More than 15,000 COVID-19 compensation claims have been approved in B.C. since the start of the pandemic, for people who contracted the virus while at work.
The vast majority of those came last year, according to WorkSafeBC.
The provincial agency says in 2022 it approved 10,686 claims, up from 3,462 in 2021 and 1,191 in 2020. Claims are approved when a worker proves that they caught COVID-19 and that the demands and duties of their job put them at a significantly higher risk of getting it than the general public.
During that three-year period, WorkSafeBC disallowed 2,196 of the 17,544 total filed claims.
By far the group most impacted since 2020 has been health-care workers. WorkSafeBC has allowed 8,702 claims from them, the largest portion of which came from long-term care and acute care staff, at 4,736 and 3,154 claims, respectively.
Another 760 claims were approved for community health support services, 584 were approved for residential social service facilities, 243 were approved for retirement and seniors’ homes and 219 were approved for counselling or social services. Other health-care professionals were also impacted at lesser rates.
Public school staff have also been hit hard, with 2,677 claims, follow by local government workers with 708 claims – 514 from firefighters –, and supermarket employees with 461 claims.
Workers from dozens of other sectors also had COVID-19 claims approved during the pandemic, athough in lesser amounts. Some of these workers included janitors, retail employees, restaurant workers, law enforcement, farmers, transit operators, daycare and preschool workers, tree planters, couriers, pipeline workers, construction workers and agricultural workers.
A full breakdown of the most impacted professions can be found on the WorkSafeBC website under COVID-19 claims data.