Home Workplace News Changes to Saskatchewan’s workers’ comp legislation will expand coverage, simplify processes: Province

Changes to Saskatchewan’s workers’ comp legislation will expand coverage, simplify processes: Province

by HR Law Canada

A number of significant amendments to Saskatchewan’s Workers’ Compensation Act are coming into effect on Oct. 1, 2024, including changes designed to expand occupational disease coverage and streamline various administrative processes for workers and their families.

One of the key changes is the inclusion of six additional forms of cancer — penile, pancreatic, thyroid, soft tissue sarcoma, mesothelioma, and laryngeal cancer — under occupational disease coverage for firefighters. This expansion acknowledges the heightened risks firefighters face in the line of duty.

The amendments also introduce several updates to privacy provisions to align them with The Health Information Protection Act. These updates will provide for administrative penalties in the event of a privacy breach and simplify the process of releasing information during the reconsideration or review of compensation claims, the provincial government said in a press release.

Notable changes

Other notable changes include:

  • Publishing appeal tribunal decisions: All appeal tribunal decisions, along with their rationale, will be publicly accessible.
  • Covering transportation costs: Expenses related to transporting a deceased worker’s body to their usual residence outside of Canada will now be covered.
  • Compensation for dependent children: Dependent children will receive compensation if a worker dies from a non-work-related injury while receiving compensation, regardless of how long the worker had been on compensation.
  • Simplifying the medical review panel process: The process for medical reviews will be streamlined to reduce complexity.
  • Increasing and indexing awards: The permanent functional impairment award will be increased over a four-year period and subsequently indexed. Similarly, the independence allowance will be indexed.

“These amendments will make administrative processes easier for injured workers and loved ones grieving the loss of deceased workers, and provide more comprehensive cancer coverage for firefighters who put their lives at risk to protect the citizens of this province,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Definition of ‘worker’ changing in 2025

Additionally, starting Jan. 1, 2025, the definition of “worker” under the Act will be amended. This change will exclude executive officers and include secondary and post-secondary students in recognized programs.

The amended definition will also allow for the inclusion of other categories of workers in the regulations, ensuring broader coverage.

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