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New B.C. law helps injured workers return to workplace

More than 60,000 workers were injured at the workplace in 2022.
A new return-to-work legislation for injured workers in B.C. is in effect next year. WorkSafeBC photo

Employers will need to make sure their employees, who were on a WorkSafeBC claim, have a job to return to starting Jan. 1, 2024.

This is part of a new B.C. law WorkSafeBC has announced to support employees returning to work after getting injured on the job.

Almost 63,000 workers in B.C. were injured while at work in 2022, according to WorkSafeBC statistics.

As of the new year, employers and their employees will need to work with WorkSafeBC to make sure there is a safe and positive return-to-work plan for those injured on the job.

Employers with 20 or more workers who have employed an injured worker for at least one year before their injury must make sure their employees have a job to return to.

If employees can’t perform their original job and/or tasks, employers must have alternative jobs to accommodate the injured employee unless it causes an “undue hardship for the employer.”

Employers must also submit a return-to-work plan and other required documents to WorkSafeBC and this duty to maintain employment for their employees will apply to claims with injury dates from July 1 onwards.

“The primary goal is to identify and make suitable work available to workers in a timely and safe manner following an injury,” said WorkSafeBC in a statement.

Under the new law, workers will also have to cooperate with the employer to their best ability when following return-to-work plans.

This applies to all employers and employees, regardless of company size, and applies to claims with injury dates from Jan. 1, 2022, onwards.

“Many employers recognize the importance of workers returning to work and are already engaged in effective practices,” read the statement.

“Recent amendments to the Workers Compensation Act formalize these obligations. However, in cases where employers face challenges in complying with these obligations, WorkSafeBC will engage with them to address issues and offer support.”

In rare cases, further escalation or penalties may be required, under the legislation.

Employees who don’t comply with the new legislation will see reduced or suspended wage loss benefits.

WorkSafe BC is hosting a virtual employer information session on Nov. 16 from 3 to 4 p.m.

For information and to register, visit