Business associations step back from WorkSafe B.C. review

Dozens of business associations representing hundreds of businesses in B.C. are declining to participate further in a WorkSafe B.C. review they claim raises an apprehension of bias.

In a letter to reviewer Janet Patterson and elected government officials, 46 organizations said they have lost confidence that the review can be conducted in an independent, impartial and balanced manner. They cite the fact that Patterson, a retired labour lawyer, was one of three co-authors of a 2009 report that offered 24 recommendations for correcting a “systemic attack” on the benefits and decision-making process of B.C.’s workers compensation system. All recommendations but one were added this August as issues to be explored under the current review of WorkSafe B.C..

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Signatories to the letter published Thursday — which include the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Mining Association of B.C. — say they were “quite taken aback and dismayed” by what they see as an expansion of the review’s original scope.

In April, the B.C. government announced a formal review of the province’s workers’ compensation system. It was to include an assessment of the policies around getting injured workers back on the job, case management of injured workers and potential amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. — Business in Vancouver

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