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Police association calls for full workers’ compensation for officers

Newfoundland and Labrador police officers currently receive only 80 per cent of pre-injury net earnings, says Service NL


The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Association (RNCA), which represents police officers in the province, is calling for changes to workplace health and safety legislation to allow full compensation for injured officers.

Currently, officers receive 80 per cent of their pre-injury net earnings, to a maximum gross of $61,615 as of Jan. 1, according to Vanessa Colman-Sadd, director of communications with Service NL, but the RNCA wants that increased to 100 per cent.

Colman-Sadd said that the department had recently gone through a statutory review process for Newfoundland and Labrador’s compensation system, during which the RNCA had made their request for full coverage for officers injured in the course of their duties. However, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission’s Statutory Review Committee did not make that recommendation to government in its final report, Colman-Sadd said.

“There is no province in Canada [that] provides a wage-loss benefit of 100 per cent of pre-injury net earning exclusively to police officers,” she noted. “There are six provinces [that] allow employers to top up, though, for all injured workers,” she added, stressing that RCMP officers are covered federally and that the compensation issue applies only to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers.

Colman-Sadd noted that changing legislation to allow for full compensation or top-ups “would result in significant costs to employers and the workers’ compensation system, whether that’s for RNC or all injured workers. As well, any changes made to the workers’ compensation system must take a balanced approach, considering the needs of workers and employers.”

Doug Cadigan, president of the St. John’s Fire Fighters Association, said that the association “fully supports” the RNCA’s position. He said that he believes that emergency responders who are injured in the course of their duties while responding to or at an emergency should receive 100 per cent of their salary while recovering. “We think emergency responders are unique in that unlike all other workers in the province, once we begin responding to an emergency, we no longer have control of our workplace.”

Cadigan noted that while it is the responsibility of employers to ensure workers have a safe environment, it has been proven in the past that “this cannot be accomplished” at a fire or other emergency.


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4 Comments » for Police association calls for full workers’ compensation for officers
  1. jerry doucett says:

    Why not all workers? No one should be exempt from getting full pay; 80% of your net pay doesn’t go that far these day. Workers don’t go to work saying, “Great, I am going to get hurt today, so I can get 80% of my pay.” The idea of workers abusing the compensation is not that high; approximately 5% of the workforce. I think that the Commission is targeting the workers to make it harder for the injured worker to get the proper treatment and pay.
    J

  2. Terra says:

    One did not expect the Statutory Review Committee to recommend government removal of the ban on top-up for injured employees in Newfoundland. There is also no political will to do so. Newfoundland is ruled by employers who think that this ban is a good thing. What they don’t realize is that this ban has been in effect for over 20 years, and is an antiquated law from a bygone area.

  3. Terra says:

    This is also a major reason why young skilled workers refuse to work in the province and prefer to work out West, where employers provide top-up. And also probably why the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) has difficulty recruiting. We now know that if a female RNC officer can receive top-up for maternity leave, but if injured, has to subsist on 50% of pay.

  4. Terra says:

    Unions (or associations in the case of Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC)) need to forget advocating for removal of the ban on top-up. There is no political will to do so and it will not be removed. What is required – and it is amazing it has not already been implemented – is legal action. How come a union or association has not gone to court on this matter? When this ban on top-up was enacted in 1994, wasn’t collective agreements in effect that stipulated injured employees would receive top-up (RNC was probably one of these)? The ban removed this. Doesn’t this legislation infringe on the contractual vested rights of injured employees and, over the last 21 years, prevented them from negotiating on issues relevant to injured employees (e.g., pensions)? Isn’t this against the Canadian Charter of Rights?

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