The excluded workers : a case for universal workers' compensation in Manitoba

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Swarbrick, Kari.
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Twenty-five percent of Manitoba's working population do not have mandatory workers' compensation coverage. The impact of an occupational injury or illness on these particular workers, their families, their employers and society as a whole can be devastating. To protect workers in Manitoba, it is recommended that the province adopt a system of universal workers' compensation. Through an examination of existing literature, legislation, government documents and interviews, this problem is examined. To effectively control workplace hazard causation prevention must be a priority and where this is not possible mitigation must be available. This thesis shows that workers' compensation has developed in Manitoba to exclude select groups of workers from mandatory compensation coverage. Further it demonstrates that these excluded workers are exposed to many workplace health and safety hazards, which can never entirely be prevented. However as mitigation, in the form of compensation, is not available to these workers, full hazard control is not presently operational in Manitoba. Manitoba has a long history of proposing to expand workers' compensation coverage, however it has only minimally acted upon these proposals. The Workers' Compensation Board of Manitoba has recommended methods by which compensation coverage might be expanded. One of these proposed methods was used in British Columbia to successfully create a system of universal workers' compensation. Manitoba should adopt the implementation method used in British Columbia, which requires all workers and industries to be automatically covered by workers' compensation, with very few exceptions. This would effectively protect Manitoban workers, employers and society as a whole.