Accidents in the workplace: federal government employees

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The Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA) provides compensation to federal government employees who are injured while on the job or become ill because of their work. If the injury or illness leads to death, employees' dependants may be entitled to compensation. The Government of Canada uses provincial workers' compensation agencies to provide services for federal employees.

If you work for any of the following employers, you are covered under the Government Employees Compensation Act:

  • the Government of Canada, in Canada or overseas
  • most federal Crown corporations
  • federal agencies
  • the Senate
  • the House of Commons
  • the Library of Parliament
  • the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer
  • the Parliamentary Protective Service

Note: Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and regular members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are not covered by the Act.

If you are injured while on the job or become ill because of your work you may be entitled to compensation for expenses such as:

  • loss of earnings
  • medical care and
  • rehabilitation costs

Dependants of a deceased employee may be entitled to compensation and benefits.

If you have questions about compensation for workplace injuries or illnesses, contact the Federal Workers’ Compensation Service.

Your responsibilities

If you are injured in an accident at work or develop an illness caused by your work, it is your responsibility to take the following steps:

  • Quickly seek first aid.
  • Tell your supervisor immediately. If you have to seek medical treatment outside of working hours, notify your employer as soon as possible.
  • Give your employer as much detailed information about the accident or illness as you can.
  • Work with your employer to file a compensation claim as soon as possible. Ensure that you both agree on the details that describe the accident or illness. If your description differs from your employer's, include your version with the claim, and your comments about the employer's version.
  • Attend and keep a record of all medical appointments and treatment programs recommended by your doctor and by your workers' compensation agency case manager.

Employer responsibilities

Your employer must :

  • report to the Federal Workers’ Compensation Service any occupational injury or illness that requires medical care beyond first aid, or that results in time off work; and
  • work with federal and provincial authorities to make sure that your claim is processed quickly and properly.

Your rights

As an employee, you have the right to:

  • choose your own doctor
  • receive compensation
  • get help to return to work and overcome disabilities related to your injury or illness and
  • request an impartial investigation if you disagree with the way your employer described the accident

Workplace accidents caused by a third party

Sometimes a workplace accident is not caused by an employer. For example, someone could be hit by a car while at work. In this case, the person or company that caused the accident is called a third party. If your work injury was caused by a third party, you (or if you die, your dependants) have two options:

You cannot claim compensation AND sue the third party.

If you choose to sue the third party for damages and the court awards you money, or if you agree to an out-of-court settlement* for an amount of money that is less than the compensation you would normally receive under the Act, then you may be entitled to collect the difference between the two amounts. (*The Minister of Labour must approve the settlement for this to happen.)

If you choose to claim compensation, the Government of Canada may take legal action in your name against the third party.

You or your dependants have up to three months after the accident to make a compensation claim or sue the third party.

Appealing a decision about your claim

You have the right to appeal the decision of the provincial workers' compensation agency if you do not agree with it. Your employer can also appeal. If you disagree with the decision, discuss it with your case manager. If you are still not satisfied, you can register an appeal with the workers' compensation agency.

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