Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Richard Mostyn

Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act to be revamped

The Yukon government is moving to revamp its Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act.

By Whitehorse Star on October 14, 2021

The Yukon government is moving to revamp its Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act.

Richard Mostyn, the minister responsible for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board, tabled Bill No. 8 Tuesday in the legislature.

It “would modernize and amalgamate the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act,” as stated in a news release.

“It is important that we modernize the Yukon’s workplace safety and compensation systems,” Mostyn said in the release.

“The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act would be the most progressive act in the country, and would dramatically improve  Yukoners’ safety, both mentally and physically, and ensure injured workers receive the care and support they deserve.”

The release called the proposed changes a “simple, clean and effective Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act will ensure that worker safety and caring for injured workers is always kept at the forefront, in step with changing workplace conditions.”

Mark Pike, the chair of the board’s directors, added, “This marks another important stage in this process for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.”

Kurt Dieckmann, the board’s president and CEO, said, “This legislation will bring the Yukon in line with many other Canadian jurisdictions, ensuring that Yukon’s workplaces and workers will be protected under legislation that has their interests in the forefront, all the while ensuring that the compensation fund is kept in a balanced position to support Yukoners when they need it most.”

In the fall of 2019, the compensation health and safety board hosted a public engagement to ask Yukon employers, workers and stakeholders for their input.

It included stakeholder and public meetings, one-to-one meetings, outreach events, two online surveys and written submissions.

The public engagement concluded in January 2020.

The public engagement was summarized in a What We Heard report.

It noted that Yukon employers, workers and stakeholders support the modernization of legislation that enhances safety and compensation systems within the territory.

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Act will replace the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Comments (11)

Up 2 Down 1

Juanita Wood on Oct 21, 2021 at 9:33 am

Yes, new Board Members: Ask why prohibited reprisal complaints are being decided by safety officers when the legislation says a judge gets to decide them.
Ask why prohibited reprisal complaints are being decided in an admin law process when your own document, What We Heard, at page 19 states that an admin law process is NOT currently authorized for s.18 complaints.
Ask why workers aren't told that they need to file a private prosecution if they want to hold their employer accountable for a s.18 complaint of reprisal.
Ask why the Director, INSTEAD OF advising workers about the correct process (private prosecution), accepts complaints of prohibited reprisal when he has no authority or involvement whatsoever in section 18.
Ask why all WCB staff involved PRETEND a s.18 complaint is a matter for "enforcement action", i.e. fines and/or imprisonment when section 18 doesn't even fall under the Enforcement Section of the Act and fines payable to YWCHSB do nothing for the worker who got wrongly fired for raising safety concerns.
Ask why the Director directs workers to appeal the safety officer unauthorized decisions to an appeal panel (actual members of the Board of Directors) when the appeal panel has no authority to compel the s.18 prosecution the worker needs.
Ask why the vice-chair, who has been sitting in that cozy position for almost 15 years, repeatedly assumes jurisdiction over those appeals when it is clear in the legislation that a judge is the only authorized decision-maker meaning any appeal would lie to the Court of Appeal and not to an appeal panel.
Ask why when the worker is in the unlawful process and claims the process is wrong that the Director, in-house counsel and the Board of Directors (sitting as the appeal panel) just sit there with a blank look in their eyes and continue with the unauthorized process as if it were the proper process.
Ask why every single prohibited reprisal complaint since 2005 has been handled in this way - yes, even when the now President was the Director OHS.
Take a look at the Faro complaint and ask why, if the safety officers decided a reprisal DID occur, that worker was STILL not able to get a hearing into his complaint.
Ask to read the safety officers' "report" in the Faro case to see how damning it is of the employer and what a tyrant the boss was. Then ask to see the "information" - the charging document - that failed to mention the poor guy's dismissal and then ask your administrators WTF is going on.
Please do your jobs as members of the Board of Directors. YOU are responsible for the work coming out of that organization. Do not just accept what you are told. Get legal advice so you can understand exactly what your administrators are doing (wrong).
Do your jobs, newer Board Members. Do not just accept what the long-term board members and the President are telling you. Look into it for yourselves. Get a legal opinion and then fix the damn process so workers are actually able to exercise their legislated rights without FIRST being tricked into an unauthorized process which uses up the full limitation period for any remedies for the worker and which requires legal action to have overturned.
Yukon Workers are counting on you to govern YWCHSB in accordance with the purposes of the various legislation they administer! The purpose of the OHS Act is protection of workers! Not protection of employers!
PLEASE DO YOUR JOBS AND DEMAND ANSWERS to the questions posed above.

Up 1 Down 0

kris pavlovich on Oct 19, 2021 at 6:49 pm

Need to include many diseases and sicknesses that we got from work environments, like bladder cancer, asbestosis in lungs, for mechanics. I am sure there are a lot more.

Up 9 Down 2

Ch-ch-ch-changes! on Oct 19, 2021 at 2:27 pm

I agree with Screwed Over. Let's get rid of the Chair, the vice-chair and the President. Let's get some people with morals and ethics in those positions who will actually uphold their duty to treat workers FAIRLY and with RESPECT. Yes, it actually is a DUTY that can be found in the WCB Act, believe it or not.

Newer board members: don't look to these people as the voices of experience. Look to these people as the front of the gravy-train. Look at what they are REALLY doing to workers and don't rely on those old dogs to explain how things work. Dig! Ask the hard questions! Ask why it is SO hard for workers to get anything from YWCHSB! Look into those anomalies that Screwed Over pointed out! Don't just turn your head and accept what those old dogs tell you. DO YOUR DUTY and figure it out for yourselves.

We need BIG changes at YWCHSB, yes, including the legislation which definitely needs updating. But the biggest changes needed are at the top of the Board of Directors and at the top of the administration. Those old dogs have GOT to go!

Up 12 Down 2

Screwed Over by YWCHSB on Oct 18, 2021 at 5:46 pm

@ For Once You're kidding, right? Must have been a good free lunch!
Have you read the fine print on Page 5 of the "What We Heard" report? "As such, this report is not about what will be done. It is not a commitment. It is a representation of the voice of the community." Main point here: it is not a commitment. It was a warm and fuzzy exercise to say they've consulted with the stakeholders. That's it. They will do whatever THEY want.
Have you noticed how they added a step to the process for workers complaining of Unsafe Work? Compare the steps found on the website under the Worker Tab on the website with section 16 in the legislation. Note how the worker NOW has to complain about the same issue TWICE before YWCHSB gets involved - as per the website. Yuppers, YWCHSB just added that Step 1 WITHOUT AUTHORITY or discussion in the legislature. And where do they put it? In the first place the worker will look for information....on the website. Slimy. Very slimy.
And did you notice how YWCHSB transferred the obligation to report the issue from the employer TO THE WORKER? That's right! Again... without any authority. The legislation says the employer is FULLY responsible; the website says the worker is responsible. Slimy. Yes, very slimy indeed.
And did you happen to notice how OHS Issues - Paper #1 says that safety officers get to decide prohibited reprisal complaints? Now, compare that with the legislation at section 18 that clearly and unequivocally states that a JUDGE is the ONLY authorized decision-maker in complaints of reprisal. Were you too busy eating bonbons to notice they were pulling the wool over your eyes? Yes, they disrespected every single stakeholder in those consultation sessions, imo.
The Chair and vice-chair of the Board of Directors have been in those high-paying-honoraria seats for 15 years or so. This type of misleading information is sanctioned by those two!!!. I say they should go! Today. Not when their appointments expire, but today! Let's get some fresh blood in there (with the proper attitude of fairness and respect to workers). Once a new Chair and vice-chair are appointed, then let's get rid of the President. ASAP! That is the ONLY way workers will ever get what they are due from YWCHSB. Take off your rose-coloured glasses, For Once.

Up 10 Down 2

Oya on Oct 17, 2021 at 11:19 pm

@ Groucho I'm pretty sure any fines issued by YWCHSB result in the money going into the WCB compensation fund. Then when the fund gets too big, it gets rebated to employers. Sweet deal, eh? Not for workers, of course.

Up 12 Down 3

Groucho d'North on Oct 17, 2021 at 9:46 am

I'm not sure if the new regulations speak to this, but I would like to see the money from court fines against the employer's safety failures to be provided to the families and workers who may have suffered due to workplace injuries or death. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars as a quick Google search will reveal, from tire shops to mines, substantial monies are being gathered by the courts. I do not believe government should profit from a worker's misfortune or death.

Up 14 Down 11

Mitch Holder on Oct 15, 2021 at 12:36 pm

You want safety and care from your employer? FIRE HALF OF YTG TO PAY FOR IT.

Up 23 Down 10

Joe on Oct 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm

Look out, Moystyn on another mission. Ongoing train wreck.

Up 15 Down 9

Let’s Go Brandon on Oct 14, 2021 at 5:44 pm

An update eh? Lemme guess, no vaccine passport...no coverage?

Up 18 Down 8

TheHammer on Oct 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

..'The most progressive'.. 'In line with other jurisdictions." That's a contradiction. Any legislation in line with other jurisdictions is against injured workers. If this legislation says on the subject of annuity, the injured worker must purchase an annuity, that's a red flag, because it puts workers benefits into the hands of premium paying insurance companies, a kick back for employers. I haven't read this legislation. I never even heard about the public consultations.
As far as I know the Yukon Injured Workers Alliance no longer exists. So who was there for the injured workers? And don't tell me it was worker reps from the unions, because they were instrumental along with YP, WCB, and the Chamber of Commerce in dismantling the best legislation in the country provided by Tony Penniket's NDP.
Are seasonal workers and full time workers being treated equally? Richard Moystyn worked against injured workers when employed by WCB, and he got the job because he worked against injured workers as a journalist. Seeing is believing.

Up 24 Down 13

For once on Oct 14, 2021 at 2:40 pm

The consultation and the gathering of community input on this legislation was really well done. I don't normally jump out and cheer for the work of government, but YWCHSB and all those who participated in the drafting of this legislation should be commended. Here's hoping it gets to third reading quickly so we can move on from our 20 year old act.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.