Workers' CompensationA worker injured at work, or made ill with a disease caused by work may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. The Nunavut Workers' Compensation Act explains which workers qualify, and the benefits for which workers may qualify. Territorial workers' compensation is administered by the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC). The WSCC administers the Workers' Compensation Acts, the Safety Acts and Regulations, the Mine Health and Safety Acts, and the Explosives Use Acts to protect workers in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and ensures that workers injured on the job get the compensation they are entitled to.
What compensation can a worker with a work injury or illness receive from WSCC?Medical benefits - WSCC may pay the costs of medical treatment and the costs of travel and living expenses needed for medical treatment. If an injured worker requires a traveling companion, WSCC may pay the companion's travel expenses. Some costs may have to be paid up front by the worker. A worker can call WSCC to find out whether or not she or he will get compensation for particular medical expenses or services. Compensation is sent to the worker after the worker sends WSCC the medical receipts.
Medical benefits continue until medical treatment is no longer needed. This means medical benefits can continue even after the worker returns to work.
Lost wages benefits - WSCC might pay a worker 90% of the worker's yearly earnings. The actual amount of lost wage benefits received by a worker depends on many calculations. Benefits continue until the worker's doctor or health care provider decide the worker can return to work.
Pensions for permanent physical disabilities - A worker can receive a sum of money as compensation, or monthly lifetime payments.
Rehabilitation services - These services prepare an injured worker for a return to work when the worker's injury prevent her or him from returning.
Survivor benefits - When a worker dies from an occupational disease or from an injury caused by work, the worker's spouse and dependents can receive compensation from WCB.
Are all workers covered by workers' compensation?Almost all workers in Nunavut are covered, including
- inmates on work release and inmates serving alternate sentences
- Nunavut Land Claims Beneficiaries
- holders of a General Hunting License who earn at least 25% of her or his income from hunting or trapping
WSCC can answer questions on whether or not a worker is covered. WSCC's toll free phone number, in Iqaluit, is 1-877-404-4407.
When a worker is injured, what should she or he do?
An injured worker should get first aid and immediately report the injury to the supervisor. Next, the worker sees a doctor or nurse, letting the doctor or nurse know that the injury is a work injury. At workplaces without first aid, or if an injury requires it, the injured worker sees a doctor or nurse immediately. While the employer might recommend a doctor, the worker can go to the doctor of her or his choice. The employer pays for the worker's transportation to the doctor's or nurse's office.
When the injured worker meets with the doctor or nurse, the worker should tell the doctor how the injury is work related. By giving a detailed account of the incident, the worker can give the doctor all the facts needed to complete the medical report for WSCC. Information on equipment and hazardous materials may be important for the medical report as well. To fully describe the injury, the worker can tell the doctor or nurse not only about the main injury, but about minor ones as well; for instance, a twisting of the back or bruises to other parts of the body when there's a broken arm after a fall. One work injury sometimes can lead to a second injury. After an accident, an injury may not be obvious at first, some injuries develop over time. Some occupational illnesses, like bronchitis or repetitive strain injury, also develop over time. A worker's notes on her of his minor work injuries, illnesses and accidents can be used to later trace how work may have caused or played a significant part in a more serious injury or illness.
A worker must submit a Worker Report of Injury form to WSCC as soon as possible. A worker must ensure the employer submits an Employer Report of Injury form to WSCC as soon as possible. A worker must also ensure medical records are submitted to WSCC.
A worker should write down everything that took place before, during and after the injury including anything of note prior to the injury, as well as noting any witnesses to the accident. This information may be of use during investigations. A worker should also keep any reciepts related to the injury.
Unions are interested in workers' accounts of accidents, injuries and illnesses in the workplace. By collecting information from workers, a union can judge whether to recommend such measures as worker training, the use of safety equipment or equipment repair in improving health and safety in the workplace.
How can a worker get compensation?When a work accident occurs, the worker fills in a Worker's Report of Injury Form. Forms are available in English, French and Inuktitut. After a work accident, even if a worker doesn't expect to miss time from work, she or he should complete a report according to territorial law.
The worker should answer the questions on the Worker's Report of Injury Form in great detail. In particular, the events leading to the accident or injury can be reported like a story, with a beginning, middle and end, including background details and the names of any witnesses. The worker keeps a copy of the completed report for her or his own records.
A friend, coworker, or family member can fill in the report with the worker. Information on workers' compensation benefits and information on how WSCC makes its benefits decisions is available free of charge from the Workers' Advisor. While the Workers' Advisor is funded by WSCC, it acts independently from WSCC. Services of the Workers' Advisor are free of charge and all exchanges are confidential. The toll free phone number to contact the Workers' Advisor is 1-877-816-0166. Worker's Advisor services in Inuktitut can be arranged by calling, toll free, 1-877-404-4407.
A unionized worker can go to her or his union, too, for information and assistance completing the report.
In deciding whether or not to compensate a worker, and in deciding the amount of compensation a worker receives, WSCC looks not only at the worker's report, but also at the employer's and doctor's or nurse's medical report on the worker's injury.
What should the worker do while off from work because of a work injury or illness?It is important for the worker:
- To speak with WSCC before changing doctors, since changing doctors may not be permitted
- To keep in contact with the doctor or other health care provider, to attend all medical appointments and follow all medical instruction (such as exercise programs, nutrition plans, the use of medical aids, etc.)
- To talk with the doctor or other health care provider about when it is safe to return to work
- To take detailed notes on conversations with health service providers
- To keep records of the names of doctors, nurses and other health service providers, health service appointments and treatments, health service providers' notes, and health expenses
- To keep all receipts for expenses related to the work injury or illness for a possible refund from WSCC
- To take detailed notes on conversations with WSCC workers and to keep copies of letters and information that the injured or ill worker sends to WSCC
- To take notes on conversations with the employer, to keep records of time taken off from work
- To tell WSCC about any plans to leave the territory, even for a short stay, since WSCC benefits might stop while an injured or ill worker is away
What can a worker do if she or he disagrees with WSCC's decision?A worker can appeal WSCC's decision. This means a worker can ask WSCC to change its decision, or parts of its decision. The decision concerns whether or not a worker receives benefits, the type of benefits the worker receives, and the amount and length of time the worker receives benefits.
The Workers' Advisor can work with a worker on appealing a WSCC decision. The services of the Workers' Advisor are free of charge and all exchanges between the Advisor and worker are confidential. The toll free number is 1-877-816-0166.
A worker who is unionized can contact her or his union for assistance and advice on appealing a WSCC decision.
WORKERS' SAFETY AND COMPENSATION COMMITTEE OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES AND NUNAVUT
P.O. Box 8888
Yellowknife NT X1A 2R3
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0792
For more information about the Worker's Compensation and to learn more about the claim's process, view the Worker's Compensation Handbook.