Delta North NDP MLA Guy
Gentner wants B.C. worker disability pensions to return to their former
Gentner has introduced a private members bill that would
undo changes to the Workers Compensation Act by the Liberal government that
ended the practice of adjusting disability pensions based on the type of job a
Thats unfair, Gentner said, because it doesnt
recognize the impact of a disability depends on the type of work being
For example, the loss of a leg can be a career-ender for a
tree faller, but not for an office worker, Gentner observed.
Gentner also wants the act amended to restore lifetime
pensions for permanently disabled workers, who are now cut off at age 65 and
given a lump sum settlement.
Though those changes were made in 2002, Gentner said
its only in the last year that the full impact has become apparent
because of the time it takes to decide worker pensions.
Most of the cases that walk into my office these
days deal with workers compensation, Gentner said.
The new model is to deny, deny, deny.
Gentner said the changes were imposed as a money-saving
measure because the Workers Compensation Board was facing a substantial
But now, Gentner said, the deficit has turned into a
surplus that should be used to improve worker pension benefits.
Labour and Citizens Services Minister Olga Ilich
declined a Leader telephone request for comment, but a spokesperson in her
office advised that the rule changes brought B.C. into line with other workers
compensation systems in Canada.
Gentner said there is nothing wrong with giving B.C.
workers better benefits than other provinces.
Why not lead the way?