North American Partnership Aims to Improve Understanding
Six Canadian jurisdictions are included in a new review of workers’ comp regulations and benefit levels. The Workers Compensation Research Institute and the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions have teamed up to present a tool to better understand the workers’ comp similarities and differences among the various jurisdictions.
“The report, Workers’ Compensation Laws as of January 1, 2014, is a key resource for policymakers and system stakeholders to identify the similarities and distinctions between workers’ compensation regulations in multiple jurisdictions in effect as of January 1, 2014,” according to a statement from WCRI. “The publication is best used to understand macro-level differences and general tendencies across jurisdictions.
Among them are things such as:
- How many states/provinces allow individual or group self-insurance?
- How do the maximum and minimum payments for temporary and permanent total disability benefits vary?
- How many states cover mental stress claims, hearing loss, and cumulative trauma?
- How many jurisdictions allow the worker to choose the treating physician, and how many allow the employer to do so?
The document is based on work initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor that used a standard set of tables to promote uniformity in responses across states and consistency in reports, the organizations explained. When budgetary cuts ended the DOL’s publication in 2006, the WCRI and IAIABC agreed to continue the resource.
The report also includes information from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan. Also included is the U.S. federal workers’ comp program and the longshore program.
“In Canada and the United States, workers’ compensation is under the control of state and province legislative bodies and administrative agencies,” said Ramona Tanabe, WCRI’s deputy director and counsel. “As a result, it is easy to misunderstand subtle differences between jurisdictional laws and regulations. This survey gives you the ability to understand those differences.”
For example, the term “permanent partial disability” generally seeks to provide a benefit for future wage loss resulting from an occupational occurrence. While jurisdictions use various methods to accomplish this, their terminology may differ. “So an additional level of quality assurance was added to this project to attempt to gain as much accuracy and consistency as possible,” the report said.