Workers’ compensation

Man holding box in warehouse, holding his back

Getting hurt or ill on the job not only impacts your health, but can leave you without a source of income. That’s where British Columbia’s workers’ compensation program comes in.

Common questions

The program covers a wide range of occupational injuries and illnesses, including:

  • physical injuries, such as a broken bone, burn, or concussion
  • diseases, such as cancer or a respiratory disease like asbestosis
  • psychological injuries (the law uses the term mental disorders), such as diagnosed anxiety caused by harassment or some other traumatizing incident at work

For your claim to be successful, the injury or illness must have occured in the course of your employment.

For more, see our in-depth coverage.

First, report the injury to your employer right away. They’re responsible for getting you any necessary first aid and taking you to a medical facility (if needed).

Second, see your physician. Your doctor will recommend treatment, and may refer you to another health care practitioner. Ask them if there are modified work duties you can continue during your recovery. Make sure to let your health care providers know you were injured at work.

Third, start a claim for workers’ compensation. This is a BC government program that compensates workers who suffer a workplace injury or illness. We have in-depth coverage of making a claim for workers’ compensation.

WorkSafeBC — the agency that runs BC’s workers’ compensation program — offers a variety of benefits and services to those who are eligible. Depending on the nature of injury or illness, you could receive:

  • health care benefits and services, to cover the cost of health care services and supplies considered reasonably necessary to treat your injury or illness
  • wage-loss benefits, to compensate you if you lose pay as a result of your injury or illness
  • vocational rehabilitation services, a collaborative process to help you safely transition back to the job you were doing
  • permanent disability benefits, to compensate you if your disability is likely to impair your future earning capacity

If you had a condition that predated the workplace injury, workers’ compensation only covers you for the problems caused specifically by the workplace injury.

We explain each type of benefit in our guidance on making a claim for workers’ compensation.

In BC, there’s no requirement for self-employed workers to register for coverage under the workers’ compensation program. But if you’re self-employed, you may be able to purchase optional coverage. This would cover your lost salary and medical expenses if you’re injured on the job.

The WorkSafeBC website explains how to apply for optional coverage.

Who can help

WorkSafeBC logo
WorkSafeBC
Deals with complaints about unsafe working conditions and injuries on the job.
Call 1-888-967-5377 Visit website
Workers' Advisers logo
Workers’ Advisers Office
A government office that helps workers with claims for workers’ compensation benefits. They are separate from WorkSafeBC and there’s no charge for their services.
Call 1-800-663-4261 Visit website

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed in August 2021
  • Time to read: 2 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Richard Johnson, Ascent Employment Law and Sara Hanson, Moore Edgar Lyster LLP

Richard Johnson, Ascent Employment Law
Sara Hanson, Moore Edgar Lyster LLP

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This information from People’s Law School explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. See our disclaimer.

Related

On Dial-A-Law

Dial-A-Law has more information on Injuries at work in the section on Work.