Workers’ Compensation Board

When a work-related fatality occurs, the worker’s dependant spouse or adult interdependent partner* may be entitled to benefits. Dependent children† living with the spouse or partner are included within these benefits. Dependent children may also be eligible for benefits if:

  • there is no dependent spouse or partner at the time of the worker’s death;
  • they did not reside with the dependent spouse or partner at the time of death, however were financially supported by the deceased worker prior to death;
  • they resided with the dependent spouse or partner at the time of the worker’s death, however ceased living with this person after the fatality

Funeral Expenses

WCB-Alberta pays a maximum of $8,150 towards the burial, cremation or memorial service. WCB-Alberta will pay up to $550 towards any costs incurred in the transportation of the body within Alberta, or up to $1,000 if the body must be transported outside of Alberta. There is also a separate payment of $1,300 to the family to assist with any extra costs associated with arranging the funeral. No receipts are required for this payment.

A special needs case manager at WCB-Alberta is available to discuss how reimbursement for these costs can be arranged, or any other funeral expense-related matters.

Survivor Benefits

A survivor is defined as the dependent spouse or adult interdependent partner of a deceased worker or any surviving children. A WCB-Alberta special needs case manager will be assigned to survivors and will be an important long-term contact. They will be there to provide support and assist survivors with understanding WCB-Alberta benefits they may be eligible for. The deceased worker might already have been receiving benefits from WCB-Alberta before death. In this case, surviving partners should notify WCB-Alberta of the loss. If the death is related to the condition for which they were receiving benefits, further entitlements may be awarded. If the death isn’t related, the benefits cease on the last day of the month of death, unless the decease was receiving TDD, in which case the benefits would cease on the same day.

Grief Counselling: If a survivor needs help coping with grief following the loss, WCB-Alberta will refer survivors to a licensed psychologist authorized by WCB-Alberta. These services are often offered during initial contact with a case manager, and are paid by WCB-Alberta and are available immediately and in the future. Counselling is available for spouses and partners only.

Pension: In general, compensation for dependents includes a pension and often appropriate vocational services for spouses or partners. WCB-Alberta’s overall objective, and legislative requirement, is to assist spouses and interdependent partners with becoming gainfully employed and self-sufficient. Case managers will help surviving spouses and partners understand and apply for WCB-Alberta benefits and services which they, and any surviving children, may be entitled to. This section is a general overview, however there are a number of detailed conditions to WCB-Alberta’s Policy 04-08 available here on benefits to survivors. Benefits also depend on the legislation in effect.

Benefits for Dependent Children

(No dependent spouse or partner)
If there are dependent children, but no dependent spouse or partner – or if the spouse or partner later dies and there are still dependent children – the full pension is paid to the Office of the Public Trustee for the care of the children. The guardians of the children would then have access to these funds to provide for their care until the age of 18. If there are multiple children, the pension is divided proportionately according to the number of children involved. As the children turn 18, the pension is divided among the remaining underage children. After the youngest child turns 18, the five-year reducing term pension is then divided between all of them.

(Not living with the dependent spouse or partner)
Children who were not living with the dependent spouse or partner at the time of the worker’s death, or children who ceased to live in this arrangement afterwards, may be eligible for benefits. There are a number of possible scenarios in this case, including if there are multiple dependent children, with some living with the dependent spouse and some not. All of the dependents are considered, and the worker’s pension is apportioned at the discretion of WCB-Alberta.

Benefits for other Dependents

If there is no dependent spouse, partner or child, other dependents may be eligible for compensation. Other dependents may be a parent, grandparent, step-parent, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister. They must have been wholly or partially dependent on the worker’s earnings when the worker died, or would have been dependent on the worker’s earnings if not for the fatality. If eligible, WCB-Alberta pays an amount that is reasonable and proportionate to the pecuniary loss caused by the worker’s death.

Additional information is available here.

*Please see questions 2-6, Policy 04-08 Part II (Jan. 22, 2002) for the criteria of a person who could be eligible for benefits.
†Dependent children are those that are under the age of 18, and who were wholly or partially dependent on the worker’s earnings at the time of death. In addition to children of a current marriage, they can be a child born out of wedlock, a grandchild, the child of a spouse by a former marriage and any other child to whom the worker stood in loco parentis (in the place of a parent).
‡A full pension is defined as the pension the worker would have received if the work accident had resulted in permanent total disability instead of death.
◊The five-year reducing term pension is equal to three years of full pension benefits and is paid in reducing percentages of 100, 80, 60, 40 and 20 per year. It may also be paid as one lump sum at the beginning of the five-year period.