March 2014

What is Workers' Compensation?


While the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) believe workplace injuries and diseases are preventable, the startling fact is, every year thousands of workers get hurt on job in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. When they get hurt, they turn to the WSCC to help care for them and their family.


Safety & Care


The WSCC works in partnership with stakeholders to ensure workplace safety, and care for workers, with the ultimate goal of eliminating workplace diseases and injuries across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The WSCC serves two main functions: to ensure workers and employers work safely and maintain safe workplaces; and to provide care for workers who sustain an injury or contract a disease while performing their job.


The legislated employer-funded compensation system, governed by the Workers' Compensation Act(s), is a form of social insurance that protects both workers and employers. Employers pay assessments into a common fund, the Workers' Protection Fund. This disperses the cost of administering the workers' compensation system across all employers. The system also protects employers from being sued by injured workers.


The WSCC supports injured workers and their dependants by paying benefits, using the resources of the Workers' Protection Fund. The benefits can include compensation for wage loss, coverage of medical treatment or equipment, and other services necessary because of a workplace injury or disease.


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


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 suffer an occupational disease or injury;
  • Collective Liability - Employers share the cost of compensating injured workers;
  • Independent Administration and Adjudication - The WSCC protects both workers and employers under workers' compensation law; and
  • Exclusive Jurisdiction - WSCC decisions are not subject to court review. If a worker or employer disagrees with a WSCC decision they can appeal the decision through the Review Committee and the Appeals Tribunal.

Compensable Injuries


"Arising out of" and "during the course of" are important WSCC terms. Arising out of refers to what causes an injury, and during the course of refers to the time and place of the injury. Both must be directly linked to the injured worker's employment to be eligible for compensation under the workers' compensation system.


For the WSCC to find an injury compensable, they must confirm a direct link between the injury and the worker's employment. If a worker has a medical condition that originated outside work, it is not compensable.


The WSCC only compensates workers for injuries sustained on the job, not for injuries that happen on the way to and from work, when volunteering for a work-related event, or when, in the course of their employment, a worker deviates from their work plan (for example, running a personal errand outside of their assigned work duties). The WSCC does provide compensation for workers who are injured while driving or in a vehicle while performing their job duties.


Properly reporting incidents and seeking medical attention for occupational diseases and injuries supports an injured worker's claim for compensation, and allows the WSCC to make quick and accurate decisions to facilitate the worker's recovery.


Injury Reporting


The Injured Worker

Seeking medical attention is an injured worker's first priority. If a worker is hurt while on the job, they must tell their healthcare provider the injury is work-related. The worker must also report the work place injury to their employer as soon as possible.


Injured workers have up to a year from the incident date to file a Worker's Report of Injury with the WSCC, but it is advisable to file as soon as possible. The sooner the WSCC receives a worker's claim, the sooner they can start providing benefits and services that facilitate the worker's recovery.


The Employer

Employers must take care of an injured worker. They must provide first aid and pay for transportation to the nearest hospital, healthcare centre, or doctor if necessary. Within three days from the date of the incident, they must complete and submit the Employer's Report of Injury to the WSCC, and provide a copy to the injured worker. The General Safety Regulations require employers keep an accurate account of all incidents.


The Healthcare Provider

The doctor or healthcare provider who treats an injured worker must also report to the WSCC within three days of their first examination or treatment. The First Medical Report helps support an injured worker's claim. Receiving proper health care helps a worker return to work and a normal life, as soon as it is healthy and safe to do so.


A Shared Responsibility

Workplace safety and claims reporting are everyone's responsibilities. Working together, we can lessen the impact of workplace injuries on workers and their families, and on employers by supporting early and safe return to work.


Want to Learn More?

The Northern Territories Federation of Labour (NTFL) offers a free one-day course, Understanding Workers' Compensation, that takes a deeper look at workers' compensation, explaining benefits and compensation payments. It gives an overview of the claims process reporting obligations, benefits and services, and the appeals process. NTFL deliver this course in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

  1. Employers must submit the Employer's Report of Injury to the WSCC within three working days of the incident.
  2. Injured workers have up to a year from the time of the incident to file their claim.
  3. An injured worker's first priority is their health. Seek medical attention immediately.
  4. You can file a Report of Injury form over the telephone using WSCC's Tele-Claim service. It's as easy as calling the Yellowknife or Iqaluit office.
  5. Still have more questions? Call the WSCC at 1-800-661-0792 in the Northwest Territories or 1-877-404-4407 in Nunavut, or visit our website.  1.800.661.0792   *  /  1.877.404.4407