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Canada celebrates 100 years of workers' compensation


Workers' compensation organizations across Canada are marking an important milestone in 2013, according to the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). William R. Meredith tabled the Workers' Compensation report to the Ontario Legislature 100 years ago, which led to the development of the Meredith Principles — the tenets upon which the Canadian workers' compensation systems were built.

The Meredith Principles were introduced in Ontario in 1913 and workers' compensation legislation came into effect in each province/territory at varying points in the years following.

"The Meredith Principles are just as relevant in shaping Canadian workers' compensation now as when they were first introduced 100 years ago," said Cheryl Tucker, executive director of the AWCBC. "The Meredith Principles promote no-fault insurance, security of benefits, collective liability, independent administration and exclusive jurisdiction."

The workers' compensation system is a historic compromise in which employers fund the system and compensate injured workers. In return, workers surrender their right to sue.

"The workers' compensation system is an important safeguard for Canadian workers," says Tucker. "Today, when workers are injured, they receive treatments and benefits while they return to health and work. And employers are protected by a shared liability insurance model, with protection from lawsuits."

Workers' compensation organizations support about 250,000 workers annually through lost time injuries and pay over $5 billion annually for health care, vocational rehabilitation and loss of earnings benefits.

The AWCBC, together with WorkSafeNB, will be hosting its annual learning symposium Sept. 17-19, 2013 for AWCBC members. The theme is the past, present and future of workers' compensation.

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