Employment Law Library

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Workers' Compensation:
Purpose of Alberta's Workers' Compensation System

Purpose of Alberta's Workers' Compensation System

While injuries outside of the employment context are generally processed through the court system, work-related injuries are dealt with in accordance with Alberta's Workers' Compensation Act (the "WCA"). Rather than the courts, the Workers' Compensation Board (the "WCB") and the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers' Compensation (the "Commission") are responsible for applying the WCA. This means that unless an employer operates in an exempt industry as enumerated under the WCA's regulations, the courts lack jurisdiction to hear personal injury lawsuits against employers. Instead, a work-related injury must be reported to the WCB, which is responsible for determining whether or not the injured worker is entitled to compensation.
Due to the volume of work-related injuries and their potential effects for workers, employers, and the provincial economy, the WCA was intended to alleviate the burden on the courts and facilitate the efficient resolution work-related injury claims. For example, where a personal injury plaintiff proceeding through court must prove a defendant's liability, or legal responsibility, for causing that plaintiff's injuries, the WCA establishes a "no fault" compensation system that does away with concerns about liability.
This means that so long as a worker's injuries or disease arose out of and occurred in the course of employment, the worker will be entitled to WCB benefits. By eliminating liability issues, and hence the need for negligence law and courtroom trials, the WCA strives to make compensation accessible for all injured workers. In light of the significant duration and costs involved in prosecuting a lawsuit through the courts, Alberta's workers' compensation system serves a critical function in improving access to compensation for injured workers.



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Workers' Compensation:
Purpose of Alberta's Workers' Compensation System

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Content by Justin Harlton (Edmonton)

Edits/additions by

Page last reviewed for out-of-date information on [under construction].

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