Workers may earn employment income of several different kinds, or from different sources. For many, earnings consist of a salary. For others, however, earnings may include commissions, lump sums for contract work, piece rates, or other forms of pay. Workers may also periodically receive bonuses, holiday pay, or other kinds of income.
When a worker is injured at work, income from various sources may be interrupted. The workers compensation system is designed to replace the employment income lost as a result of a workplace accident or disease. It is essential, therefore, that the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) accurately determines a worker’s actual loss of earnings at the time of a compensable injury.
This policy is designed to determine a worker's average earnings at the time of a compensable injury. Section 45 of The Workers Compensation Act (the Act) as it existed prior to January 1, 1992, and subsections 45(1) and 45(2) of the Act as it existed on or after January 1, 1992, refer to the method by which the WCB establishes average earnings. The two subsections (on or after January 1, 1992) provide some discretion in the area of average earnings. This policy ensures that the same method of calculating average earnings is available regardless of the date of accident. The method used will always be the one that best reflects the worker’s actual loss of earnings.
Subsequent WCB decisions about changes to the worker's average earnings as a result of wage adjustments (i.e., raises), inflation, etc., are not affected by this policy.
Any definitions of earnings for the establishment of earnings before the accident are also to be applied consistently in the establishment of earnings after the accident.