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. 

Aug 182019
 

By Gerald

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.  

Jan 152019
 

By Gerald

Click on the following link:
https://www.therecord.com/news-story/9123231-rubber-workers-should-be-allowed-to-sue-miners-advocate-says/

Just because the WCA protects employers from civil litigation, there is 
nothing in the “Act” that protects WCB from civil litigation. 
Questionably is why the burden of proof is placed on workers when the 
burden of proof is and always has been on the “Board”.  Not only is the 
burden of proof on the “Board” to prove causation, they also have the 
burden of proof to provide evidence of an alternate cause. If not, the 
claim remains in a neutral state and the benefit of doubt goes to the 
worker.

Determining causation according to the SCC does not depend on medical 
certainty as this is too high a standard and all that is needed is to 
determine that the work environment was a contributing factor, even a 
trivial contributing factor. Workers compensation systems are 
prehistoric remedies that a hundred years ago may have had some 
significance but in today’s world, there are better systems that 
guarantee acceptance of claims without spending decades fighting for 
compensation when a mandatory system that does not depend on causation could be brought in which would more than likely result in getting rid of a lot of deadwood at WCB and forcing doctors to get real jobs rather than providing medical opinions that are based on nothing but their 
opinions.

I have in the last several years assisted two workers, one whose claim 
goes back to 1973 and another to 2009, both long standing claims which 
are now under investigation by WCB due to obvious errors by the WCB, 
DRDRB and the Appeals Commission. I suspect that the decisions were 
deliberate but I cannot prove malice or deliberate denial of the claims, 
therefore I have no choice but to call them errors. As well a Judicial 
Review is coming up on Feb. 20, 2019 specifically on how impairment 
ratings have been illegally used as a direct method of rating a 
disability. On top of this I have the Fair Practice Office attempting to 
determine who has the burden of proof and who has the burden of proof of 
an alternate cause which is how the inquiry system is supposed to operate.

The writer also hit the nail on the head when it is a proven fact that 
workers whose claims and benefits have been illegally denied are being 
supported by taxpayers through our health care plan and social 
services. Of course no government wants to admit that this is the way to 
keep premiums low to benefit the economy.

Jan 042018
 

By Gerald

Click on the following link: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=5123898D391C7-03A8-57F2-509E8DF9611B2E7C

Not meaning to trivialize what the Government and when I say Government I do not include the ordinary Albertans who had nothing to do with the inhumane treatment of our indigenous people, it was the people we elected who did this. Unfortunately, Albertans when voting have no say at all what our elected representative do. In reality Albertans vote in a dictatorship and changes in Government no matter which party is voted in have no say in what Governments do and is why many people do not bother to vote at all. When you reach into a barrel of assholes, you obviously will pull out an asshole.

It was not the ordinary Albertans who sterilized young adults through the Governments Eugenics program, it was the Government who were convinced by influential and wealthy Albertans who wanted to rid Alberta of what the elite believed were inferior people.

I believe that the Alberta Government has a duty to apologize to the thousands of workers and their families who also were exposed to the inhumane treatment of injured and disabled workers by an arms length Government body which the Government created and forced workers and employers into a corrupt system that has resulted in family breakups, extreme poverty and suicides. If I am wrong and I know that I am not wrong when I suggest that WCB is nothing more than a criminal organization supported by Government, then there would be no reason to continuously having to appoint commissions and review panels who recommend changes to a corrupt system. No commission or review panel has ever determined that there need not be any changes because the “Board” were adjudicating claims in a fair and respectful manner.

Jan 172017
 

By Gerald

Presumptive status has and always has been for all workers not just for first responders. It would appear that in order for workers who work in high risk occupations such as GE and have a much higher risk of cancers than first responders, must also be given presumptive status through legislation. If not, this would be discrimination. Basically, the way presumption is supposed to work is that some one ( no one knows whether this is a worker or the “Board”) has to provide on a de-minimus standard a causal relation to the work place. This then triggers the presumption and unless proven contrary ( no one knows who must prove contrary, the employer or the “Board”), the presumption stands.

Note that in the article it states that it is the worker who must prove causation and the employer must prove contrary. This then indicates to me that the system in Canada is an Adversarial system not an Inquiry system that workers are led to believe. If the burden of proof is on the worker and employer and not the “Board” what then would be the benefit of workers giving up the right to sue the employer and the employer funding the system if the same system exists that existed over one hundred years ago still exists today. Why would workers give up the right to sue and have to prove causation which is nearly impossible in many situations rather than to be able to sue an employer in the court system rather than claims being heard by incompetent adjudicators in an administrative system. Why give the “Board” exclusive powers to investigate and gather the facts if they do not have the burden of proof. When if ever has an employer proven contrary which in an adversarial system, an employer must prove contrary and why is it then that it is the “Board” that spends millions of dollars to prove contrary when causation has been shown. In nearly all cases an employer does not even get involved in a claim resulting in a worker fighting the “Board” rather than an employer which suggests to me that employers subrogates the claim to WCB who takes the place of the employer to fight the worker. Why is it that the Alberta Courts can not agree as to whether adjudication in workers compensation is based on an Inquiry system or an Adversarial system with Justice Millar suggesting that it is an Inquiry system and Justice Yamauchi disagreeing and suggesting it is an Adversarial system.

Click on the following link;https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/01/16/ontario-eyes-stronger-protections-for-workers-who-get-sick-on-the-job.html