocols that are in place either through training, signage and/or site orientation.
At all times, the BC CDC must be followed and also reflected in the policies created by each employer.
*Please note that this is a brief synopsis*
WSBC has advised that they will not be reviewing or approving the safety plans, but will be reviewing safety plans of individual employers during their inspections. All plans must be posted, even at worksites. Failure to comply, the prevention officer may issue ORDERS.
If staff are working from home, ensure that there is a policy in place that addresses health and safety for the home office.
WSBC has advised that they do not offer coverage for workers who have been sent home on a precautionary basis by their employer to self-isolate, due to symptoms.
As of July 24th, 2020 there have been 14, 146 inspections with 300 orders issued. It would appear that the Service Sector has been subject to 38 % of the inspections, consisting of: 5,463 inspections and 134 orders issued, to date. Service Sector encompasses hotels, restaurants, gyms, hospitals, schools, real estate and hair salons.
WSBC has advised that they will be deferring payments for another 3 months without penalty or interest. Employers are still required to report their payroll for the first and second quarters by July 20, 2020, with payment due for Q1 and Q2 due by October 20, 2020. Q3 payment is also due October 20, 2020.
WSBC has advised that they will be postponing the release of the 2021 preliminary rates, along with the rate consultation sessions until the fall. typically, released in July. WSBC BOD's would like staff to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employers and the economy, prior to the the release.
Workers have the right to refuse work, if they believe it presents an undue hazard. Undue hazard during Covid-19 would be where the job duties place them at an increased risk of exposure and safety measures are not in place to protect them from that exposure. The worker and the employer must collaborate to resolve the issue, otherwise WSBC must be contacted and a prevention officer will determine if the worksite is safe. If it is not orders may me issued.
WSBC has advised that in accordance with the BC's Public Health Office directive, all work sites must maintain a list of all employees working on work sites, daily. In which documentation must be properly kept and stored for reference.
**The information provided for Covid-19 and WSBC Claims is not legal advice and is for informational purposes only.