Changes to WorkSafeBC Pensions

Some important changes to the Worker’s Compensation act have come into effect.

One that could be of particular interest to those workers in receipt of long-term disability benefits is the Board will reconsider decisions made regarding the duration of pensions.  Currently pensions are only payable until age 65 unless at the time that the pension is granted the worker can prove that he or she was intending to work beyond age 65.  For all intents and purposes that was an impossible test for most workers. How would a 40-year-old know when he was going to retire?

Under the new rules anyone having been granted a pension before they reach age 63 provided that they make an application before they reach the age 65.  The board will decide whether pension extensions will be granted based on some of the following factors:

  • names of the employer or employers the worker intends to work for after age 65, a description of the type of employment the worker is going to perform, the expected duration of employment, and information from the identified employer or employers to confirm that the employer(s) intends to employ the worker after the worker reached age 65 and that employment is available;
  • a statement from a bank or financial institution outlining a financial plan and post-age 65 retirement date;
  • an accountant’s statement verifying a long-term business plan (for self- employed workers), indicating continuation of work beyond age 65;
  • information provided from the worker’s employer, union or professional association regarding the normal retirement age for workers in the same occupation and whether there are incentive plans for workers working beyond age 65;
  • information from the employer about whether the worker is covered under a pension plan provided by the employer, and the terms of that plan;
  • information regarding whether the worker has the capacity to perform the work;
  • financial obligations of the worker, such as a mortgage or other debts;
  • family commitments and/or circumstances of the worker; and
  • an outstanding lease on a commercial vehicle (for self-employed workers).

Another important change increases the amount of compensation payable to workers as a result of the increase in the maximum assessable earning rate to $100,000 from $87,100 in 2020.  This change puts BC roughly on par with Alberta and Ontario but below Manitoba’s $127,000.

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