by independent boards. The most significant of these was the idea of “no-fault
compensation.” This means the workers
give up their right to sue their employers
in exchange for no-fault income security
in the event of a workplace injury. Employers pay for the system in return for
protection against liability.
Today, the system in Canada is still built
on the founding Meredith principles. It is
a quasi-government run system, 100 percent employer-funded and provincially
administered through individual boards.
In each province these boards operate
under different names and have different
maximum benefit levels, legislative provisions, and penalty programs (See Table).
If not managed carefully, the cost of
Workers’ Compensation penalties can
have a significant and serious financial
impact on a company’s bottom line. This
often takes employers by surprise at the
For many employers in the U.S., Canada offers an attractive market for business expansion. Culturally and economically
close, Canada shares a strong western
economy, one of the world’s largest disposable incomes, a higher paid price for
goods, and on occasion, less competition
for market share.
Even with all the advantages, businesses should also be aware of the risks
when considering expansion across the
border. Workplace legislation and the
legal policies companies must follow
are significantly different from those in
the United States. Notably, the Workers’
Compensation system has some unique
and costly elements.
No employer wants to see an accident
The Canadian Workers’
or injury in the workplace, but when
they do happen, employers in Canada
need to understand how to negotiate
the complex maze of the local Workers’
The Canadian Workers’ Compensation
system is more than 100 years old and
was cultivated in the rich and hazardous landscape of a booming industrial
and economic revolution. In 1910, Chief
Justice of Ontario, Sir William Meredith,
was asked to head a Royal Commission
studying Workers’ Compensation systems throughout the world.
In his Royal Commission report, Meredith said that the true aim of compensation law was to provide for both injured
workers and their dependents. He identified five basic principles for a compassionate system: no-fault compensation,
security of benefits, collective liability,
exclusive jurisdiction and administration
Going Across the Border?
Here’s how to manage Canadian Workers’
By Liz R. Scott, Ph.D.