Four WCBs examined

Three workers' compensation programs in Ontario and one in British Columbia examined in IWH study on poverty among permanently impaired injured workers

Dr. Emile Tompa’s study on poverty among permanently impaired workers looked at four workers’ compensation programs. These were:

  • Permanent Disability (PD) program (Ontario, up to 1990)—The benefit amount was based on a formula of 90 per cent of after-tax pre-injury earnings times the percentage of total bodily impairment. Benefits were awarded for life.
  • Future Economic Loss (FEL) program (Ontario, 1990 to 1997)—Injured workers received FEL benefit after 12 months on short-term benefits if they sustained a permanent impairment and were deemed unable to earn as much income as before the injury. FEL benefits, which were 90 per cent of the difference between pre-injury earnings and post-injury earning capacity, were potentially awarded until the age of 65. A Non-Economic Loss (NEL) benefit was also awarded to compensate for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life; it took into consideration the percentage of impairment and the age of the recipient.
  • Loss of Earnings (LOE) program (Ontario, 1998 onward)—Injured workers receive an LOE benefit for short-term and long-term disability if deemed unable to earn as much as before the injury. Benefits are 85 per cent of deemed earnings loss and continue until the age of 65. Injured workers with a permanent impairment also receive NEL.
  • Bifurcated program (British Columbia, 1990s to 2002)—Benefits were calculated two ways, and injured workers received whichever amount was highest. The first, based on loss of function, provided recipients with 75 per cent of the pre-injury earnings multiplied by the percentage of permanent loss of function. The second method, based on loss-of-earnings capacity, provided 75 per cent of the difference between pre-injury earnings and post-injury earning capacity.

Source: At Work, Issue 81, Summer 2015: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto

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