This is good news but this should be only the tip of the ice burg. There are far too many appeals that go to the Appeals Commission resulting in far too many Appeals Commissioners. Clearly there is something wrong with this picture and is very costly. One of the solutions is to have Case Managers arrange in person hearings, subpoena the doctors who are the source of most if not all disagreements who intentionally provide false and misleading medical opinions or they are not competent in the area of medicine that they are providing an opinion on. I can prove that this happens quite frequently.
For example: the state of Oregon which has approximately the same population as Alberta requires only 4 Adjudicative Law Judges as opposed to Alberta who employ 41 Appeals Commissioners who do not have any medical backgrounds or have any expertise in administrative law specific to WCB and the adjudication of appeals. A better and less expensive method would be to appoint retired Judges to hear appeals and who would subpoena doctors, Case Managers and DRDRB and during trial have adjudicators justify why a workers claim or benefits were denied. All expenses incurred would come out of the accident fund which would eliminate workers having to go into debt to finance their appeal. This would certainly result in expediting claims in a timely fashion rather than to wait for decades to have a claim and benefits accepted and usually after a worker has lost everything which in many cases, they commit suicide or kill their entire family.
There are a number of Boards that were appointed by the NDP that are useless such as the Fair Practice Office, Occupational Disease and Injury Advisory Committee. The DRDRB is another useless body who on most cases rubber stamp Case Manager’s decisions with neither of them having medical expertise or legal expertise. One of the better changes by the NDP was case conferencing (Section 46.4 of the WCA) which is not being utilized by Case Managers DRDRB or the Appeals Commission by referring all medical issues to the Medical Panels Office prior to the appointment of a Medical Panel which in most cases would never be required.
Questionably is whether WCB is required in the first place as it is virtually impossible for any one to determine whether an injury or disease arose out of and occurred in the course of employment. Proving this or disproving this is extremely expensive and increases the cost of administering a system that entails numerous medical opinions, tests etc.that are inconclusive as medicine is and never will be an exact science. Medicine operates in a grey area where no one can say one way or the other what caused an injury or disease. It would be much more beneficial for workers and employers to mandate employers have disability insurance without proving cause or having a claim denied because of a pre-existing medical condition. Public sector employees have dual disability coverage as opposed to private sector workers who are only covered under workers compensation.Perhaps, the Government could enact legislation where all workers have dual disability coverage rather than having tax payers pay dual disability coverage only for public employees. At present the system does not work and unless changes are made, will never work.
This idea that the WCB BoD determines the “Boards” compensation policy is a blatant lie. WCB through their own Policy Consultation Committee determine the policy they wan enacted and the WCB BoD rubber stamp the proposal. I can prove this as when a person writes to the WCB BoD, the letter is intercepted by WCB and the answer to a question is provided by WCB.