Workers\' Compensation Board (WCB) Facts


A few months ago, one of our members attended the Injured Workers Forum hosted by the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED). The forum provided the member a broader understanding of how the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) aka. WorkSafe BC treats injured workers receiving or attempting to receive benefits in BC; the member has written an article to share some of the facts that were acquired at the workshop.


WCB has been around in BC since 1917. To me, it’s hard to comprehend that the WCB has been around for almost 100 years and it was at its strongest way back then, unlike the watered-down version of today. Before 2002, WCB legislation was passed in parliament made up by elected officials. Today WCB legislation is controlled by a Board of Directors.

Over the years there have been multiple Royal Commissions revising the WCB Act based on the Meredith Principles to suit governments’ or politicians’ needs of the day. In the past when the labour movement was very strong, the Royal Commissions worked mostly in favour of the workers.

In more modern times (for instance in 2002 when the BC Liberals struck up a Royal Commission and made major legislative changes to the Act) there was major re-structuring/re-organizing of the Board. Probably the biggest and scariest change made to the WCB Act is that the BC Liberals gave the WCB the right to create its own legislation as the WCB see fit! Basically, this means free reign on compensation, workplace safety, and law-making which ultimately impacts every worker in BC.

Subsequently, as a result of WCB being given the right of judge and jury, WCB has since 2002 managed to save an estimated $3 billion in employers’ premiums via denial of workers’ claims and restricting (as much as possible) full compensation to workers.

Sadly (but not surprisingly) since 2004, 1,350 workers were killed on the job in BC; despite that disturbing fact, no criminal charges have ever been filed against any employer.

Editor’s note: WCB changed its “operating name” to WorkSafe BC in 2005 – all unions still refer to WorkSafe BC as per its formal legal name - Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB); after all, it was created for the WORKERS!

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