Jun 142020
 

WHY we advertise other provinces’ media write-ups  in support of Injured Workers . 

In Alberta information is not reported on the plight of Alberta injured workers through the media . If Alberta Injured Workers are lucky a story may be printed once or twice a year. Other provinces throughout Canada steadily have the support of the media which in turn garners the support of the public to outcry for justice. Although injured workers in Alberta suffer the same ongoing problems and maybe worse than  other provinces, the public and Government is not informed . 

Injured workers of Alberta need public and government  support when the WCB Alberta and the Appeals Commission working for the WCB Alberta refuse to comply with the Workers Compensation Act, The Alberta Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada or Human Rights. 

Out of sight of public scrutiny can allow those in power to abuse their power and ignore the laws and policies that are put in place to protect the disabled from work injuries that left them without any earnings , medical treatment and personal care. 

Like this lucky fellow below, many injured workers in Alberta have had their claim accepted and meet all laws in Alberta and Canada but WCB Alberta and the AC  still refuse to comply . The AC and WCB have made decisions against Alberta Injured Workers knowing they never had jurisdiction to overrule law. Injured Worker ‘s  in Alberta cannot get justice without any public scrutiny Alberta Injured workers are ignored  and cannot advocate alone.

Injured worker gets back pay, apology after WCB ignores ruling

ONTARIO VS. ALBERTA

ONTARIO

Tribunal adjudicators perform judicial functions. They must interpret legislation, weigh evidence and make legal and factual findings just as judges do. These tribunals are therefore properly understood to be judicial tribunals and the process for appointing and re-appointing adjudicators to judicial tribunals must be as principled as the process for appointing judges. At a minimum, decisions about re-appointments must be transparent and demonstrably free from any political interference. The process for selecting new appointees must be merit-based and competitive as required by the Adjudicative Tribunals Accountability, Governance and Appointments Act (“the Tribunals Act”).

The system the government inherited

The previous government established a modern tribunal appointment and reappointment system as set out in the Tribunals Act and the Directive on Appointments and Re-appointments. The key features of the system were as follows:

A commitment to a competitive, merit-based process for appointments to tribunals

Qualified candidates were subject to a rigorous application process conducted by thetribunal (e.g. published selection criteria, interviews, writing a sample decision).

The Chair provided the government with a list of the most qualified candidates.Appointments were made only from that list.

With very few exceptions, appointments were for fixed terms, starting with an initial two-year appointment, followed by a three-year re-appointment, and a final five-yearappointment.

The Chair was solely responsible for making re-appointment recommendations. Theserecommendations were routinely accepted by the government. While not perfect, this system had many advantages:

The Tribunal Chair, who is in the best position to know the tribunal’s needs, retained control over who would be appointed and re-appointed.

People could look to tribunal adjudication as a profession with a reasonable expectation of at least 10 years of work subject to good performance. This made the position attractive to mid-career professionals with expertise in the subject matter of the tribunal and often adjudicative experience. Adjudicators were eligible for appointment to a new tribunal at the conclusion of a term, preserving the adjudicative experience for the overall system.

The potential for partisan appointments was significantly reduced.

Tribunals could plan on the basis of having a stable group of meritorious and experienced adjudicators.

What the present government has done

The present government has largely abandoned the system it inherited.

Instead:

Appointment recommendations from Chairs are frequently not accepted. Chairs have been pressured to consider alternate candidates proposed by the government.

Recommendations from Chairs about the re-appointment of existing adjudicators are routinely rejected, with no explanation provided. This is the principle cause of the existing severe shortage of adjudicators.

When re-appointments are made, they are for irregular and unpredictable terms. The length of terms has varied considerably even in the same tribunal, with no explanation for the different terms. Many new appointments have also been for irregular terms.

Most re-appointments have been for short terms, sometimes as short as 6 months. Even Chairs and Associate Chairs have been re-appointed for short terms.

Discussion

Even before the COVID-19 emergency, the circumstances of Ontario’s tribunals were already dire. The tribunals of most relevance to disadvantaged individuals were, in particular, seriously weakened. Experienced adjudicators were let go, large numbers of vacant adjudicator positions were left unfilled, and key tribunal leadership positions were either left vacant or filled with people with responsibilities for too many tribunals. The lack of any predictability about re- appointments, combined with a general demoralization about the deterioration of the sector, has necessarily caused large numbers of adjudicators to leave for less precarious employment, adding to the shortage. The precarious nature of an appointment also makes it difficult for tribunals to attract experienced, professional candidates.

Now, in the midst of a pandemic, the folly of this situation is even more evident. The numbers of the vulnerable have greatly increased, as has their need to be able to claim the protections offered by our laws. Now more than ever tribunals need a full complement of highly qualified adjudicators. Now more than ever they need leaders with the necessary subject matter and adjudicative expertise to effectively deploy resources and adjust processes to ensure procedural protections and deliver high quality outcomes. Now more than ever Tribunals Ontario needs to be led by someone with recognized expertise in tribunal leadership, someone who will be widely recognized as an impartial, non-partisan and independent guarantor of the integrity of this vital part of our administrative justice system.

The tribunals in Tribunals Ontario will play a critical role as we move forward. They will have to change how disputes are resolved and make important decisions about rights and obligations in the continually changing context of the pandemic. To do this, they need to be fully functioning. The mismanagement of Tribunals Ontario over the last two years, leading to a severe reduction in adjudicative capacity and competence, rising backlogs, demoralization of those who are left, and a leadership vacuum, means that these tribunals are nowhere near being able to function fully.

There are three things that need to be done as quickly as possible to rectify this situation.

3

  1. Fill the leadership positions through a credible, competitive and transparent process: The position of Executive Chair of Tribunals Ontario is a critical position and must be filled quickly. However, if the process is not credible, competitive and transparent, the integrity of Tribunals Ontario will be compromised. Parties, the public, and the tribunal adjudicators will lose faith in the ability of tribunals to deliver justice. Appendix B provides a detailed discussion of this issue.
  2. Restore the integrity of the appointment and re-appointment process: Tribunals need to have adequate numbers of experienced, competent adjudicators. The ongoing refusal to re-appoint adjudicators on the recommendation of the tribunal Chair or Associate Chair must stop. New adjudicators must be appointed as quickly as possible and the appointment process must at a minimum be consistent with section 14(1) of the Tribunals Act which states:

14 (1) The selection process for the appointment of members to an adjudicative tribunal shall be a competitive, merit-based process and the criteria to be applied in assessing candidates shall include the following:

1. Experience, knowledge or training in the subject matter and legal issues dealt with by the tribunal.

2. Aptitude for impartial adjudication.

3. Aptitude for applying alternative adjudicative practices and procedures that may be set out in the tribunal’s rules.

3. Appointments and re-appointments must be for fixed terms

The current approach of inconsistent and mostly short terms for appointments and re- appointments will result in a serious erosion of the principle of adjudicative independence, a cornerstone of our justice system.

Those who appear before adjudicative tribunals must have confidence that the adjudicator in front of them has the necessary independence to make decisions on the basis of the law and the evidence, free from any concern that the adjudicator’s continued employment is conditional on the government’s approving the adjudicators decisions. This becomes especially obvious for tribunals where the government is a party.

Articles About WCB, Appeals Commission, and Injured Workers :

Response to the WCB Review: To read the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta Response to the Final Report of the Alberta Workers Compensation Board Review Panel, click here

PLATFORM FOR CHANGE (2004)
As amended by the Thunder Bay & District Injured Workers’ Support Group

Return to Work and Ripple Effects on Family of Precariously Employed
Injured Workers

Workers’ Compensation System a ‘National Disgrace’: United Steelworkers

Spotlight on WCB policies and opioids

Meredith Principles

A. Sim’s Recommendations – Progress Update

Sims Report

WCB Appeal System Legislative Review

Member of the Legislative Assembly Workers’ Compensation Board Service Review Input Committee Final Report – October 2000

WCB Review – Working Together Progress Report

May 202020
 

As we continue to adjust to our ongoing office closure, Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic will begin having online town hall/education events about pressing issues related to Workers Compensation. 

We will kick things off next Wednesday, May 27th at 3pm, with a session titled:

COVID-19 Crisis – Is WSIB there for the injured?
Presented by IWC staff, along with injured workers and allies. 
Coronavirus has created all kinds of new expenses for Injured Workers, but the WSIB isn’t paying for increased grocery costs, safer travel expenses, or PPE. Join us for a town hall-style event to discuss WSIB’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, and what you can do about it.

Interested participants are encouraged to register for the Town Hall here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/iwc-covid

Joining through CrowdCast will allow people to interact with each other and ask the presenters questions. 

If people are not keen to sign up formally, it will also be streamed on YouTube at:  https://youtu.be/-zw0iqOmXsc

Posters are attached. Thanks! 

Apr 122020
 

By Alvin Finkel

If you have an injury at work but it’s fixable and you can return to work in a relatively short time, the workers’ compensation program will likely work out OK for you.

If your injury is long-term and particularly life-long and a return to work is simply impossible, the Workers’ Compensation Board is set up to eat you alive. If your doctors rule that you have chronic, crippling pain that makes performance of even simple tasks an extreme challenge, the case managers at the WCB who get bonuses for limiting costs to the WCB will claim that they are wrong and that your pain is localized and there are jobs that you can do. They generally have no medical background at all and yet feel competent to ignore what your physicians tell them as simply “biased” because of their “sympathy” for you.

A Supreme Court decision in 2003 ruled that Nova Scotia’s Board had erred in ruling that chronic pain was not a real diagnosis and ordered back pay to all applicants for workers’ compensation who had been denied ongoing aid because of the Board rejecting a diagnosis of chronic pain.

Someone whose case with whom I am very familiar had a work injury ten years ago that has left her in such terrible pain that almost every day it is a struggle to just get out of bed. Her generalized pain has cost her her teeth, her mobility, her ability to sleep properly, and much more. She has been very active in the injured workers’ movement and in her view that has caused the WCB to be particularly vindictive in their treatment of her.

She had four neurologists confirm to the WCB that she is unable to work and has had an unprecedented four medical panels confirm that diagnosis. I’ve read the diagnoses and they are unmistakeable. Somehow though the case managers have just ignored all of that and claimed that she could be working as a parking lot attendant (a job category that doesn’t really exist and, in any case, requires someone who can sit for long periods and who can, when necessary, move heavy objects, criteria that would easily exclude this individual). Over the past 10 years the Board has been on again, off again, about paying her for lost income or paying medical bills, mostly off again.

She wrote me today that she is losing “my nursing care, home care, medication, dental hospital and ambulance service.” That will cost her so much that she “won’t be able to pay housing, forget groceries.”

The WCB is not reformable. WCBs have been captured by the employers who pay into the fund and want to keep their payments small. While many employers are aghast at how their own injured workers have been treated by the Board, they collectively have an interest in maintaining an anti-worker status quo.

It’s not usual to read on Change Alberta that we want a government agency to be shut down (other than the “war room”). We oppose austerity. But this is not about austerity. It’s about social justice, something virtually all WCBs care nothing about.

So what should replace the WCB? I would advocate critical care insurance, which would be incorporated into medicare rather than being part of an employer-dominated agency. It would extend the ambit of insurance for critical injuries beyond the workplace–the individual in question had her life altered by tripping over a misplaced carpet, something that could happen to you in your own home or in a mall. The payouts could be the same as what WCB now pays but eligibility, including how long someone might collect, would be totally in the hands of physicians. The insurance, like all medicare-covered services, would be financed from general revenues. That would remove the unpleasant reality that a WCB has to serve two masters at once: injured workers and dues-paying employers.

Get the WCB clerks out of the picture and put all power in the hands of medical people. The conviction among WCB employees that long-term injured people are just fakers is a rationalization based on no medical evidence. Let’s not have lives put in the hands of people who have prejudices but limited or no medical training. This is really something that needs to be determined by physicians.

Jan 292020
 

Hearing Today on Eliminating Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in Alaska Senate

01/28/20 Liz Carey



Anchorage, AK (WorkersCompensation.com) – Hearings on whether or not to eliminate Alaska’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission will begin today, officials there say.

The Alaska Senate Labor and Commerce Committee will discuss SB 76, introduced last year by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage. The bill would repeal the commission and move all reviews or appeals of decisions by the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board to the Alaska Superior Court. The bill would only impact claims filed after June 1, 2019.

According to a statement from Wielechowski’s office when the bill was filed in March of 2019, the commission has seen its caseload decline recently, from 49 cases in 2007 to only 20 cases in 2016. The commission was created in 2005.

Moving the appeals to the Superior Court system could save the state an estimated $400,000 a year, Wielechowski said. Alaska faced a budget deficit of nearly $1.4 billion in 2018, but budget cuts by Gov. Michael Dunleavy have brought the deficit down to just $730 million.

They probably were as useless as the Alberta Appeals Board. It took nearly two years in a claim I was representing a worker, for the Alberta Appeals Commission to admit they made a mistake if in fact it was a mistake. This admitted mistake can be found on Canlii Decision 2020-0001

By eliminating the Alberta Appeals Commission, this would save employers millions of dollars and reduce their premiums. What is the point of having the Alberta Appeals Commission when in most cases they support the decision of the DRDRB.

Gerry Miller

Sep 172019
 

By Gerald

Click on the following link: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/09/04/ontario-injured-worker-advocates-take-discrimination-concerns-to-united-nations.html

Like everything that is wrong with workers compensation systems, it’s the Government who could enact legislation to stop deeming. Deeming is allowed according to the WCA and allows workers compensation boards to comply with the law. Why in a democracy should workers have to go outside Canada to attain justice.

Questionably is why workers forced into workers compensation systems are
treated differently than workers outside of the system when it pertains
to determining disability or loss of earnings. In a case cited as
Villani v Canada (Attorney General)
https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fca/doc/2001/2001fca248/2001fca248.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAHdmlsbGFuaQAAAAAB&resultIndex=1
the Federal Court of Appeal relied on a real world scenario rather than
an imaginary world as used by WCB specific to deeming. WCB by statute
provided by Governments can and does use deeming to determine an earning loss by using imaginary jobs as a reference to deny an earning loss
resulting in most workers applying for AISH and CPP disability benefits.

The Government could rescind this but have chosen not to resulting in
workers having to bring their cases to the United Nations which makes us
look like a third world country rather than a democratic country that
abuses workers.

Aug 202019
 

By Gerald

My further comments regarding the following news article (in italics):

Workers’ Compensation Board

The province’s WCB board of directors has been reduced from 10 to seven members, which the province says will save as much as $56,000 in spending.

“The reduced numbers will help to streamline the work done by the WCB board of directors, providing opportunity for more effective and efficient decision-making,” said the province in a release.

The new chair is Erna Ference, who replaces Grace Thostenson. The province says she has a background in workplace health and safety, the agricultural industry and fiscal management.

While the board boasts smaller numbers, the province says there will still be the same proportion of employer, worker and public representatives.

Workers compensation is an ancient relic from the past and serves no useful purpose in protecting workers. Employers are provided protection from civil litigation but they pay dearly into a system that does not work at all for workers as witnessed by workers when they are injured or suffer an occupational disease. The only thing WCB does is cause marital breakdowns, suicides, homicides, family poverty which the Government seems to be quite content with.

A cost saving of $56,00.00 is drop in the bucket and will do nothing to streamline the system as the culture of denial is so deeply entrenched into the system that the only way of saving money for employers is to get rid of it and replace it with modern day disability insurance where premiums are shared by employers and workers. This could be achieved very easily saving millions of dollars a year for employers while still protecting employers from civil action and getting rid of the horrendous task of proving causation which is next to impossible regardless of who has the burden of proof. Does it really matter whether a person breaks a leg at home or at work and may not be able to work again until they recover. 

Another option is to retain WCB as a disability insurance company exclusively for workers and employers but change WCB so that they provide unconditional insurance without the impossible task of some one whether it be the worker or the “Board” proving causation. Who really cares!

In my humble opinion it is grossly illogical to pay two disability premiums when one would suffice. I pay for one comprehensive home insurance policy and do not pay home replacement costs, one for the roof and one for the remaining structure. I do not pay collision insurance for the front part of my car and another collision insurance for the back part of the car. I do not pay life insurance for death caused by injuries or disease to the upper part of my body and separate life insurance for injuries or diseases to the lower part of my body.  

For those of you who do not know anything about dual disability insurance that public servants and WCB employees receive, it works like this. When a worker with dual disability insurance is injured, suffers any medical condition, they file a claim simultaneously with WCB and the private insurer. The private insurer responds immediately and a worker starts receiving short term disability benefits as opposed to WCB who have to decide whether the accident or medical condition arose out of and occurred in the course of employment. This could take decades. If the private insurer’s Medical Consultants determine that it is a work related injury or disease, they continue to pay disability benefits but have the worker sign documents which if WCB accepts the claim, any money a worker receives goes back to the private insurer. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which disability insurance is better, WCB who offer conditional insurance or a private disability carrier who provide unconditional insurance.

When considering how much money in salary and benefits are paid to WCB Case Managers and upper level management, DRDRB members, Appeals Commissioners, WCB Legal Counsel, WCB Medical Advisors, support staff, office leasing, furniture etc. it would most likely result in more money paid out for these expenditures than workers receive in disability benefits.

Why should taxpayers pay for dual disability insurance for public servants if WCB provides such great insurance for worker protection. If in fact WCB was totally abolished, no one would miss it at all. A much better plan would be to make disability insurance mandatory on a shared cost between workers and employers with legislation that workers could not sue an employer or a fellow employee in the event of an accident. Disability insurance could be provided by a major insurance company like Sun Life that already provides major corporations like Telus, Government employees and as well as WCB systems across Canada with disability insurance. Sun Life disability benefits are not contingent on proving causation and would kick in immediately for as long as a disability lasts unlike WCB disability insurance which can take decades to receive if at all. I am assisting on four claims, one is 46 years old, another is 28 years old, another is 11 years old and five years old. All are legitimate claims that involved reduced benefits or no benefits at all. With no money paid out by WCB for work related accidents, it is tax payers who are supporting these workers through Social Services and CPP disability payments. In all of the four claims the workers were being supported by Social Services or Services Canada (CPP disability). Interesting enough is that a study in the U.S. concluded that over 76% of the work related pensions to workers were being paid for by tax payers through Social Security which in Alberta would most likely also be the case. The person whose claim went back 46 years had been on CPP disability and AISH since 1992 until he turned 65, costing taxpayers approximately well over $300,000.00 for a work related injury that was eventually accepted by WCB several years ago and received  approximately $13,000.00 as a lump sum back payment which clearly is a joke with no payment by WCB to Social Services, Alberta Health Care and Services Canada who provided the disability pensions and medical care for the worker and his family destroying the myth that the employer funds the system. You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time and I am one person who you can not fool at all. 

There is good news and bad news after legislative changes by the NDP Government. Good news is the NDP removed the cap on maximum insurable earnings. They also legislated interim payments to workers while their claim is being dealt with by a Case Manager, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission. The bad news is that there is no statute of limitations as to how long it takes for a Case Manager to make a decision. As well there is no statute of limitations to how long it takes for the DRDRB to make a decision and there also is no statute of limitations on how long it takes for the Appeals Commission to make a decision. This could take years. If a worker receives interim relief, the time it takes to go through the appeals process does not seem to matter as workers are being paid interim relief. The bad news is that interim relief is not based on a workers earnings, it is based on minimum wage which means that a worker whose earnings are at the high end will receive minimum wage which will ultimately result in losing everything they own with a good possibility of a worker committing suicide, killing WCB employees, their families or the politicians who are responsible for forcing them into a system that does not work.

Patrick Clayton who most Albertans recognize took the law into his own hands when it was apparent that local authorities refused to assist him. Question is: when local authorities do not protect a person is it a crime to protect yourself? It was determined by the Court that Mr. Clayton was not justified to take the law into his own hands and sentenced him to a prison term. Curiously when he served his time, WCB paid him what he was entitled to but why did WCB not pay him what he was entitled before he took the law into his own hands. He served his prison time and after getting out, WCB paid him and are still paying him for what he was entitled to. Does this mean that in order to receive the benefits a worker is entitled to, that a worker takes the law into their own hands, serves a prison term and then receives compensation after they get out. The moral of this story is that WCB is telling workers that in order to receive the benefits a worker is entitled to, the worker must get a shot gun, go down to the WCB office and threaten or kill WCB employees and then the worker will receive their benefits. Of course WCB did the same thing with Gregory Jacks who blew his head off with a shotgun and after he  was dead, WCB apologized to his widow and paid her the benefits Mr. Jacks was entitled to.

Having spent my early yeas in the military we were taught to take out the people at the top, not the people at the bottom.Using this philosophy, if Mr. Clayton was smart he would have gone to the legislature building and went after the people responsible for his problems and not after WCB  employees who are simply doing what they are allowed to get away with.

Obviously, by abolishing WCB, it  would open Alberta for business with employers from other provinces most likely relocating to Alberta and employers who are presently in Alberta remaining in the province where employers and workers share the cost of disability insurance without the horrendous task of determining causation.

Last but not least, if WCB is such a great insurance plan, why did the Government bring in regulations to exempt numerous employers and workers from having to be covered by WCB which raises an interesting question. When workers and employers who are exempt from being forced into WCB, if an employer or worker covered under workers compensation is involved in an accident with a worker or an employer that is exempt, they can be sued by an exempt worker or employer in the event of an accident where the worker or employer covered under WCB is at fault. In other words, the “Grand Bargain” envisioned by Meredith is not such a grand bargain at all. Better to mandate that all workers and employers be covered under a non conditional disability insurance to avoid any civil litigation involving workers and employers. Why do something half-assed when there is a better alternative. 

Jul 292019
 

Dear Mr. Copping;

Congratulations on your election win and selection as labor minister by Mr. Kenny. From your biography I see that you have impressive credentials as the new labor minister. Better yet, some of your studies were from Osgoode Hall where I assume you must have met Dr. Terence Ison who is acknowledged as Canada’s foremost expert on administrative law as it pertains to workers compensation. 

We have a perplexing problem in Alberta that has been around for decades and that is who has the burden of proof both for and against in the workers compensation system. According to Dr. Ison neither the worker or the employer has any burden of proof. Dr. Ison suggests that in the workers compensation system in Canada, the “Board” is the only one who has the burden of proof, both for and against in what he refers to as an Inquiry system. This was noted by Justice Bruce Millar of the Alberta Court of Queens Bench when I was involved in a Judicial Review which resulted in the Appeals Commission and WCB Legal Counsel being advised by Justice Millar that my client under an Inquiry system had no burden of proof whatsoever, yet both WCB and the Appeals Commission persist in placing the burden of proof on workers. It is rare that an employer ever appeals any decision and rarely if ever attends an in person appeals hearing when WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission assume the role of the employer to contradict a worker who is left on their own to argue their claim.

If you click on the following link; https://www.wcb.mb.ca/sites/default/files/2016%20backgrounder.pdf, scroll down to Part V of the Manitoba workers compensation system where it states:

V Principles of Adjudication Inquiry Model 

The WCB operates on an inquiry model, which means that the WCB must either prove or disprove a claim through investigation. It is not the responsibility of the worker to prove the claim, nor is it the responsibility of the employer to help prove or disprove a claim. There is no formal or legal burden of proof on any party but the WCB. The WCB is responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient information on which to base a decision. Workers, employers, and health-care providers are required to report to the WCB. The WCB then undertakes whatever additional inquiries are necessary to determine eligibility and compensation entitlement. 

Click on the following link:
https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1620&context=ohlj   Scroll down to page 814 third paragraph where Dr. Ison states:

With regard to the burden of proof, workers’ compensation in Canada has always been different from common law proceedings. Our systems were established to work on an enquiry model, not an adversarial model. There is no burden of proof on anyone except the board. Since workers’ compensation was not to be adversarial, a rule was required for situations in which the evidence for and against employment causation is judged to be evenly balanced. In that situation, a common law regime would require that the claim be denied; but a more benevolent view was taken in workers’ compensation. It has commonly been provided that, where the evidence relating to the disputed probabilities is judged to be evenly balanced, the matter should be decided in favour of the claimant.

In Albertathe burden of proof is put on the worker which is typical of an adversarial system which was never the intention of Meredith specifically because workers do not have the resources or financial ability to pay medical costs, legal costs to fight WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission. Workers also do not by statute have the right to investigate, do not have the same powers as a the Court of queens Bench as does WCB, they also do not have any powers of investigation as does WCB under the Public Inquiries Act. 

My question to you is the same question I have asked previous Ministers in charge of the WCB. Who has the burden of proof in the workers compensation system in Alberta or is Alberta the only province in Canada that adjudication of claims is based on an adversarial system. 

It seems no one wants to answer this very simple question which after one hundred years, the people adjudicating claims should know whether Alberta operates on a strict civil law standard where workers are regarded as plaintiffs rather than claimants. I would appreciate a response although I don’t expect you or any one else would have the intestinal fortitude to upset the sacred cow.  

Adding to this is that we have laws in Canada and in the province of Alberta which we as citizens are expected to obey. That being the case why is it that WCB and the Appeals Commission are not held to that standard and if they are not, then why should any one obey the law. Our courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada find that WCB and the Appeals Commission are not in compliance with the law and WCB and the Appeals Commission continue to ignore the law and if they are sued, claim an honest mistake. When is the Alberta Government going to either fix the system to comply with the Meredith Principles or simply get rid of the whole system and the scumbags that are placed in positions where they are allowed to abuse workers and their families. By the way I am not an injured worker, have never filed a claim but I would be amiss if I did not assist and care for the less fortunate in our society which is more than the Government can say as in my opinion, the Government does not give a rat’s ass as to what happens to injured and disabled workers.

  • Gerry Miller
Mar 252019
 

By Gerald

The following reason is why the Alberta Human Rights Commission are dismissing complaints without investigating the legitimacy of the complaint. As well, any prima facie evidenced complaints specific to WCB are dismissed most likely on the direction of the Justice Minster and Minister in charge of the WCB;

The Alberta Human Rights Commission has put in place the Case Inventory Resolution Program in an effort to reduce a massive backlog of cases. For the past seven years the number of complaints received by the Commission has exceeded the Commission’s capacity to process them. Those unresolved complaints are carried forward into the next year resulting in a growing backlog of complaints. As a result, it can take up to 2 years for a complaint to reach the conciliation stage and approximately 4 years for a complaint to reach the investigation stage.

The Chief of the Commission, Michael Gottheil spoke on March 11, 2019 to the Canadian Bar Association Labour & Employment south section about the new program for addressing the backlog of cases at the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

The Case Inventory Resolution Program

As part of the change all complaints filed before January 1, 2019 will be placed in the Case Inventory Resolution Program, which will consist of an investigation team and a conciliation team.

  1. Investigation Team

There are currently 300 complaints in the investigation queue that have been through conciliation but were not successful in reaching a resolution and are now waiting for a Human Rights Officer to investigate.

The investigation team has been assigned to address the cases in the investigation queue. The team will consist of 4 Human Rights Officers, the Director and a Project Lead. The Human Rights Officers will be assigned 5 cases per week and the entire team will meet weekly to review the files.

The Human Rights Officers will review each case, gather additional information from the parties and may request specific information and submissions on whether the case should be dismissed or not. The parties will have 30 days to respond to the request.

Once all the material has been gathered, the Human Rights Officer will review the file and the parties submissions and discuss with the team. The Director will make a decision on whether the case should be dismissed or not.

The Chief of the Commission anticipates the 300 cases will be assessed within 4-6 months.

  1. Conciliation Team

There are currently 1200 to 1300 complaints waiting to be assigned to a conciliator to conduct conciliation.

The conciliation team has been assigned to address the cases in the conciliation queue. The team will consist of 6 Human Rights Officers, the Director and a Project Lead. The Human Rights Officers will be assigned 4 cases per week.

Initially, the Human Rights Officers will contact parties who have cases in this queue to inform them of the process, gather background information and schedule an in-person conciliation meeting 6-8 weeks down the road. Prior to the meeting the Human Rights Officer may contact the parties by phone and gather any additional evidence.

At the meeting, the conciliator will assist the parties in coming up with a resolution. If a resolution is reached, parties will sign a Memorandum of Agreement and Release. If no resolution is reached at the meeting, the conciliator will write a case summary with a recommendation to the Director. If the recommendation is to proceed to Tribunal, the conciliator will be encouraged to make a non-binding settlement recommendation.

The Director will then decide whether the case is dismissed or sent to Tribunal.

The Respondent will also be encouraged to make a settlement offer at this stage. The Respondent can request that the Director exercise their discretion under section 22 of the Alberta Human Rights Act to discontinue if the Complainant does not accept the offer.

The Chief of the Commission anticipates the 1200 – 1300 cases will be dealt with in 12-18 months and the conciliation team will likely start in May.

More information on the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s Case Inventory Resolution Program can be found here.