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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Number 2, November/December 2003

Extra-curricular/ voluntary activities and WCB compensation

by George Taylor

The BCTF has been successful in appealing WCB decisions denying compensation for members who have been injured while performing extra-curricular/voluntary activities.

The following appeals are examples of successful appeals.

1. On December 4, 2001, a member in Maple Ridge was supervising an intramural lunch-time activity when he injured his knee. WCB denied his claim because it was a voluntary activity and not part of a teacher’s work. The BCTF appealed the WCB decision on behalf of the member, and on July 30, 2003, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) ruled the worker suffered a personal injury that arose out of and in the course of his employment as a teacher. The member will now receive wage-loss and healthcare benefits from WCB and have his sick leave restored as per contract.

2. On October 29, 2002, a member in North Vancouver was supervising a school bike club when he suffered a right inguinal hernia. WCB denied his claim because it was a voluntary activity and not part of a teacher’s work. The BCTF appealed the WCB decision on behalf of the member, and on June 12, 2003, the Workers’ Compensation Review Division overturned the WCB case manager’s decision and ruled that the direct inguinal hernia arose out of and in the course of his employment as a teacher. The member will now receive wage-loss and healthcare benefits from WCB and have his sick leave restored as per contract.

3. On October 24, 2001, a member from Central Okanagan suffered an injury while attending a voluntary workshop after school. WCB denied her claim because it was a voluntary activity and not part of a teacher’s work. The BCTF appealed the WCB decision on behalf of the member, and on February 25, 2003, the Workers’ Compensation Review Board ruled that the worker suffered a personal injury that arose out of and in the course of her employment as a teacher. The member will now receive wage-loss and healthcare benefits from WCB and have her sick leave restored as per contract.

Appeal agruments

  1. Extra-curricular voluntary activity does benefit the employer by offering the students extra school activities.
  2. Many of our contracts have similar language: "While voluntarily engaged in extra-curricular activities authorized by the principal, employees shall be considered to be acting in the employ of the employer and, as such, are eligible for coverage by the employer’s insurance."
  3. Teachers are paid an annual salary; therefore they are being paid during the activity even though the salary is paid over 10 months.
  4. We have defined instructional time in our contract, but our workday is not defined. Teachers do planning and preparation, report cards, coaching, field trips, and many other activities that are outside the normal instructional day.
  5. Under The School Act, Regulation 256/89 Duties of Teachers, teachers are always on supervision. Questions panel members asked during an appeal:
    • If a teacher failed to help a student who was hurt during the voluntary activity, could, or would, the employer discipline the teacher?
    • If a teacher failed to deal with a student who was breaking the rules, could, or would, the employer discipline the teacher?

    Because the employer could, or would, discipline a teacher for her or his behaviour while doing an extra-curricular voluntary activity, that establishes that the injury did arise out of and in the course of employment.

  6. In some cases, the employers reimburse or pay the member to attend the voluntary activity.
  7. Would the activity have taken place if the member had not volunteered?
  8. Did the employer approve the activity?
  9. Was the member the person in charge of the activity?
  10. Was the member covered by the employer’s insurance policy during the activity?
  11. Employers are starting to support members’ appeals regarding extra-curricular/ voluntary activities. The employer doesn’t want the claim denied because that would be one more reason for teachers to stop doing extra-curricular voluntary activities.

Steps to filing for WCB compensation

  1. Inform the principal or vice-principal of the injury or disease you believe is work related. Ensure that the information is documented.
  2. Ensure that the appropriate person has filled in the first-aid log at the work site.
  3. File a "Workers’ Report of Injury or Occupational Disease to Employer." It may be a district-developed form or a WCB Form 6A. The employer is required to file a "Form 7" within three days of receiving a report from a member.
  4. At the same time you file the report with your employer, file an "Application for Compensation and Report of Injury or Occupational Disease" Form 6 with WCB. If you are not sure where to get the form or have questions, seek help from the staff rep.
  5. Always copy "Form 6A" and "Form 6" for yourself and for the local teachers’ association/ union office.
  6. Always report your injury or occupational disease to your doctor, and request that the doctor file a "Physicians First Report Form 8" with WCB.

George Taylor is a BCTF health and safety officer.



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