Alberta. Ministry of Human Resources and Employment

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Alberta. Ministry of Human Resources and Employment

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<em>Dates of founding and/or dissolution:</em> The Alberta Workers' Compensation Board was founded with the name Workmen's Compensation Board by means of the passage and proclamation of <em>The Workmen's Compensation Act, </em>1918 c. 5. <em>Functional responsibility:</em> The Workers' Compensation Board was created in order to address income loss due to work-site accidents. The mandate of the Board was based on the Meredith principle articulated by Chief Justice William Meredith: that negligence and fault for the cause of injury are not considerations, workers receive compensation benefits at no cost for work related injuries, employers bear the direct cost of compensation and in return receive protection from lawsuits arising from injuries, and a neutral agency will have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters arising out of the enabling legislation. The Workers' Compensation Board has been responsible for investigating worksite accidents, assessing employers to maintain medical and pension compensation funds, rehabilitation support, inspection of work sites, electrical inspection, and creating and enforcing safety standards. The Board has been responsible for the administration of <em>The Workmen's Compensation Fund Act, The Workmen's Compensation Fund Act (Accident Fund), The Electrical Protection Act, The Boilers Act, 1929, The Factories Act, The Coal-mines Regulation Act, The Blind Workers' Compensation Act, the M.L.A. Compensation Act,</em> and the<em> Workers' Compensation Act</em>. Between 1918 and 1973, the Board was empowered to make regulations in support of the Act's provisions. The 1918 Act, following the 1914 Hillcrest mining accident, originally applied only to the mining industry but by 1920 amendments had included almost all other industries save ranching and retail services. The responsibilities of the Board continued with only minor amendments to the assessment and compensation scales until the passage of the <em>Workers' Compensation Act,</em> 1973 c. 87. The 1973 Act established "universal coverage" applying to all industries save those few outlined in regulations. Four years later the government eliminated this concept and the number of those industries scheduled to fall under the Act declined dramatically. In 1975 the Board entered into an agreement with the federal Department of Labour to perform accident prevention inspections, accident investigations and related services in Alberta for industries subject to the Canadian Labour Code. <em>Predecessor and successor bodies:</em> In 1908 the Alberta Government assumed responsibility for ensuring compensation for workers injured in the course of their employment through the first <em>Workmen's Compensation Act,</em> 1908 c. 12. For ten years the Attorney General administered the act, including investigating worker's claims, assessing the employer's compensation payment, and referring cases to ad hoc arbitration committees. <em>Administrative relationships:</em> Between 1918 and 1973, the Board reported directly to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who presented their annual report to the Legislative Assembly. With the passage of the <em>Workers' Compensation Act</em> in 1973, the Board came under direct oversight by a member of the Executive Council. The Board continued to be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Act. Since 1973, the Board has reported to the Legislative Assembly through the Minister assigned responsibility for administering the Act. The Board has reported through the Minister of Manpower and Labour (1973-75), the Minister of Labour (1975-79), the Minister responsible for Workers' Health, Safety and Compensation (1979-86), the Minister of Community and Occupational Health (1986-88), the Minister responsible for Occupational Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation Board (1988-92), and the Minister of Labour (1992-99). Since 1999, the Board has reported to the Legislative Assembly through the Minister of Human Resources and Employment. <em> Administrative structure:</em> Until 1988, the Board was made up of two to four members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who designated one member as Chairman. For the purpose of investigating claims, the Board could appoint officers to undertake investigations. After 1918 and the establishment of an administration separate from the Attorney General's office, full-time claims investigators were in the employ of the Board. In its early years, the Board's administrative structure included three departments: Accident Prevention, Electrical Protection, and Mines Rescue. The Accident Prevention Department was responsible for work site safety inspections and safety and first aid training. In 1976, these responsibilities were transferred to the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Department of Labour. Between 1918 and 1939 the Board's Electrical Protection Department performed inspections of electrical installations to fulfill the Board's responsibilities under the <em>Electrical Protection Act.</em>In 1939, administration of this Act was transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry. The Mines Rescue Department was responsible for establishing and operating mine rescue stations and recruiting, training and certifying mine rescue workers. In 1967, under an agreement with the Department of Mines and Minerals, the Mines Branch of the Department assumed responsibility for establishing and operating mine rescue stations and recruiting and training mine rescue teams. The Board continued to pay all costs associated with mines rescue. In 1972, responsibility for mines rescue was transferred to the Energy Resources Conservation Board. In 1938, the Board set up its first rehabilitation clinic, at the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. In 1949, the Board expanded its rehabilitation services to include vocational rehabilitation to retrain disabled workers for new occupations. In 1952, the Board's custom-built Edmonton Rehabilitation Clinic was opened. This site became the focus of the Board's rehabilitation services from this point onwards. In 1972 a Board of Review was established to hear workers' appeals to decisions regarding compensation and to hear employers' appeals regarding assessments. In 1973, the <em>Workers' Compensation Act</em> allowed for the creation of a Claims Review Committee, which served the same purpose. A new Assessment Review Committee was created to hear appeals from employers regarding assessments levied upon them. The Board members continued to serve as a second level of appeal for aggrieved workers and employers. The Board reorganized again following the 1988 Millard Task Force Report. <em>The Workers' Compensation Amendment Act,</em> 1988 provided for the creation of an Appeals Commission independent of the daily operations of the Board to provide a second level of appeal beyond the Claims Review Committee. The position of President and Chief Executive Officer was created to oversee daily operations of the Board, and a Board of Directors was appointed. The new Board of Directors contained members external to the Workers' Compensation Board: three representatives each from the general public, employers, and employees. The Chairman and the President of the Workers' Compensation Board are also members of the Board of Directors. This composition of the senior executive of the Board continues today. <em>Names of the corporate bodies:</em> Workmen's Compensation Board 1918-73; Worker's Compensation Board 1973-present. <em>Names of chief officers</em>: Chairmen of the Workers' Compensation Board: John T. Stirling 1918-28; Alexander Ross 1928-35; Dr. Victor W. Wright 1935-45; Carl Cook (Acting) 1945-47; C.M. Macleod 1947-72; Charles R. Gilbert (Acting) 1972; Roy H. Jamha 1973-84; Kenneth C. Pals 1984-88; Vernon Millard 1988-94; Betty Screpnek 1994-98; Rick LeLacheur 1998-present; Presidents of the Workers' Compensation Board: Kenneth C. Pals 1988-92; Dr. John Cowell 1992-98; Mary J. Cameron 1999-2002; Rick LeLacheur (Acting) 2002; Guy R. Kerr 2002-present.


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