Travel Expenses – General
Effective date: May 1, 2021
Application: Applies to all travel expenses incurred on and after the effective date for all new and existing claims (i.e., with service date on and after the effective date).
Policy subject: Allowance and expenses
To establish guidelines for determining travel expense entitlements.
Home community means the city, town, village, hamlet, First Nation’s community, etc., in which the worker’s permanent place of residence is located (within the limits or boundary). If residing in a rural area, the worker’s physical home address is considered the home community.
- The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to take any necessary measures to assist injured workers with their recovery and return to work process (Section 111).
- The WCB has a duty to arrange the provision of any health care or treatment that may be required as a result of a work-related injury (Section 19(1)(b)).
- Injured workers are entitled to transportation and sustenance costs incurred when attending medical treatment for their injury (Section 103).
- The WCB will treat workers in a fair and reasonable manner (Section 19(1)(a)).
- The WCB is authorized to determine payments to workers necessary to carry out the intent of the Act (Section 115).
- The employer is responsible to provide or arrange for the worker’s immediate transportation to a medical facility or the worker’s home, if required, at the time of the work-related injury (Section 107). It is WCB’s intent to cover these transportation costs.
- Prior to the enactment of this policy, the WCB had been paying for injured workers’ travel expenses that exceed their normal work expense prior to the work injury. It is the Board Members’ intent to remove the normal work expense deduction to support the WCB’s vision of restoring injured workers’ abilities and returning them to suitable productive employment.
- An injured worker may incur additional expenses when travelling for medical treatments or appointments, vocational programs, Appeals Department meetings, Board Appeal Tribunal hearings, or Medical Review Panels. The WCB will cover a worker’s travel and sustenance costs when required to travel outside their home community to attend WCB‑directed appointments.
- The amount for travel expenses will be paid in accordance with the rates set out in PRO 01/2019, Travel Expense Rates. With the exception of kilometers travelled, meals and private lodging, workers will be required to submit a copy of the receipt(s) for actual costs to be considered for reimbursement.
- Travel expenses paid by the WCB prior to the effective date of this policy, will not be retroactively adjusted to remove normal work expense deductions.
Travel Within Home Community
- The WCB does not cover travel expenses if the worker travels to a medical appointment within their home community.
- If required due to medical necessity or exceptional circumstances, the use of specialized transportation (e.g., taxi) when travelling to medical treatment and programs within the home community will be covered.
Travel Outside Home Community
- Travel arrangements outside the home community must be discussed with and approved by the WCB. Workers will be advised of the travel expenses that will be paid for or reimbursed. This may include:
- Kilometres for private vehicle use calculated to and from the worker’s home community and the community where the medical facility or training centre is located,
- The actual cost of public transportation, including taxi to and from the transportation terminal (e.g., airport, bus terminal, etc.) and the medical facility, training centre or worker’s home,
- Meals, if the worker needs to be away from their home community over normal meal times,
- Accommodation, and
- Wherever possible, workers must attend the closest available medical facility or training centre and use the most practical means of travel. If the worker chooses to bypass the nearest available treatment facility or training centre, only travel to the closest available location will be covered.
- The WCB considers travel up to a 75 km radius from the workers’ home community to the medical facility and training centre as a reasonable commute. Accommodation costs may be covered if travel exceeds the reasonable commuting distance.
- The WCB may cover accommodation costs for travel within the 75 km radius if:
- The duration of the travel, time of the medical appointment or vocational training, and the worker’s individual circumstances make it unreasonable to travel the same day, or
- The commuting distance makes it unreasonable for the worker to commute back and forth from the home community to the medical facility or training centre for at least two consecutive days.
Out of Province Travel
- Medical treatments and vocational programs will be arranged within Saskatchewan. However, due to the needs of the injured worker and/or unavailability of treatments or vocational training programs, the WCB may authorize out of province travel.
- Workers travelling out of province will be paid for travel, meals, and accommodation expenses in accordance with PRO 01/2019, Travel Expense Rates.
Remote or Temporary Work Location
- Workers may relocate temporarily for the purpose of employment. This includes:
- Workers who live in remote work locations or employer-paid accommodations near a work site due to the circumstances and nature of their employment, and
- Workers from out of province who temporarily reside in Saskatchewan for employment.
- Travel expenses will be covered for workers who live in remote or temporary work locations when travelling to attend medical appointments:
- To and from the temporary place of residence and the nearest medical facility located in a different community, or
- To and from the worker’s home community and the nearest medical facility, if the worker returns home to recover and the nearest medical facility is outside the worker’s home community.
- When declared able to return to work, the worker’s return travel to the remote or temporary work location will not be covered by the WCB.
Change of Home Community While Receiving Treatment
- If the worker receiving treatment or benefits for a work-related injury changes their primary residence for personal reasons other than for employment:
- The WCB will not cover the additional kilometers if the travel distance to and from the worker’s new home community and the medical facility or training centre is greater than the distance prior to moving, or
- The WCB will reduce the travel entitlement accordingly if the travel distance to and from the worker’s new home community and the medical facility or training centre is lesser than the distance prior to moving.
- If the worker moves outside Saskatchewan for personal reasons other than for employment:
- The WCB may request the worker to return to Saskatchewan to attend treatment, and
- Additional travel expenses to return to Saskatchewan for treatment may be covered by the WCB based on the worker’s individual circumstances.
- If the worker moves for the purpose of new employment while undergoing treatment, travel entitlement will be based on travel from their new home community to the medical facility.
- If the worker returns to employment following a work-related injury and changes their home community and then suffers a recurrence of the work injury:
- The worker may be required to travel for medical treatment and/or programs, and
- The worker’s new home community will be considered when determining the travel entitlement.
- Workers will be covered for their travel costs when attending vocational rehabilitation programs outside their home community as follows:
- For travel within a 75 km radius from the home community, the worker will be covered for:
- Kilometres for private vehicle use, or
- The actual costs of public transportation.
- For short-term programs where relocation is not reasonable, meals, accommodation and parking will be covered at the discretion of the WCB based on the worker’s individual circumstances.
- For travel within a 75 km radius from the home community, the worker will be covered for:
- If the travelling distance exceeds the 75 km radius and it is cost effective for the worker to relocate for vocational rehabilitation while still maintaining a primary residence in their home community (POL 02/2014, Vocational Rehabilitation – Moving Allowance), the following expenses will be covered:
- A monthly accommodation allowance up to the maximum amount noted in PRO 15/2020, Consumer Price Index (CPI) – Annual Increase, and
- One trip per month to and from the training facility and the worker’s home community in accordance with PRO 01/2019, Travel Expense Rates, or the actual cost of public transportation.
- If the worker chooses to commute rather than relocate, actual expenses will be covered up to the maximum monthly accommodation allowance noted in PRO 15/2020, Consumer Price Index – Annual Increase.
- If the commuting distance is less than 75 km each way, the worker may be relocated outside of their home community based on their individual circumstances, the expected duration of the program and/or the worker’s physical restrictions.
- An attendant is a non-medical personnel required to help the worker manage the effects of their work-related injury during medical treatment or transportation to a medical appointment. If the worker medically requires assistance from an attendant, the WCB will cover the attendant’s expenses for travel, meals, accommodation and wage loss, if applicable.
- Treatment for a serious injury may require a donor (e.g., organ transplant). Subject to the requirements of the worker’s injury, the donor’s travel expenses, meals, accommodation and wage loss, if applicable, will be covered.
- If medical evidence indicates that the donor will be disabled for more than four weeks, the WCB may extend the time period for which compensation is payable.
(1) POL and PRO 39/2010, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – General (effective February 3, 2012 to April 30, 2021).
(2) January 1, 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (Bill 58).
(3) POL and PRO 12/2008, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – General (effective September 1, 2008 to February 2, 2012).
(4) POL and PRO 07/2003, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – General (effective January 1, 2003 to August 31, 2010).
(5) POL 13/93, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance for Medical Care (effective March 1, 1993 to December 31, 2002) and POL 12/96, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – Augmented Therapy (effective April 1, 1996 to December 31, 2002).