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

Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Center stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand last February. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer photo)
Family center fundrasing for free counselling program

It’s important to have accesible care in the community

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read