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Employers council seeks clarity on coverage of COVID-19 related illness

The Manitoba Employers Council, of which MHCA is a member, has written to the Workers Compensation Board chair, seeking clarification of its policy for covering COVID-19 related illness.

“We are writing out of concern about the potential financial impact on WCB should claims relating to COVID-19 be accepted that are not the direct result of the course of employment,” the March 26 letter to WCB Chair Michael Werier states.

“We seek assurance that the application of WCB occupational disease policy will be applied to claims arising directly out of the course of employment, as opposed to arising from community transmission. For example, if an employee catches the flu from a co-worker while at work, this is not considered in the course of employment. However, a healthcare provider who is infected by a patient, would be covered.”

The council is asking that the policy regarding community vs. occupational disease be applied consistently and that WCB adjudicators receive a clarifying, informational bulletin on the issue.

“Simply, we seek confirmation COVID-19 is not generally compensable for workers where the likely cause of infection is through community transmission.”

The letter was copied to Scott Fielding, minister responsible for the WCB Act, WCB President Winston Maharaj and the employer representatives on the WCB board of directors.