The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”) has stated that workers’ compensation may be available for claims due to COVID-19 infections contracted through work-related exposure.
Infections of COVID-19 will be deemed to be work-related when a worker contracts COVID-19 as a direct result of their employment, if the following conditions are met:
- There is a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace; and either
- The employment involves sufficient exposure to the source of the infection (e.g. the time period in which COVID-19 is contacted is in close proximity to the confirmed workplace exposure); or
- The nature of the employment creates a higher risk of exposure for the worker than to the general population.
WCB has advised that these conditions will likely only apply to the health-care sector or in some other limited circumstances. The mere potential to come in contact with sick individuals in the course of employment is insufficient to ground a WCB claim.
Compensation is not available for preventive measures or non-work-related exposure. The WCB will not accept claims from workers who choose to stay home to avoid exposure, are symptom-free when quarantined, or are sent home from work as a precautionary measure.
Employers must submit an Employer’s Report of Injury (“E1 form”) when there is a confirmed exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. An E1 form must be submitted for each worker who has fallen ill due to COVID-19. Employers are not required to report to the WCB if a worker is exposed to COVID-19 but does not develop symptoms.
Accepted claims related to COVID-19 will be time loss injuries for the purposes of workers’ compensation and premiums. To date, the WCB has not indicated whether it will take steps to reduce the impact COVID-19-related claims may have on employer premiums.
The MLT Aikins labour and employment team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates on legal issues that may impact employers. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team if you require assistance in getting your organization prepared for addressing the operational impacts of COVID-19.