Many people wonder as to why workers are forced back to work on the opinion of a “Board” doctor as opposed to a workers primary care doctor which happens all the time. Here is the answer. WCB Medical services provided all doctors with what were called medical duration guides which quite simply was the average length of time it should take for a full recovery from a work related accident. WCB Medical Advisors who never examine a worker would use these guides to determine when the worker should make a full recovery. As any one who is familiar with medicine knows, some people recover much earlier than others and some may recover much later or not at all. A WCB Medical Advisor would be asked by the Case Manager if the worker has recovered from an accident or illness and the WCB Medical Advisor would go to the duration guides and determine that the worker should have fully recovered despite the primary care doctor who has a duty of care to the worker and will not sign the WCB form indicating the worker can return to work. The worker is told that the WCB Medical Advisor has determined that the worker has recovered and they must return to work or have their benefits terminated. This evidently happened to Patrick Clayton who injured his knee and was sent back to work based on medical duration guides.
The Alberta WCB redesigned their web site and in doing so like everything else that could incriminate them decided to eliminate any trace of the medical duration guidelines. I have searched for these guides and unless I have missed them, they are gone which is a good thing for workers now but evidently was not a good thing for workers who were forced to return to work and re-injured themselves more severely than the original injury.