Legislative changes

The Government of Alberta recently passed legislative changes for the workers’ compensation system. Some of these changes came into effect January 1, 2021, while others are effective April 1, 2021. We are committed to keeping you informed and consulting with our stakeholders on areas where we need further input.

Stay informed

2021 review roadmap

Our review roadmap provides an overview of the legislative changes, including effective dates.

  • Legislative changes have also been made to the Workers' Compensation Act regarding the Fair Practices Office, Medical Panels Office and Appeals Commission.
  • In addition to the above legislative changes, the Government of Alberta introduced the Heroes Compensation Act, to be administered by WCB.
  • For specific details about these changes and corresponding timelines, please refer to Bill 47: Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020.

2021 legislation and policy changes

Navigate through the tabs to learn more about the 2021 legislation and policy changes. Additional resources will be available here as changes become effective.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • Reinstate maximum cap on workers’ compensable earnings. Workers with a date of accident on or after January 1, 2021, will be compensated at 90% of their yearly net earnings, to a maximum of $98,700.

    This maximum amount covers full wages for approximately 93% of Albertans.
  • Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation is set annually by the WCB Board of Directors. Workers eligible for a cost of living increase will receive 0.84% as of January 1, 2021.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • Presumptive coverage for traumatic psychological injuries will apply to first responders, correctional officers and emergency dispatchers only. If a first responder, correctional officer or emergency dispatcher is formally diagnosed with a psychological injury after exposure to a traumatic event(s) at work, we will presume the injury is related to their job, unless the contrary is proven.

    Traumatic and chronic psychological injuries are also covered for all workers in other occupations where there is evidence to support the injury arose out of and during the course of employment.

Additional resources

Visit the psychological injuries page for further details on coverage and other supporting resources.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • In the event a worker is terminated from modified work due to willful egregious conduct, WCB will pay benefits as though the modified work is still in place.

    We will work closely with stakeholders to define egregious conduct and develop the policies necessary to support this change.

Additional resources

Effective April 1, 2021

  • Duty to cooperate for both workers and employers. Employers and injured workers both have a duty to cooperate in all aspects of a worker’s safe return to work.

    The duty to cooperate will replace the obligation for employers to reinstate their workers after a workplace injury. The existing obligation to reinstate remains on claims with a date of accident between September 1, 2018 and March 31, 2021.

    We are consulting with stakeholders to develop the policies necessary to support this change.

Additional resources

For employers:

Effective April 1, 2021

  • The window for appeals to the Appeals Commission is aligned with the existing one-year window for review by the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body (DRDRB).

    This means that if the DRDRB decision is dated on or after April 1, 2021, the window to appeal to the Appeals Commission is one year. If the DRDRB decision is dated from September 1, 2018 up to and including March 31, 2021, the window to appeal to the Appeals Commission is two years (based on legislation in place at the time of the decision).

Effective April 1, 2021

  • Fairness review services will be provided by the Fairness Review Officer (FRO) through the Fair Process Review Centre (FPRC). The FRO is accountable to the Board of Directors and oversees the FPRC, which provides neutral, impartial and independent assistance to both workers and employers who feel they were treated unfairly. There is no cost to this service.

    Appeal advisory services for workers and employers will be provided through the Advisor Office and remain free of charge.

Effective April 1, 2021

  • On new claims with a date of accident on or after April 1, 2021, employers are no longer required to contribute to group health benefit plans for injured workers who are off work. Injured workers will continue to receive medical and rehabilitation benefits related to their injury from WCB through the life of their claim. Employers may voluntarily opt to cover health benefits after an injury.
  • The Medical Panels Office (MPO) will close and the role of Medical Panels Commissioner will transition to the Appeals Commission (AC). Medical panels will still be used an effective tool to resolve differences in medical opinions related to an injured worker’s claim.
  • Management of the independent medical exam (IME) physician roster will move from the MPO to WCB. Workers still have the right to choose their IME physician if an exam is requested by WCB.