Joint First Responders Workers Compensation Issue

JOINT FIRST RESPONDERS OF NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

WORKERS COMPENSASTION FACT SHEET

INTRODUCTION

The Joint First Responders group consists of representatives of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association, St. John’s Fire Fighters Association, Paramedic Association of Newfoundland & Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Officers and Deputy Sheriffs of Newfoundland and Labrador who have joined together to address the inadequacies in the current Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act.

ISSUE

To ensure public safety, first responders in Newfoundland and Labrador are mandated by legislation to execute their duties in highly unpredictable workplaces with uncontrolled environments. When injured during the course of these duties, first responders are seeking to maintain their current salaries rather than the current percentages otherwise provided by the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act.

CONSIDERATIONS

Under the current Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act, first responders in Newfoundland and Labrador would receive 80% of net earnings, up to a Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) of $61,615 when injured as a result of performing their duties to protect the property and people they serve.

For first responders in this group, this cap on earnings could result in a loss of up to fifty percent (50%) of their salary. This loss in pay can have a devastating effect on personal finances, the welfare of their families and the opportunity to build a future.

Further considerations:

 First responders, unlike most other professions, are unable to refuse dangerous or unpredictable work and are mandated to place their safety at risk in order to enforce public safety. Due to the ever-changing work environments, a standard workplace risk assessment cannot be completed for first responders yet they face discipline and possible job termination if they do not perform their duties.

Contact Information: Warren Sullivan President RNC Association warrensullivan@rnca.ca Doug Cadigan President SJ Fire Fighters Association presidentz1075@gmail.com

 

Government employees are self-insured. Providing 100% of net pay would come at no cost to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission.

 First responders are not seeking 100% of net earnings for ordinary workplace injuries which workers of any industry or sector could incur. These responders are pursuing their regular take home pay for injuries which were sustained in the execution of their mandated, lawful duties.

 The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act provides the fourth lowest maximum compensable earnings in Canada and prohibits top up by the Employer. Only Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have restrictions similar to Newfoundland and Labrador.

 Section 79 of the Act already allows for 100% entitlement for those engaged in rescue work in a mine or industry.

 RCMP officers currently receive 100% of their take home pay if they are injured while performing their duties.

CONCLUSION

First responders are crucial to ensuring the public safety of Newfoundland and Labrador and its citizens. They understand that they face inherent risks in their uncontrollable and unpredictable workplaces however they should not face financial risk because of the work they undertake.

RECOMMENDATION

The first responders of Newfoundland and Labrador recommend that the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act be amended to incorporate the following;

In the case of Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association Police Officers, St. John’s Fire Fighters Association Members, Paramedics Association of Newfoundland members, Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries and Wildlife Officers, Deputy Sheriffs of Newfoundland and Labrador and Correctional Officers of Newfoundland who are injured during the course of their mandated duties, the compensation payable shall be calculated on the basis of 100% of net earnings in lieu of the percentages otherwise provided by the Act.