In 1913, Ontario Chief Justice Sir William Meredith completed a three-year Royal Commission researching workers' compensation laws around the world. He introduced the historic compromise that is maintained to this day: injured workers gave up the right to sue their employers in exchange for guaranteed no-fault benefits in the event of a work related injury or illness, and employers agreed to pay for the system, in exchange for protection against lawsuits.
Meredith's five key pillars would serve as the basis for workers' compensation legislation across Canada:
security of benefits
administration by independent boards
In 1916, John W. Wilton, MLA and well-known Winnipeg lawyer, introduced The Workmen's Compensation Act and is credited with single-handedly shepherding it through the Manitoba Legislature.
On March 10, 1916, the 15th Manitoba Legislature passed The Workmen’s Compensation Act, becoming the first province outside of Ontario to enact a version of Sir William Meredith’s workers compensation laws.
The Workmen’s Compensation Board was formed on September 1, 1916 to develop the structure and processes necessary to put The Workmen's Compensation Act into effect.
In 1974, the Manitoba Government amended the language of The Workmen's Compensation Act to more accurately reflect the modern workforce – changing all mentions of workmen to workers.