Effective date: June 1, 2014
Application: All decisions made on claims on and after the effective date, where a worker is found dead.
Policy subject: Decision making - Principles
To establish guidelines for applying presumptive clauses in fatalities.
Found dead refers to the situation where there are no witnesses to the occurrence or circumstances of a death. Finding a person a few minutes after being seen alive would normally not constitute being “found.”
- Section 29 of The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) states “unless the contrary is proven, if a worker is found dead at a place where the worker had a right to be in the course of their employment, it is presumed that the worker’s death was the result of injury arising out of and in the course of their employment.”
- The rebuttal clause in Section 29 means that if the cause of death proves not to be work-related, the WCB will not provide coverage.
- If a worker is found dead at the worksite, the WCB will determine:
- If the worker was a worker as defined under the Act.
- If the worker was in a place the worker had a right to be in the course of employment, and
- The worker’s cause of death.
- The WCB will presume that the death arose out of and in the course of employment unless the contrary is shown. Strong evidence is required to rebut this presumption. Grounds sufficient to rebut the presumption include:
- Worker’s employment duties or circumstances could not have contributed to the medical cause of death, and
- Investigation conclusively reveals the actions leading to the worker’s death had no connection to the worker’s employment.
In the absence of such strong evidence, allowing for rebuttal of the presumption, the WCB will accept the claim.
- If a worker is found in a comatose state at the worksite and subsequently dies and no one saw what led to the worker’s collapse, where evidence permits, the WCB will presume that the death arose out of and in the course of employment unless the investigation proves otherwise.
(1) POL and PRO 16/2010, Fatalities, Presumption (effective May 1, 2010 to May 31, 2014).
(2) POL 10/2002, Fatalities – Presumption (effective January 1, 2003 to April 30, 2010).
(3) Bill 72, The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2002.
(3) POL and PRO 09/1999, Fatalities – Presumption (effective May 17, 1999 to December 31, 2002).
(4) POL 34/83, Fatalities Presumption Clauses (effective July 7, 1983 to May 16, 1999).