OHS Canada Magazine

Canada Celebrates 100 Years of Workers’ Compensation – Meredith Principles Remains Relevant a Century Later

September 13, 2013

Transportation Workers Compensation - Benefits Workers Compensation - Policies

TORONTO, ONT. (Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada)

TORONTO, ONT. (Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada)

Workers’ compensation organizations across the country are marking an important milestone in 2013. It’s been 100 years since Sir William R. Meredith tabled his Workers’ Compensation report to the Ontario Legislature. From this report emerged the Meredith Principles which are the tenets upon which the Canadian workers’ compensation systems were built. “The Meredith Principles are just as relevant in shaping Canadian workers’  compensationnow as when they were first introduced 100 years ago,” says Cheryl Tucker, Executive Director of the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). “The Meredith Principles promote no-fault insurance, security of benefits, collective liability, independent administration and exclusive jurisdiction.”

The workers’ compensation system is a historic compromise in which employers fund the system and compensate injured workers. In return, workers surrender their right to sue. “The workers’ compensation system is an important safeguard for Canadian workers,” says Tucker. “Today, when workers are injured, they receive treatments and benefits while they return to health and work. And employers are protected by a shared liability insurance model, with protection from lawsuits.” It’s a stark contrast to what workers faced in the early 1900s when crowded factories and unsafe working conditions were common. When workers were injured, great economic strain was placed on families, who were often left impoverished if the main breadwinners were injured and unable to work. Injuries also impacted employers who were faced with the risks and uncertainty of litigation.

“The Canadian workers compensation system was a remedy, one that was badly needed at the time,” explains Tucker. One hundred years after the principles which are its foundation, the workers’  compensationsystem remains an essential part of Canadian society. To learn more, visit http://meredithcentennial.ca.

The AWCBC, together with WorkSafeNB, will be hosting its annual learning symposium September 17-19, 2013 for AWCBC members. The theme is the past, present and future of workers’ compensation.


The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) was founded in 1919 as a non-profit organization. The Association’s mission is to drive a strong Canadian leadership role in providing the safest and healthiest workplaces in the world and a fair, affordable workers’ compensation insurance system.

Background Information

    --  The Meredith Principles were introduced in Ontario in 1913.        Workers' compensation legislation came into effect in each        province/territory at varying points in the years following.
    --  The workers' compensation system is significant within the        Canadian economy, covering about 8 in 10 Canadian workers in an        insurance model funded by Canada's employers.
    --  Workers' compensation organizations support about 250,000        workers annually through lost time injuries.
    --  Close to one million employers in Canada are covered by        workers' compensation insurance.
    --  Many workers' compensation organizations are also involved in        injury prevention.
    --  Workers' compensation organizations in Canada pay over $5        billion annually for health care, vocational rehabilitation and        loss of earnings benefits.
    --  To learn more, visit  o http://meredithcentennial.ca  o www.awcbc.org

SOURCE Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)

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For further information:      Cheryl Tucker, Executive Director Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada Suite 1007, 40 University Ave. Toronto, ON Phone: 416-581-8875, ext. 201 Cell: 647-801-9509 Toll free: 1-855-282-9222, ext. 201


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