Melayna Neufeld is raising funds for a lawyer to help her fight for a better compensation rate from WorkSafeBC. (Melayna Neufeld)

$27 a day: West Kelowna woman challenges WorkSafeBC compensation rates

Melayna Neufeld was injured at work when she was 17 and is now an amputee

A West Kelowna resident is challenging her compensation rate from WorkSafeBC after she suffered a workplace injury nearly ten years ago, and she’s asking for community support.

Melayna Neufeld, now 24-years-old, had just started going to university in Surrey when she was 17. To support herself while studying, she worked part-time at ABC Family Restaurant, now Ricky’s.

One day, she was carrying a buffet table.

“One end of the table got stuck on the carpet and my ankle got slammed between the door and the table because somebody came and pushed on the door.”

Her ankle was shattered and as a result, Neufeld had to undergo a series of surgeries to fix it.

“I got a donor bone grafted as well as bone grafts from both my knee caps,” she explained. “I’ve even got cow bone, cartilage, we’ve tried everything to fix it.”

“But it was too badly slammed and damaged, so now I’m a below-the-knee amputee… I had my amputation done in June 2020.”

As a result of her injury and the subsequent surgeries throughout the years, Neufeld wasn’t able to finish her criminology degree, hasn’t been able to get back to work and for the last eight years. The compensation she receives for her workplace injury is $27 a day.

She has said WorkSafeBC has also refused to give her permanent disability benefits because her wage is too low. She doesn’t get coverage for physiotherapy or even home modifications so she can use her wheelchair at home.

Now she’s raising funds for a lawyer who can help her fight for a better rate and help her get the coverage she needs. First, she started collecting bottles and then a neighbour set up a GoFundMe campaign for her.

WorkSafeBC determines compensation rates based on the last 12 months that an individual has worked and the amount of income they have earned during that time.

In Neufeld’s case, she was a minor working part-time. By the time she was injured, she had only worked for three months.

WorkSafeBC stated on its website that if the worker was under 25 and sustained a workplace injury that would impact their future career, it would determine the wage rate based on what the individual’s future earnings would have been, but that never happened in Neufeld’s case, who was working towards becoming a family lawyer. She said this is exactly what she’s fighting for and hopes the community can help her.

“I need a lawyer to help me appeal the rate that WorkSafeBC first gave me. As long as I make $27 a day, I’m not even qualified for re-training. I can’t move up and I can’t move on.”

To donate to Neufeld’s GoFundMe, visit her page. If you wish to donate bottles, you can drop them off at the Columbia bottle depot on Kent Road under her phone number: 778-581-8895.

Kelowna Capital News reached out to WorkSafeBC, but those calls have gone unanswered thus far.

READ: New non-profit focuses on revamping Kelowna Community Theatre


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Shuswap Youth Launch Team members Claire Waite, Abbigail Paetsch, Mikayla Wilkinson, Brynn Gowen and Caillie Hay-Vicars pause for a picture on the day of the Shuswap Youth Launch interactive event, Thursday, Feb. 25. (Contributed)
Shuswap Youth Launch team over the moon with success of interactive event

Salmon Arm youth team invited to apply for $100,000 grant

City council passed resolution in support of an expansion of the licence area at Salmon Arm’s Marionette Winery for the inclusion of a lounge area. (Marionette Winery/Facebook)
City opts out of public hearing for lounge addition at Salmon Arm winery

Marionette Winery expanding licence area to host small gatherings

Fundraising continues to support the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s campaign to install six kilometres of lighting at the popular Shuswap cross-country ski area. (Brad Calkins photo)
Phase 1 of light installation at Shuswap’s Larch Hills to begin this spring

Fundraising efforts continue to illuminate six kilometres of trails at cross-country ski area

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith of Grand Forks, put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland in early February

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

The Vernon Public Art Gallery's new Regional Reach program which sends supplies and lessons to classes, has been a hit in the North Okanagan classrooms. (VPAG photo)
Travelling art kit a hit in North Okanagan schools

Art Gallery’s new Regional Reach program delivers art education to the classrooms

A kaleidescope of colours was captured over Lake Country Sunday, Feb. 28. (Wendey Innes-Shaw photo)
Colourful close to month with North Okanagan sunset

From all angles: Vernon and Lake Country photographers capture sunset Feb. 28

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

An injured skier was helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort to Kelowna General Hospital Monday, March, 2021. (Linda Geggie / Facebook)
Injured skier helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort

The skier was taken to Kelowna General Hospital

Most Read