Who is a Survivor Policy 21-513 | Effective Date: June 9, 2020


The purpose of this policy is to provide direction to staff in determining who meets the definition of a surviving spouse and/or a dependant.


This policy applies to persons who may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.


Where a worker dies of compensable injuries or an occupational disease resulting from a workplace accident, survivors of that worker may be entitled to benefits as outlined in Policy 21-515 Benefits for Survivors. However, before survivors’ benefits can be paid, WorkSafeNB must first determine if a person was a spouse or member of the worker’s family as defined by the Workers' Compensation Act (WC Act).

To determine the eligibility of a member of the workers’ family for survivor benefits, WorkSafeNB must establish that the family member was dependent on the deceased worker and, if so, the extent of the dependency. WorkSafeNB does this by gathering and weighing the evidence.


  1. In the absence of a legal marriage, WorkSafeNB determines whether a spousal relationship existed between the claimant and deceased worker by looking to whether the couple had been living together in a “conjugal” relationship prior to the worker’s death. The evidence that WorkSafeNB gathers for this purpose pertains to whether the claimant and worker:
    • Occupied a shared dwelling;
    • Shared financial responsibilities such as joint bank accounts, loans, or co-owned credit cards or vehicles;
    • Shared services such as joint or additional liability coverage on home or automobile insurance, or agreements for shared expenses;
    • Named each other as beneficiaries or next of kin on insurance policies or investments, or any medical, employment, or other records;
    • Publicly represented themselves as spouses or a couple who share sexual and personal behaviour, and participate in social activities as an intimate couple; or
    • Shared responsibility for raising and supporting children.
  1. WorkSafeNB determines whether a family member was dependent on the worker by gathering and weighing information that shows: 
    • The family member was reliant upon the worker’s earnings at the time of the workers’ death for the ordinary necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation and health care; or,
    • The family member would have been reliant on the worker for the ordinary necessities of life had the worker lived.
  1. WorkSafeNB determines the degree of a family member’s dependency on the worker by gathering and weighing information such as: 
    • Whether the dependent family member lived with the worker at the time of the worker’s death;
    • Whether the worker was required to make payments or financial contributions to, or on behalf of, the family member on a regular basis;
    • Whether the dependent family member incurred a financial loss as a result of the loss of any services the deceased worker had regularly provided; or
    • The extent to which payments from the worker supported the dependant’s “ordinary necessities of life.”





Cohabit – to live together as, or as if, a married couple. (Adapted from Canadian Oxford Dictionary)

Dependent – members of the family of a worker who were wholly or partly dependent upon his earnings at the time of his death, or who, but for the incapacity due to the accident would have been so dependent. (WC Act)

Member of the family - for the purpose of paying compensation or benefits to a dependant, includes spouse, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother and half-sister, and a person who stood in loco parentis whether related to the worker by consanguinity or not so related. (WC Act)

Spouse – a person who, at the time of the death of the worker,

a) was married to and was cohabiting with the worker; or

b) was not married to but was cohabiting with the worker in a conjugal relationship and had, immediately before the death of the worker, been cohabiting:

i) for not less than three years; or

ii) for not less than one year if a child of whom the person and the worker are the natural parents had been or is to be born. (WC Act)

Survivor – the spouse or a dependant member of the family of a deceased worker. 


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