Document name
Expenses – Travel & Sustenance – General
Document number
POL 39/2010

Effective date: February 3, 2012

Last updated: December 9, 2010

Application: All new and existing claims on and after the effective date.

Policy subject: Allowance and expenses

Purpose:

To establish guidelines for the reimbursement of travel and sustenance requirements.

DEFINITION

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Additional travel requirement means the portion of travel outside the resident community exceeding the worker’s normal pre-injury employment travel requirement.

Complete work cycle means the number of work days and rest days the worker has over a specific period of time (e.g., there are 28 days in a complete work cycle where the worker works 3 weeks in a row, and has 1 week off).

Normal pre-injury employment travel requirement means the average weekly expenses workers are responsible for or incur prior to a work-related injury (e.g., commuting from their resident community and workplace, meals, accommodation and parking).

Resident community means limits of the city, town, or village in which the worker’s permanent place of residence is located.

BACKGROUND

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  1. The purpose of the travel and sustenance reimbursement is to ensure workers are reimbursed for additional travel requirements when required to travel outside the resident community to attend medical treatment, vocational programs or other appointments or hearings.
  2. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) endorses the principle of equally reimbursing injured workers and WCB employees at Public Service Commission (PSC) rates for travel costs.
  3. Section 103(1)(d) of The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) obligates the Board to cover travel and sustenance costs associated with receiving medical treatment for a work-related injury. Further, Section 111 of the Act provides the Board with the authority to provide whatever support it considers necessary in assisting the injured worker in the recovery and return to work process. Accordingly, it is the Board’s policy that it will cover the travel and sustenance costs incurred by an injured worker in attending medical or other appointments required for their recovery and return to work.
  4. Section 19(1)(a) requires that the Board treat workers in a fair and reasonable manner. This applies to the individual injured worker as well as all workers in a broad sense and the Board endeavours to create policy that is fair, equitable and reasonable to all workers covered by the Act. It is for this reason that only travel and sustenance costs in excess of travel expenses normally incurred in daily employment activities are covered by this policy.
  5. Subject to the following policy, travel for the purpose of medical treatment or vocational training will be reimbursed for the portion exceeding the worker’s normal pre-injury employment travel requirement.
  6. Average weekly expenses that a worker normally incurs prior to a work-related injury are determined by totalling a worker’s normal pre-injury employment travel requirement over a complete work cycle, and averaging the sum into a weekly amount.

POLICY

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  1. All travel reimbursements must be pre-approved by the WCB. Workers will be advised in advance of the travel requirements that will be reimbursed. Where the approved reimbursement is less than the amount claimed by the worker, the WCB will provide the worker with a written explanation.
  2. Reimbursement will be determined on the basis of whether the worker has additional travel requirements when travelling outside the resident community for medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation programming.
  3. Travel requirements incurred by workers attending medical review panels and appeal hearings are reimbursed in full without deduction for normal pre-injury employment travel requirements.
  4. Wherever possible, workers must attend the closest available treatment facility or training center. Where the worker chooses to bypass the nearest available treatment facility or training center, only travel to the closest available location will be reimbursed.
  5. Unless specialized transportation (e.g., taxi) is required due to medical or other circumstances (e.g., the worker is unable to travel in a private vehicle or use public transit due to injury), no reimbursements will be paid where the place of medical treatment is located in the worker’s resident community. Where the worker does not normally pay for parking to attend pre-injury employment, the WCB may reimburse parking receipts.
  6. Where the worker’s normal pre-injury employment travel requirement is solely within the resident community, no deduction will be made from reimbursements for travel requirements outside the resident community.
  7. Subject to Point 2, where required to travel outside the resident community, but within Saskatchewan, workers will be reimbursed for additional travel requirements:
    1. Kilometres for private vehicles at PSC rates calculated between city center and city center, or the actual cost of public transportation (e.g., STC bus) plus return taxi from the terminal to medical treatment;
    2. Meal per diems at PSC rates where workers are required to be away from home over normal meal times;
    3. Reimbursement for hotel accommodation supported by copies of original receipts where required to be away from the resident community for a 24-hour period. Where private lodging is preferred, the PSC rate for staying at a private home will be reimbursed;
    4. Copies of original parking receipts, where not considered a normal pre-injury employment travel requirement.
  8. Where off work following an injury, the worker changes their place of residence and required travel results in:
    1. Greater travel requirement than their previous entitlement, an amount equivalent to the original sum remains payable; if lesser travel requirement, the amount payable is reduced accordingly;
    2. The exception to (a) above is where, as a result of the compensable injury, the worker relocates for the purpose of new employment and is still undergoing medical treatment; travel and sustenance is payable from the new place of residence to the treatment facility.
  9. Where a worker resumes work following a work-related injury, then changes place of residence and a recurrence requires the worker to travel for medical attention once again, whether or not the worker continues to work after the relapse, the worker’s new place of residence is to replace the original resident community in determining whether additional travel requirement will be reimbursed.
  10. Decisions for out of province travel will be based on need and or availability of the required medical treatment or vocational training program within the province.

Out of Province Medical Treatment

  1. Where a worker is required to travel out of province to expedite treatment, attend specialist appointments, diagnostics (e.g., MRI and CT scans) and or undergo surgery, the following will apply:
    1. The most economical means of transportation (typically airfare) will normally be reimbursed, plus the actual cost of taxi or specialized transportation to and from airports and hotels, along with travel to and from medical facilities;
    2. Where the compensable injury precludes travel by public transportation, PSC kilometre rates for private vehicles will apply; and
    3. Meals, accommodation and, where applicable, parking, will be reimbursed in accordance with Point 7.

Captive Employees

  1. Captive employees in work camps, or workers temporarily residing in employer paid accommodation near a work site, can incur additional travel requirement over the worker’s normal pre-injury employment travel requirement in two circumstances:
    1. Round trips from the camp or place of temporary residence to the nearest medical treatment facility will be covered as an additional travel requirement;
    2. Where the worker returns to the permanent place of residence to recuperate, travel to the nearest medical center may be covered only where the nearest medical center is not in the resident community.
  2. No responsibility will be accepted for the cost of bringing the worker from the camp or work site back to the resident community to recuperate, nor returning the worker to the camp or work site where fit to resume work, as this is a normal employment travel requirement.

Donors

  1. Effective treatment of a serious injury may require a donor (e.g., organ transplant). Where necessary, reasonable transportation and sustenance will be authorized on behalf of the donor, subject to the requirements of the emergency.
  2. The donor will be compensated on the basis of actual loss of earnings or the equivalent of minimum compensation whichever is greater, for a period not exceeding four weeks. The WCB may grant additional time by which compensation is payable.

Attendants

  1. The WCB may pre-approve travel and sustenance for attendants other than qualified medical personnel where it is considered essential by reason of the worker’s injury and confirmed by the treating physician and or WCB staff.
  2. An attendant will be reimbursed on the basis of actual salary loss, but only for the period of time that such attendance was necessary and at a rate not to exceed the maximum wage rate (Section 37 of the Act). No salary loss will be paid where the worker is in receipt of a Personal Care Allowance (PCA).

Vocational Rehabilitation

Commuting to Programs

  1. Vocational training programs are typically longer in duration than medical treatment and often located outside the worker’s resident community. To ensure the worker is reimbursed for additional travel requirements, the following will be provided:
    1. For travel within a 75 km radius from the resident community (considered a reasonable commute), the following will be provided:
      1. PSC kilometre rates up to a maximum of $190 per week for private vehicles;
      2. Where public transportation is used, actual costs.
    2. At the discretion of the WCB, where a worker’s individual circumstances make commuting a hardship, travel requirements (e.g., meals, accommodations, parking) will be reimbursed. This is normally restricted to short-term programs where relocation is not considered.

Relocation

  1. Where the commuting distance exceeds a radius of 75 km and it is cost effective, relocation will be considered (POL 02/2014, Vocational Rehabilitation – Moving Allowance). Where the worker relocates, the following will be provided:
    1. A travel and sustenance allowance up to the per month maximum referenced in PRO 14/2019, Consumer Price Index – Annual Increase (includes travel and room/board); and
    2. One trip to the resident community per month at PSC mileage rates or the actual cost of public transportation.
  2. Should the worker choose to commute rather than relocate, only an amount up to the maximum monthly living allowance (referenced in PRO 15/2020) will be paid.
  3. Where the commuting distance is less than a radius of 75 km, workers may be relocated outside of their resident community based on their individual circumstances. Determining factors may include expected duration of the program and or whether the worker’s physical restrictions make commuting a hardship.

Policy references

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Section heading

Act Sec #

Page/document title
19(1)(a), 37, 103(1)(d), 111

Section heading

Amended

Page/document title
01 January 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013

Section heading

Supersedes

Page/document title
POL 12/2008 Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – General

Section heading

Complements

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