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What is the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission?

The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) administers the Workers' Compensation Acts, the Safety Acts and Regulations, the Mine Health and Safety Acts, and the Explosives Use Acts to protect workers in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The WSCC strongly commits to prevention, and works to improve northern safety cultures through safety education. The WSCC also ensures that workers injured on the job get the compensation they are entitled to.

The WSCC has four responsibilities. They are to:

  • promote safe workplaces through education and enforcement;
  • ensure compensation and pensions are awarded to injured workers or their dependents, and are paid in accordance with entitlement;
  • assess employers sufficiently and fairly to meet these obligations; and
  • maintain a balance in providing benefits to injured workers while keeping assessment costs to employers as low as possible.

In the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, a seven-person Governance Council governs the WSCC. The Council represents the interests of labour, industry, and the public sector. The NWT Minister responsible for the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission appoints the chairperson of the Council, in collaboration with the NU Minister responsible. The NWT Minister responsible makes all other formal appointments to the Council.

What is workers' compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of social insurance for workers and employers. The four key elements and founding principles of workers' compensation are:

No-Fault Compensation - Compensation is available for injured workers whether or not they, their co-workers, or their employers are at fault. In return, workers can't sue their employers if they are injured or become ill because of their jobs.

Collective Liability - Employers share the cost of compensating injured workers.

Independent Administration and Adjudication - Workers and employers are protected equally, and get equal service from the WSCC, under workers' compensation law.

Exclusive Jurisdiction - WSCC decisions are not subject to court review. If they disagree with a WSCC decision, workers and employers can appeal the decision through the Review Committee and the Appeals Tribunal.

Workers’ compensation is the law. No industries are exempt from WSCC requirements.

What is the Workers' Protection Fund?

To meet its responsibilities, the WSCC established and maintains adequate reserves, called the Workers' Protection Fund. Employers pay assessments into this common fund; benefits are paid to injured workers or their dependents using the Workers' Protection Fund. These benefits can include compensation for loss of wages, coverage of medical treatment or equipment costs, and other services needed because of a work injury.

The WSCC maintains the Workers' Protection Fund by revenue collected from employer assessments and investments.