Overview of Workers’ Compensation and WorkSafe BC

In BC, all claims for workplace injuries are handled by an administrative body, WorkSafeBC. This is not optional – you are required to report your accident and your compensation is determined by WorksafeBC. It may be possible to review that decision, but the review is usually also handled by WorksafeBC, or the related but legally separate Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT). If you try to start a lawsuit, your claim can be dismissed. The only exception is if the decision process of WorksafeBC is clearly unjust. In that case you may be able to seek judicial review, but even if you succeed, your claim would likely be resubmitted to WorksafeBC for a new decision.

Workers’ Compensationa and Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents where all the drivers are ‘workers’ are exclusively handled by WorksafeBC – there is no ICBC claim. However, there are a couple things to consider if you think that your accident is covered by WorksafeBC:

  1. You must be a ‘worker’ at the time of the accident – some people are considered independent contractors and are excluded from WorksafeBC. Taxi drivers, real estate agents and self-employed persons often fall into the category of independent contractors.
  2. You must be acting in the course of employment at the time of the accident – if you are commuting to or from work, you are generally not considered to be ‘working’ for the purposes of a WorksafeBC claim.
  3. Even if you are a worker and in the course of employment, if the other driver was not a worker or not in the course of employment, you can elect to pursue your ICBC claim instead of your WorksafeBC claim.
  4. Finally, if there are multiple parties whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident, you may have an ICBC claim against some parties but not others. For example, if there was negligence by a non-worker and a worker, you may be able to claim against the non-worker but not against the worker.

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