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Status: Bill 47 received royal assent on December 9, 2020
Ministry responsible: Labour and Immigration
Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Code will take effect in late 2021.
Bill 47: Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020 amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Radiation Protection Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act to simplify language and remove unnecessary barriers for job creators without making substantive changes to workers’ rights and protections.
Bill 47 brings balance to workplaces and helps ensure workers can rely on a sustainable compensation system if they get ill or injured on the job.
Reducing red tape supports Alberta’s economic recovery by helping attract new investment opportunities and getting people back to work.
Bill 47 updates the following legislation:
Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Removes duplication and redundancy throughout the act to make it easier to understand and follow for job creators and workers.
- Removes the requirement for health and safety committees and representatives to be on work sites with multiple employers and a prime contractor, such as construction sites
- Prime contractors will be required to have a contact to coordinate health and safety issues between employers and workers
- Occupational health and safety directors will still be able to require a committee or representative be present on any work site
- Renames discriminatory action complaints to ‘disciplinary action complaints’ to avoid confusion with human rights laws
- Allowing occupational health and safety officers to dismiss complaints of questionable merit before starting an investigation
- Clarifies definitions and reporting requirements of potentially serious incidents
- Clarifies rules and definitions around dangerous work refusals to make it easier to follow so that serious health and safety concerns can be resolved more quickly
Radiation Protection Act
- Incorporates radiation protection laws into the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide clarity for employers and workers and make them easier to follow
Workers’ Compensation Act
All workers have access to coverage for work-related psychological injuries through the normal WCB claim process. Presumptive coverage for psychological injuries will only apply to firefighters, police officers, sheriffs, correctional officers, paramedics and emergency dispatchers.
Reversal of costly changes made in 2018 ensure programs and services remain sustainable and affordable. Additional changes include the following:
- Reinstated an insurable earnings cap for injured and ill workers
- Limited presumptive coverage for psychological injuries to firefighters, police officers, peace officers, correctional officers, paramedics and emergency dispatchers
- Other types of workers still have access to coverage for work-related psychological injuries through the normal claim process
- Returned the Workers’ Compensation Board’s responsibility to calculate cost of living adjustments, rather than basing them automatically on the Alberta consumer price index
- Removed the legal obligation to reinstate an injured worker
- Reinforced the duty to cooperate for employers and injured workers to support the worker’s early and safe return to work
- Maintained injured workers’ right to choose a physician for a medical exam
- Removed the requirement for employers to contribute to health benefit plans for injured workers who are off work
- Continued to allow the Workers’ Compensation Board to have oversight of the Accident Fund to address the needs of injured workers and employers
- Moved services provided by the Fair Practices Office and the Medical Panels Office to other organizations to reduce duplication and save money
Most changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will take effect in late 2021. Most changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act take effect January 1, 2021.
Changes affecting the Fair Practices Office and Medical Panels Office will take effect April 1, 2021.
- Workers’ compensation fact sheet (PDF, 356 KB)
- Occupational health and safety fact sheet (PDF, 278 KB)
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