Win for Workers: WorkSafe BC to Include Presumptive Coverage for Workers who Test Positive for COVID-19

WorkSafe BC has agreed to add presumptive coverage for some workers, meaning they will be able to get worker’s compensation if they tested positive for COVID-19 without having to prove their condition was caused by their work.

Before this change, workers who tested positive for COVID-19 needed to prove that they were infected at work to receive WorkSafe compensation. While WorkSafe has not yet decided which industries will be covered, UFCW 1518 will continue to fight for the inclusion of industries where our members work.

For the many grocery, pharmacy, industrial food, and home care workers who have been holding the front lines during this pandemic, this requirement represented a hardship and a barrier to getting the help they need for their work-related illness.

WorkSafe has also announced that they will speed up the process of instituting this change. Normally, coverage changes like this take 18-24 months to take full effect. For presumptive COVID-19 coverage, WorkSafe has proposed a six-month timeline to bring the changes into effect.

“We welcome this change from WorkSafe and we are glad that they have announced they will speed up the process to bring the change into effect,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “However, we are not satisfied with the six-month timeline when so many workers need coverage now and are taking a risk simply by going to work.”

UFCW 1518 will continue to pressure the government and WorkSafe BC to speed up this process so our members can get the help they need if they get sick. The union will also be advocating for WorkSafe to close the gap in coverage for those workers who have self-isolated because of COVID-19 symptoms as health authorities have instructed them to do.

For more information on COVID-19 related compensation and support, check out our COVID-19 Resources page.