An additional $3 million in annual funding will go to the Workers’ Advisers Office (WAO) and the Employers’ Advisers Office (EAO) to enhance their capacity to provide independent advice and advocacy to workers and employers in matters related to WorkSafeBC.
“The workers’ compensation system can be complicated and daunting to both employers and workers. These two offices help clients understand and navigate the process, and ensure they are being treated ― and compensated ― fairly,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for WorkSafeBC. “The funding increase is great news ― it will reduce wait times, expand services and resources, and offer more workplace safety training for employers.”
The two offices are branches of the Ministry of Labour with regional offices throughout the province. They are fully funded by WorkSafeBC’s Accident Fund, which, in turn, is funded by employer premiums. As Minister responsible for WorkSafeBC, Bains requested that the WorkSafeBC board consider the need for additional resources to support both workers and employers through the WAO and EAO, which resulted in the $3-million annual budget increase.
The WAO provides free advice to workers and their families on disagreements they may have with WorkSafeBC, including assisting workers with their compensation claims, representing them on appeals and providing advice about the Workers’ Compensation Act.
The EAO provides assistance and representation to employers on all aspects of the act, including claims, assessments and prevention. It provides employer training on obligations and rights under the act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.