The purpose of this policy is to:
This policy applies to injured workers who experience barriers using or operating a motor vehicle as a result of a compensable injury.
WorkSafeNB has a legislated responsibility to:
Therefore, when an injured worker experiences a permanent functional impairment as a result of a compensable injury, WorkSafeNB assesses the need for, and the extent of, vehicle modifications that facilitates return to work and/or allows injured workers to perform the activities of daily living.
WorkSafeNB manages vehicle modification projects:
In order to maximize injured workers’ independence, WorkSafeNB may provide for vehicle modifications such as:
When necessary, WorkSafeNB may pay for specialized driver education courses for injured workers.
2.0 Need and Scope of Modifications
WorkSafeNB determines the need for and scope of modifications, and develops a modification strategy in order to address those particular needs. This strategy is intended to help the injured worker use and/or operate the vehicle.
WorkSafeNB determines the need and scope of vehicle modifications by:
2.1 Needs Assessment
WorkSafeNB completes a needs assessment to determine if vehicle modifications may be required. WorkSafeNB assesses the:
In assessing the injured worker’s needs, WorkSafeNB determines the nature and extent of the modifications required.
In addition, to ensure the safety of the injured worker and others, WorkSafeNB assesses the injured worker’s ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner.
2.2 Prescribed Device(s) and/or Equipment
Any device(s) and/or equipment for a vehicle modification must be prescribed by a medical practitioner before WorkSafeNB will consider it as an option.
2.3 Evaluation of Options
The primary goal of WorkSafeNB is to modify a vehicle owned by an injured worker. WorkSafeNB evaluates all evidence to determine if the current vehicle is appropriate in meeting the injured worker’s needs. Evidence evaluated may include:
Where it is not cost-effective to modify the current vehicle, in exceptional circumstances, WorkSafeNB may consider modifying:
When no other suitable option is available, and in cases where the injured worker requires the use of a wheelchair, WorkSafeNB may make a one-time payment toward the purchase of a van in an amount equal to 20% of the purchase price (minus the cost of adapting the van included in the purchase price), to a limit of $5,000.
Prior to approving any modification option, WorkSafeNB must also consider the long-term impact to the injured worker, such as if the modification results in additional costs to the injured worker (i.e., increased insurance, maintenance), and if the injured worker can afford these additional costs.
2.4 Selection and Approval of Modifications
In consultation with the injured worker, medical aid practitioners, and service providers, WorkSafeNB selects and approves the most appropriate option.
Once an option is chosen, WorkSafeNB collaborates with the injured worker,medical aid practitioners, and service providers, as necessary, to define what modifications will be completed and the responsibility of the parties involved.
WorkSafeNB implements the vehicle modification strategy by:
3.1 Selecting the Service Provider
As part of the management process, WorkSafeNB selects and approves the service provider to perform the modification installation.
When more than one service provider is available, WorkSafeNB considers factors such as:
Before any modifications, WorkSafeNB must have:
WorkSafeNB requires proof of sufficient insurance to cover the vehicle and the modifications. The injured worker is responsible for all current and future insurance premiums for the vehicle.
Prior to payment, WorkSafeNB verifies the work has been completed. In addition, WorkSafeNB requires a copy of a valid inspection certification from:
3.3 Financial Considerations and Limits
WorkSafeNB modifies only one personal vehicle per injured worker. In other words, until the vehicle or equipment requires replacement under section 5.0 Future Modifications, WorkSafeNB does not modify additional vehicles. This applies in situations such as when the injured worker:
WorkSafeNB may pay modification costs for vehicles owned by the injured worker and used partially for business purposes. WorkSafeNB considers these to be personal vehicles.
WorkSafeNB does not consider vehicles owned or leased by an employer to be personal vehicles. Modifying vehicles for return to work is supported and promoted under Policy 21-420 Return to Work – Principles.
Upgrades to Approved Modifications
WorkSafeNB pays for the costs of the approved modifications. Should the injured worker desire an upgraded, more expensive feature over what is approved, the cost difference between the upgrade and the approved feature is the injured worker’s responsibility.
Before WorkSafeNB approves an upgrade, injured workers must:
4.0 Maintenance of Vehicles and Modifications
WorkSafeNB may pay the costs for repairs and maintenance of the modifications. WorkSafeNB approves costs on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the type of accessibility equipment and vehicle modifications, and the injured worker’s lifestyle. WorkSafeNB is responsible only for repairs due to normal wear-and-tear resulting from the use for which the modifications were intended.
Before paying for the cost of repairs or maintenance of modifications, WorkSafeNB ensures that all valid warranties have been used.
The injured worker is responsible for:
5.0 Future Modifications
WorkSafeNB may pay for future or replacement modifications if the need continues to exist and the original, modified vehicle or equipment is no longer safe or operational.
If the modified vehicle needs to be replaced, WorkSafeNB prefers to transfer the equipment in the old vehicle to a new vehicle, if possible. WorkSafeNB pays for the costs associated with the equipment transfer, as necessary.
If the equipment cannot be transferred, WorkSafeNB pays for the costs of replacement modifications and equipment installation, as necessary.
In all cases, the injured worker is responsible for the costs of the new vehicle.
WorkSafeNB may require security documents to protect the investment in a structurally modified vehicle. Security documents may include, but are not limited to:
Other Relevant Legislation
Income Tax Act
Income Tax Regulations
Vehicle modifications, as outlined in this policy, are generally considered medical expenses and are not reportable on a T5007.
Barrier – any obstacle that prevents or limits injured workers’ ability to gain access to, safely function within and/or operate their vehicle.
Medical aid – includes medical, surgical and dental aid, hospital and skilled nursing services, services of a registered chiropractor within his legal jurisdiction, artificial members and apparatus including the repair and replacement thereof, transportation, clothing allowances with respect to damage caused to clothing as a result of the use of an artificial apparatus or as a result of any accident, and such other treatment, services or attendance as are necessary as a result of any injury. (WC Act)
National safety mark – trademark certification issued by the Federal Department of Transportation indicating that a vehicle conforms to current vehicle and equipment standards.
Vehicle – refers to land-based passenger motor vehicles designed for use on roads, and includes cars, vans, sport-utility vehicles, and trucks. For the purposes of this policy, vehicle does not include equipment such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, or motor homes.
Vehicle modifications – alterations that enable an injured worker to use or operate a vehicle.
WorkSafeNB – means the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission or "the Commission" as defined by the WHSCC & WCAT Act.