On November 27, 2017, the Government of Alberta tabled Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. If passed, the Act will be the first changes to improve workplace health and safety since 1976. However, there is potential for increased costs and administrative challenges for municipalities. Bill 30 proposes a number of changes, including:
- Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) changes:
- Establishing an independent Fair Practices Office that helps Albertans navigate the WCB system by providing additional resources to support workers every step of the way;
- Establishing a Code of Rights and Conduct that outlines the rights of workers and employers, while also explaining how WCB staff would recognize these rights and conduct; and
- Removing the maximum insurable earnings cap of $98,700 per year, allowing injured workers to receive benefits in line with their expected annual earnings.
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) changes:
- Enshrining the three basic rights of Alberta’s legislation – the right to refuse, the right to know, and the right to participate;
- Mandating joint work site health and safety committees for workplaces with 20 or more employees; and
- Protecting workers from workplace violence and harassment. This includes new legislative definitions as well as outlining the responsibility of employers and supervisors to prevent workplace violence and harassment, and workers to refrain from these activities.
If passed, the majority of changes to WCB and OHS would come into effect on January 1 and June 1, 2018, respectively. Learn more about the proposed legislation.