Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Industrial Management

First Advisor

H. Frank Kornbaum


The Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America resulted in a shift from agricultural occupations to industrial occupations. The new industrial jobs were more dangerous and unhealthy than the agricultural jobs. There was no mechanism in place to take care of the victims of the Industrial Revolution - the injured and ill workers. Labor organizations began to pressure governments to protect the industrial workers. Toward the end of the nineteenth century industrialized countries began requiring employers to provide financial compensation to the workers who suffered from occupational injuries and diseases. The early leaders in workers' compensation were Germany and Great Britain. The Germans opted for a no-fault insurance program with collective liability on the part of employers. Great Britain chose a program based upon the individual liability of employers. The German program proved to be far superior in providing injured workers with fair compensation and it became the model for most modem workers' compensation programs. As a former British colony, Canada tended to follow Britain's lead and early provincial workers' compensation legislation was similar to the British legislation. Injured workers were entitled to limited compensation, but often had to sue their employer to get it. If their employer went bankrupt, the worker would receive no compensation. The first Alberta legislation, the Workmen's Compensation A ct of 1908, followed this model. Previously, the only protection for injured workers in Alberta was the North-West Territories' ordinances and the British common law tradition. The first Canadian province to implement a comprehensive, no-fault workers' compensation insurance program based upon the collective liability of employers was Ontario in 1915. Alberta followed suit in 1918. Since that time the Alberta workers' compensation system has gone through a process of continual expansion. More workers are insured for a wider range of injuries and illnesses and the benefits are far more generous. Unfortunately, it has also become a very expensive program to maintain. By 1992, the Workers' Compensation Board of Alberta had a $600 million dollar deficit. This thesis studies the evolution of the workers' compensation system in Alberta and examines the causes of its recent financial difficulties.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Workers' compensation -- Law and legislation -- Alberta -- History




South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright