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Policy Updates

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) recently updated four policies which came into effect July 1, 2019.

  • HC-02, “Safe Use of Medications”

  • EN-09, “Adjudicating Psychological Injuries”

  • EL-03, “Payment of Interest on Compensation Benefits”

  • GN-08, “Contracting”

HC-02, “Safe Use of Medications”

The Safe Use of Medications policy was updated to allow for case-by-case determination of the appropriateness and authorization of all medications, as permitted by the Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). The previous version of the policy listed medications not authorized for payment, which included cannabis. In light of challenges to similarly worded workers compensation policies across Canada, and the recent legalization of cannabis for recreational use, YWCHSB added provisions which will allow for case-by-case authorization of cannabis and other non-standard, not generally accepted drugs and substances after considering a written submission from the worker’s medical practitioner.

This update to the policy ensures all medications authorized to treat a worker’s work related injury are safe and effective. Other minor improvements were made to the policy to enhance clarity and alignment with the Act.

EN-09, “Adjudicating Psychological Injuries”

On November 27, 2017, presumption for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for emergency response workers was introduced to the Act. This amendment to the legislation required a change to the adjudicative process of PTSD claims for emergency response workers.

In the interest of reducing stigma and aligning the language between the policy and the Act, the policy now refers to psychological diagnoses resulting from work as “injuries,” rather than “disorders.” As well, a section was added to provide clarity on what are considered “normal pressures and tension of work” which do not give rise to a compensable claim. Updates to this policy provide guidance to decision makers on when and how to apply the presumption while clarifying some key concepts for all users of the policy.

EL-03, “Payment of Interest on Compensation Benefits”

The Act authorizes YWCHSB decision makers to pay interest on compensation benefits in keeping with a Board policy. YWCHSB introduced a policy on paying interest in the early 2000’s, to encourage more timely decision making on claims decisions. With the introduction of the new Act in 2008 and a focus on early and safe return to work, claim adjudication became much faster. The newly amended policy clarifies that paying interest is mandatory on retroactive awards of loss of earnings benefits on hearing officer reviews and Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal appeals. It also specifies what other situations require interest payments, and simplifies the interest calculation method.

GN-08, “Contracting”

YWCHSB’s contracting policy originally became effective on January 1, 2016. At that time, the policy very closely mirrored the Yukon government’s (YG) contracting directive. This was done to make the procurement process consistent for potential contractors dealing with both YG and YWCHSB. In April 2019, the YG contracting directive was updated with higher thresholds for the purchase of services and construction. As of July 1, 2019, YWCHSB’s contracting policy was updated to once again match these thresholds, ensuring ongoing consistency for contractors.

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