Nov 162018
 

By Gerald

Most people are aware that lawyers have very little or no integrity or principles which is evident when performing surveys involving trust. Lawyers are always at the bottom of the list. The case I am presenting is why all long standing claims must be reheard by unbiased, knowledgeable people with integrity. Grandfathering claims that has resulted in grievous harm to workers should be as important as grandfathering the grievous harm caused by Governments to natives and the grievous harm done to Albertans who were forcefully sterilized due to the governments belief in eugenics. Much of the harm done to workers should fall under the criminal code based on criminal fraud not honest mistakes and the people involved including Wispinski  incarcerated. Aiding and abetting criminal action is an indictable offense. Should the Appeals Commission be headed by some one who has allegedly committed an indictable offense. I think not.

The case I am presenting may be be found on Canlii although the Judicial Review presided by Justice Millar was not put on Canlii for obvious reasons because the harm it could of caused WCB and the Appeals Commission. This particular claim goes back to 2007 when the worker was injured although he is still fighting two claims specific to work related accidents that happened 45 years ago. In the 2007 accident, unbeknown to the employer, the worker applied for the job despite the fact that he was on CPP disability and also AISH because WCB on the two previous claims dating back 45 years illegally denied his benefits that he was entitled to. The Case Manager (Neil Swancar) had advised the worker that he was unemployable and that he must lie or hold back any information about his medical condition to obtain work. He followed the directions of Mr. Swancar and on the first day of work slipped on some stairs, fell into a pile of rocks and had to go to the emergency in Olds, Alberta where he was found to have suffered internal injuries and was passing blood in his urine. WCB accepted his claim and a WCB doctor, Dr. Henderson opined he would recover in 3 months. The workers Case Manager told the worker that the employer had offered modified work which was a lie and verified by the employer that it was a lie. The intent by the Case Manager, Carole Couture was to terminate his claim to claim her bonus provided to all Case Managers by WCB to terminate claims. This practice was verified by John Wollcott, another Case Manager with WCB who claimed all Case Managers did this.

This claim went through the appeals process and two years later, without any investigation by WCB, at an in in person hearing the Appeals Commission determined that the worker was not entitled to a temporary total earning loss for 3 months but was only entitled to a one month temporary earning loss because according to the Case Manager, Carole Couture modified work had been offered but the worker refused the offer of modified work. Questionably is why the Appeals Commission would not have simply sent the claim back to WCB and directed that there be a written offer of modified work from the employer rather than to assume that the Case Manager was honest which questions their decision making capabilities. Stupid people do stupid things. Needless to say, the Appeals Commission directed that WCB pay one month loss of earnings and denied the additional two months loss of earnings because they assumed that the employer had offered modified work because the Case Manager said that the employer offered modified work.

Undaunted we then put in a claim for a temporary partial loss of earnings which was denied by another Case Manager. Her decision was upheld by the DRDRB even though over 3 years later, WCB had still not investigated or contacted the employer as to whether modified work was ever offered. On appeal to the second group of misfits (3 stooges selected as Appeal Commissioners) I requested that the employer and the Case Manager be subpoenaed to prove that no offer of modified work had ever been made. This request was denied because the 3 stooges decided that documentary evidence was adequate to make a decision which as any fool knows, documentary evidence is only accepted by fools and is rarely or ever used in real courts presided by real judges rather than the stooges or monkeys selected by the Government who are as dumb as the people they select.

During the in person hearing, a question was asked by a member of the Appeals Commission, Patty Whiting if modified work was discussed which was a stupid question as discussing modified work is not the same as offering modified work. Rather than answering the question, the employer replied that had he known the worker had work restrictions was on CPP disability and AISH, he would not have hired him in the first place. This seemed to go over the 3 stooges heads and the claim for temporary partial loss of earnings to the end of May was again denied. We requested a reconsideration based on the fact that I contacted the employer and asked if he had ever offered modified work through the Case Manager or  contacted the worker directly to offer modified work and his reply was that he did not at anytime offer modified work. Not getting any where with these assholes who clearly should have or could have been replaced by monkeys we chose to go to Judicial Review.

The Appeals Commission and WCB in their statement of defense, suggested that the burden of proof was on me to prove that modified work was not offered and suggested that during the in person hearing attended by the employer via teleconferencing that I should have asked the employer if he had offered modified work. The issue of modified work should have been cleared up at the initial stages of WCB’s investigation and not having me having to ask a question that the Appeals Commission should have considered and not after the fact blame me for not asking a question that WCB by law and policy were responsible for obtaining during an investigation. In Justice Millar’s decision the decision to deny the claim was based on their belief that the burden of proof was on me and that it was up to me to contact the employer or ask the employer at the in person hearing if modified work was presented. Per verbatim, Justice Millar replied to this, “with respect, this appears to be the flimsiest of evidence with respect to the offer of modified work.When confronted with Mr. Miller’s repeated denials that no modified work had been offered and no written documentation had been produced, the decision of the Appeal Commission in this regard is under review, which would be respected if it is reasonable. In my view, it was not reasonable. The case notes of the WCB Case Manager is barely worthy of note and amounts to an absence of evidence. To suggest that the Appeals Commission needs more evidence by suggesting Mr. Miller had an opportunity to ask the employer has some merit. However as noted by the applicant, this is an inquiry system, not an adversarial system.  Justice Millar after rendering his decision, he stated per verbatim, “In the result, I find the approach of the Appeals Commission was not reasonable. It is for the Appeals Commission to determine if they will require some written confirmation of the offer of modified work or in its absence, subpoena the employer with a notice to attend to confirm the offer of modified employment. That question should be referred back to the Appeals Commission for a reconsideration with a new panel”  The claim was referred back to the Appeals Commission and they refused to contact the employer as they knew that there was never any offer of modified work, they knew the Case Manager had lied and they knew they had naively believed her making them look like fools. Not wanting to look like fools, they denied the claim for a second time stating again that the burden of proof was on me and that I should have asked the employer at the in person hearing if modified work had been offered despite the fact that Justice Millar had already determined that in an inquiry system, there is no burden of proof on any one other than the “Board” who had not done their due diligence and performed a thorough investigation. Note: in this particular workers claim, it was determined that there need not be a written offer of modified work and when looking on Canlii on an Appeals Commission decision, an employer appealed a decision of the DRDRB specific to whether there need be a written offer of modified work and the Appeals Commission determined that there must be a written offer of modified work, signed by the worker and the employer and dismissed the appeal of the employer because the worker had not received the written offer of modified work because the written offer of modified work went to the wrong address and was therefore not signed by the worker. Either a written offer of modified work is required in all cases or a written offer of modified work is not required. This would be a valid complaint to the human rights commission based on differential treatment. I suspect that every claim would result in differential treatment and result in a human rights complaint due to inconsistent decisions that result in discrimination.

According to the principles of stare decisis ( When an issue has been been preciously brought to court and a ruling issued) the same issue cannot be brought back to be re-adjudicated) The principles of res judicata (an issue that has been determined by a competent court and may not be pursued further by the same parties) and as well the principles of issue estoppel. After denying the claim for a second time we again had to request another Judicial Review. Rather than WCB having their Legal Counsel represent WCB and Wispinski represent the Appeals Commission, Wispinski represented both WCB and the Appeals Commission which clearly was a conflict of interest as the Appeals Commission is supposed to be a neutral body, not a body representing WCB. Representation was discussed with Yamauchi and Wispinski made it quite clear to Yamauchi that she would not allow me to represent the worker because it was apparent that I knew more than her and after two of their senior legal counsel losing the case before Justice Millar, she could not allow me to represent the worker. Rather than Wispinski doing the right thing and acknowledging that there was never an offer of modified work, an honest person with any integrity would have advised the court that she could not defend the Appeals Commission to criminally defraud the worker out of the two months entitlement for a temporary loss of earnings making her an accessory to an indictable offense which is criminal fraud. Based on the same evidence that was before Justice Millar, Justice Yamauchi should not have allowed the Judicial Review to proceed based on the principle of stare decisis and not disagreeing with Justice Millar and disrespectfully disagreeing with Justice Millar determining that we had the burden of proof in determining whether modified work was offered or that I should have requested this information at the in person hearing which is patently unreasonable as this should have been determined by WCB who were not in compliance with their own policy by not investigating the claim two years before the in person hearing. We could have appealed the decision of Yamauchi to the Alberta Court of Appeal but with limited finances, the worker like thousands of other workers face the procedural unfairness of having to pay for a lawyer while both the Appeals Commission and WCB use money out of the accident fund that belongs to workers which does not belong to them but is held in trust by WCB and not to be used to bully workers into not going to the courts for Judicial Review.

It is apparent that the whole reason by the Appeals Commission not complying with justice Millar’s directive was to teach us a lesson after they had lost the court battle between their senior legal counsel, WCB’s senior legal counsel and I by making this a vindictive and retaliatory lesson for workers who would dare question their expertise in adjudicating claims and then making them all look like fools.

Still not backing off, we filed a multi-million dollar civil action suit against the Appeals Commission suspecting that their statement of defense would be based on Section 13.1 (9) of the WCA which removes or forbids any action against the Appeals Commission if their decision was made in the honest belief that it was within the Appeals Commission to make. Having them admit they made a mistake in denying the claim was worth the $200.00 it cost to file the civil action. Despite in the statement of defense, they admitted to making an honest mistake, they still refused to apologize or pay the worker the $8,000.00 dollars they owed him which questions the integrity of Wispinski and Tadman who should have sent the claim back to WCB directing that WCB pay the worker..

Having experienced shit like this I do not question why workers take the law into heir own hands and seek revenge. According to the criminal code, it is legal to take the law into your own hands when local authorities refuse to protect you as long as you use reasonable force. At the time that Patrick Clayton decided to take matters into his own hands in all the forums that I read, most people agreed with what he done. I also believed that he was justified what he did and in a CBC interview, I expressed my views and when asked if I believed that incidents like this would happen again, my reply was, most certainly it would.

The WCA was changed in 2018 specifically to how the WCB BoD must be selected. The same selection process should be used to select Appeals Commissioners as per Section 5(1.1) effective in 2018 where an equal number of Appeals Commissioners are selected from a list of persons chosen by workers, an equal number selected from a list chosen by employers and an equal list chosen by members of the public rather than now where Appeals Commissioners are chosen based on their political affiliation. There is presently 43 Appeals Commissioners which would mean if this method was put into place, the Government would select 14 Appeals Commissioners from the lists presented by injured workers groups, 14 Appeals Commissioners representing employers and 14 Appeals Commissioners representing the general public. As any monkey could serve as the Chief of the Appeals Commission, this selection could come from the Calgary zoo. At present, at an in person hearing there are no worker representatives and is the reason why over half of the appeals are denied because when choosing the three panel members to serve at in person hearings, all are professional, business, management, former government employees, lawyers, former WCB employees, union business managers with only one of the Appeals Commissioners (Stephan Dussault who has only been in Alberta for 5 years and has never participated in any in person Appeal Commission hearings) being a blue collar worker.

There needs to be some one in charge of the of the WCB and the Appeals Commission as at present no one is in charge or taking responsibility for the corruption that workers experience. Incidentally, I did hear that the person selected to be the head of the Fair Practices Office would be Tadman.

Nov 112018
 

By Gerald

I have been requested to inquire why recipients of Social Services
payments are forced to apply for CPP pensions when they reach the age of
60 and threatened that if they do not, their benefits will be cut off.
This is something the Alberta WCB did a number of years ago to reduce
the amount WCB paid workers by clawing back CPP pensions even though
workers had paid 50% of the premiums for CPP. Of course this is illegal
but being that there is no one in charge of WCB, they are allowed to do
whatever they choose to do.

As you know or should know most of the people on Social Services are
disabled workers who have had their claims and benefits illegally
denied, thereby forcing tax payers to subsidize WCB premiums that are
supposed to be paid by employers. As you know or should know, applying
for CPP pensions at age 60 reduces the amount of a CPP pension by 30%
when a person reaches 65.  The 30% reduction is calculated by a
reduction of 6% per year for every year prior to the age of 65. Forcing
recipients to apply for CPP benefits 5 years early reduces their CPP
pensions by a significant amount resulting in seniors having to live in
poverty rather than having the extra 30% for necessities of life. Of
course no one gives a rats ass bout disadvantaged people so they are
kicked to the curb.

Are you aware of this or is Ms. Notley aware of this and if both of you
are and you allow this it is little wonder why people don’t bother to
vote as if you reach into a barrel of assholes, you pull out an asshole.
Will you or Ms. Notley reply to me which you probably will not even
though your salary and benefits are paid by myself as well as other tax
payers who ask legitimate questions.

I believe that the money that has been clawed back by forcing recipients
to apply for early CPP retirement benefits be returned and at the age of
65, the Alberta Government make up the 30% reduction in CPP pensions to
each and every one of the people who were forced to apply for CPP
benefits at age 60. What do you think?

Aug 012018
 

By Gerald

I was one of the privileged attendees that were invited by Dr. Brigham who I have known for over 10 years. For those who are unfamiliar with Dr. Brigham, he is one of the world’s leading experts on impairment ratings and is the Editing Chair of the AMA Guides 6th Edition. This is the second Webinar I have been invited to by Dr. Brigham specific to problems within the workers compensation systems with other Webinars being planned. The topic was something that affects every one, from the tax payer who is forced to subsidize workers compensation systems when workers claim and benefits are illegally denied based on WCB friendly doctors, in house lawyers and insurance companies who are to blame for the anger and frustration of the injured worker. The topic specific to the Webinar was “Anger and frustration of the Injured Worker”

It was agreed by all attendees that the grand bargain that resulted in the formation of workers compensation is no longer the grand bargain that it was supposed to be. Many in attendance believe that the whole idea of workers compensation should be abolished and some other form of disability insurance be provided through the Federal Government rather than through provinces or states who do a pathetically poor job of ensuring workers get the benefits that they should be entitled to. All in all it was an interesting topic.

Obviously, everyone knows that the system does not work and most workers with permanent disabilities wind up on CPP disability benefits or Social Assistance resulting in taxpayers paying for work-related injuries.

Dec 032017
 

Click on the following link: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/feds-deny-ex-osha-inspector-9-11-illness-workers-comp-article-1.3672946

While it is obvious that not only Alberta is there major problems with all workers compensation boards, there seems to be a convoluted approach to how one body adjudicates claims and how another body adjudicates claims. In Alberta, a worker who has an obvious work related injury and is determined to be disabled, the same worker under federal jurisdiction is considered to be totally disabled and receives a disability pension. The same worker that is totally disabled, receiving CPP disability pension also applies for AISH and is also determined to also be totally disabled, yet this same worker in the workers compensation system is determined to be capable of “imaginary” gainful work making “imaginary” earnings. 

It should not surprise any one that the majority of workers compensation benefits are paid by tax payers as most if not all workers will apply for CPP disability benefits, AISH or SFI and and receive these benefits. To suggest that employers fund the accident fund 100% is a lie as approximately 80% of the money paid for disabled workers come from the worker, their families and other tax payers. This was a study performed in the U.S. by two independent bodies when the study was performed using Social Security in the comparative studies when it was determined that the majority of individuals receiving Social Security benefits were disabled workers who either had their claims denied or their benefits denied. 

To suggest that we are different in Alberta is grossly illogical as the long standing claims that I am representing (43 years and 29 years) resulted in WCB accepting the claims but refusing to pay benefits. The worker in question has been receiving CPP disability benefits and AISH since 1992 for work related injuries. Another long standing claim (27 years) that was accepted with no benefits resulted in the worker applying for CPP disability benefits and had been receiving CPP disability benefits from 2000 to when she reached 65. It is evident that both AISH and CPP are subsidizing the Alberta WCB through tax payer funded systems which is not what the public and workers should be doing. The Alberta Government know that this is true, refuse to investigate how many disabled workers are on AISH and SFI, and continue to protect the sacred cow. The Federal Government also know that the majority of individuals on CPP  disability are disabled workers but according to Services Canada, this is a provincial matter which is a crock of shit because the Federal Government are forcing all Canadians to subsidize workers compensation systems throughout all of Canada when they know that WCB is supposed to be the first payer and that if a disabled worker applies for CPP and receives a disability pension, Services Canada has the legal right to claw back disability benefits from WCB. WCB has no legal right to claw back CPP benefits to offset disabled workers WCB benefits.

Oct 042017
 

By Gerald

I have reviewed the submissions presented to the WCB Review Panel by the numerous parties such as Adorn Consulting, Alberta Construction Association, Alberta Federation of Labor, various unions, Friends of Medicare, Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses to name a few who offer their concerns and recommendations but the concerns and recommendations fall far short of what the primary problems are. Organizations that provided any meaningful and useful input into the problems that workers have when filing a claim with WCB are the Canadian Injured Workers Association of Alberta, who had the benefit of having thousands of worker’s input into how the system failed them. Other organizations especially AUPE, Worker Advocates, Friends of Medicare and Unions representing Alberta unions also provided useful input and recommendations. The firefighters concern and recommendations are based on selfishness as all they are concerned with is how their claims are adjudicated and have no concern as to how other more vulnerable workers claims are adjudicated. Other workers do not have the luxury of having dual disability insurance, both private and WCB disability insurance and if WCB denies their claim, private disability insurance accepts their claim and provides short term or long term disability benefits without having to fight for decades to have a claim accepted and benefits provided. 

The least useful and predictably so is the input from employers who gullibly believe that the system provides a fair method of adjudicating claims with no concerns as to how WCB, DRDRB and the the Appeals Commission are performing their jobs. Of course if employers premiums are the lowest in Canada and they receive billions of dollars in rebates, why then would a person complain. Employers have no idea what goes on during the appeals process as for the most part it is rare for an employer to get involved in the appeals process as they are adequately represented by WCB and the Appeals Commission with the WCB being an employer( member of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce) who pays premiums to themselves and the Appeals Commission who are selected by the Alberta Government who also are employers paying premiums to an arms length Government monopoly. In effect workers are left on their own to fight WCB and the Appeals Commission rather than an employer and have the impossible task of fighting two employer represented bodies with unlimited powers, unlimited financial power to buy medical opinions and control the court process if workers are able to take their claims to the courts. Unfortunately, the courts also do not have the power to overturn a decision based on fact and forced by legislation to defer to the decision of the Appeals Commission who are far from being experts in determining the facts as in nearly all cases, the facts have never been investigated and if gathered are biased by the body who are by statute and policy are required to perform a thorough investigation but rarely ever do. Employers have no idea of the billions of dollars that they and workers have to pay in excess taxes to fund Alberta Social Services, Alberta Health Care and also pay premiums to CPP. 

Of note and it is a good recommendation by employer groups is to have an office of the appeals advisor for employers as there are numerous small employers who like workers have no idea of how the system operates and cannot afford to pay for representation. Both of the Office of the Appeals Advisor for workers and employers must be independent of WCB and staffed by lawyers who are experts in workers compensation issues and paid out of the accident fund. I also like the idea of a WCB Ombudsman or Fair Practices Officer which I recommended nearly twenty years ago to Justice Friedman.

Workers Compensation Regulations have to be revised with no exemptions for any employer from having WCB coverage if changes to the workers compensation system results in better decisions that favor workers to eliminate any possibility of workers becoming a charge on family, friends and society which is the whole idea of the Meredith Principles. The regulations also have to be specific as to the amount of exposure required by specifying in column 2 of Schedule B of the Regulations, rather than significant exposure with reference as to where this information was obtained. Most if not all allowable exposure levels were determined over 40 years ago and have never been updated. A particular disturbing presumptive description of a work related occupational hazard occurs in point 8 column 1 of Schedule B specific to “Vascular disturbances of the extremities” which is explained in Column 2 of Schedule B which species only one cause , vibration without specifying other causes such as repetitive actions of the hand and wrist which causes reduced flow of blood to the upper extremities resulting in through the bone modeling process, the formation of abnormal bone which is susceptible to micro-fractures when workers are involved tasks that require high grip and pinch strengths leading to what is referred to in the literature as insufficiency fractures that if not treated results in avascular necrosis of the carpal bones, especially the scaphoid bone (Preisers disease) and lunate (Kienbochs disease) which are work related occupational injuries. Most doctors have no idea how the mechanism of reduced blood flow due to repetitive actions of the hand and wrist can result in micro-fractures to the carpal bones due to overloading of abnormal bone. 

Whether the WCB Review Panel likes it or not, I believe that there are some claims that have to be referred to to get a good understanding of why all long standing claims must be heard. I filed a claim for bilateral avascular necrosis of the scaphoids on behalf of a worker and the claim was denied through all levels of appeal based on the false work description provided by the employer and reviewed by a WCB Medical Advisor who provided an opinion based on the false description of the work activities. WCB refused to provide an ergonomic assessment of the work place and I then requested that this be done by Alberta OH&S by an expert in ergonomics. Despite the objections of the employer and WCB, OH&S performed an ergonomic assessment which supported the claimant’s description of the work activity and proved that the employer was lying. I requested a reconsideration by the Reconsideration Threshold Panel and based on the new evidence presented numerous medical opinions from all WCB Medical Advisors and as well as an outside Occupational Specialist and Hand Surgeon along with medical literature supporting causation, the Reconsideration Threshold Panel determined that there was a causal relation, overturned the decision of the original Appeals commission denial and sent the claim back to Customer Services. Customer Services despite absolute evidence to support the claim, denied the claim, the denial was upheld by the CSRC and went back to the Appeals Commission who then denied the claim despite absolute evidence supporting the claim by all private and WCB Medical Advisors who supported the claim. The reason why the claim was denied by the Appeals Commission was that George Pheasy decided that with due diligence, the ergonomic assessment should have been performed prior to determining causation and all the doctors opinions supporting causation could have with due diligence been provided by the worker supporting causation and should have been provided at the first appeals commission in person hearing. In affect all medical opinions were disregarded, medical literature was disregarded by the Appeals Commission and despite the fact that causation had been established based on medical fact, the Appeals Commission blamed the worker for not investigating and providing the information prior to their decision. In effect, the Reconsideration Threshold Panel disagreed with the original Appeals Commission and George Pheasy resulting in the same bodies within the Appeals Commission, Appeals Commission and Reconsideration Threshold Panel disagreeing with each other. The question then is who must investigate and gather the facts, is it the worker or the “Board” Who has the burden of proof and why would the burden of proof be on a worker when they do not have the powers of investigation. Why should a worker be held accountable for an employer lying about how work is performed and then having doctors providing medical opinions based on their belief that the employers false work activity has been been investigated by WCB and is found to be accurate. Denying a claim supported by all doctors and medical science is an abuse of power, an act of bad faith and most likely criminal fraud, yet no one wants to prosecute any one within the WCB system and most likely couldn’t any way because according to the WCA, WCB and the Appeals Commission can make an honest mistake. (LOL)

I take exception when any one accuses all WCB Medical Advisors as being biased or corrupt when in fact there are many WCB Medical Advisors who are good honest doctors who provide opinions on what they believe is true. Case Managers will with hold evidence from doctors who become victims of WCB by being lied to when performing IME’s or providing medical opinions. The ergonomic assessment that I have referred to performed by OH&S was deliberately with held by a Case Manager and being that I was in attendance at the IME, I provided the ergonomic assessment that resulted in the Hand Specialist determining a work related cause which the Appeals Commission refused to accept because it was after the fact and they did not want to admit they had made an incorrect decision in denying the claim. I also take exception to people who believe that Medical Specialists know more than a GP as there are many GP’s who take a special interest in a certain medical condition and are far more knowledgeable than a Specialist. 

Of interest is that presumptive status for firefighters which originated in the U.S. under total adversarial civil law where the burden of proof both for and against in all situations is placed entirely on the worker and the employer and then went further to include first responders which has resulted in major complications and financial burdens on tax payer with respect to PTSD claims. Recent studies have found that 87% of claims for PTSD by first responders are based on fraud as it is relatively easy to go on the Internet and get all the information a person wants on the symptoms of PTSD and then utilize these symptoms to convince a psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose PTSD. Numerous fire fighters and first responders will submit a claim for PTSD prior to announcing their retirement and then receive compensation on top of their public pensions. The support for fire fighters and first responders as to why they were provided presumptive status in the first place is being questioned in the U.S. as all fire fighters and first responders knew prior to employment the risks they would face in their professions of being exposed to toxins, horrific accidents, violence etc. and thus could have chosen another profession. Unlike the military, civilian firefighters and first responders can hand in their resignation any time they decide to. Clearly,it must be realized and acknowledged that the only reason why fire fighters and first responders were provided presumptive status in the U.S. is that in an Adversarial system, the impossible burden of proof was placed on firefighters to prove causation specific to certain types of cancers as opposed to Canada which is supposed to adjudicate claims under an Inquiry system and thus there was no need to provide discriminatory legislation that favors fire fighters and first responders as common sense and logic based on a balance of probabilities is all that is required by law as evidence that any cancers diagnosed for fire fighters or first responders would most likely be caused by work exposure. Furthermore, causation is supposed to be based on common sense and logic (balance of probabilities) and not on medical evidence as that requires a much higher standard. This higher standard has been determined by numerous Canadian courts to not fit into workers compensation systems but seems to be a problem for WCB and the Appeals Commission to understand.

Having said that in Alberta and the rest of Canada, some one has to determine “who has the burden of proof” in all situations under what is supposed to be an Inquiry system whether for causation, offers of modified work, determination of disability, determination of earning losses etc. It is grossly illogical to provide WCB all the powers of investigation and then place the burden of proof on a worker who does not have the legislative powers to investigate, has relatively little or no knowledge of the system, has relatively little or no knowledge of medicine, has no financial ability to contact medical experts. It is obvious that the WCB BoD do not believe that the burden of proof is on the “Board” as evidenced by the fact that WCB Policy 01-03 specifically places the burden of proof on the worker, Policy 01-08 places the burden of proof on the worker and the Appeals Commission Rules of Procedure also places the burden of proof on a worker by stating that “with due diligence” the evidence that the worker was illegally forced to submit in an Inquiry system could have been provided at the original in person appeal panel hearing. In my humble opinion, in an Inquiry system, any evidence that was not provided by WCB during their investigation is not the responsibility of a worker to provide.  

Basically, workers compensation has very little in common with civil litigation and is analogous to the criminal justice system where there is a victim and the police who are usually considered to be neutral have all the powers of investigation and after a through investigation hands the evidence over to a usually independent Crown Prosecutor who decides if the evidence supports going to trial. In the workers compensation system, WCB is supposed to be a neutral party who investigates and determines whether there is evidence both for and against. In all cases, there has to be two scenarios, either the accident arose out of and occurred in the workplace or the accident did not arise out of and occur in the work place. Both scenarios have to be included in the adjudication process. In other words if an Adjudicator determines that the accident did not arise out of and occur in the course of employment, the Adjudicator then must determine the risk factors and the time and place outside of the work environment that caused the accident. It does not matter in any disagreement, if one person provides an opinion based on some evidence they have read, seen or been told, there has to be some conflicting evidence to contradict the evidence, not simply a negative opinion rebutting the other persons evidence without providing evidence to support the rebuttal. Climate change is a good example; some experts suggest that climate change is a natural phenomena that is simply changes of natural or normal weather patterns that have occurred previously over the last million or more years due to volcanoes etc, other experts suggest it is due to man made causes. Who does a person believe? It is obvious from the decisions made by the Alberta Appeals Commission that adjudication is based on the strict rules of civil procedure where a worker is considered to be a plaintiff bringing an action against a defendant which is not the employer but the “Board” as in nearly all cases, the employer does not attend in person hearings. Obviously that was never the intentions of Meridith to force workers from for the most part a fair and just court system where a worker had all the rights of a natural person into an administrative system adjudicated by incompetent, deceitful, disrespectful people where workers have lost all their rights to a fair and unbiased adjudication of their claims. If I am wrong, then why is it that in every situation upon investigation of WCB, there are glaring deficiencies in the system. After over one hundred years, the system should have been perfected not constantly having to be reviewed for corruption. Obviously no system can operate when the system consists of lay people determining medical evidence that is based on medical opinions from doctors who themselves have no idea whether the opinion they are providing is based on undisputed medical fact, undisputed medical literature or undisputed medical consensus. As with anything, any opinion must be based on a reference to specific literature, the chapter and pages where the medical opinion is derived from.  For anyone who is interested and spends a lot of time reading medical literature on a daily basis as I do, the word “may” is used consistently in medicine rather than the word “will” as it is impossible to determine how each individual based on their genetic makeup will react to prescription medications, toxins, stress, pain etc. and is the reason why there are some people who take prescription medications that result in death for some but total relief for the majority of people. In fact prescription medications are marketed based on the fact that some prescription medicines will cause major side affects and may result in death for some people but if the majority of people receive relief, these prescription medications are allowed to be marketed. 

Some of the responses to questions specific to psychological diagnosis is not complex at all especially when it involves a disabling injury. I have been in attendance at several psychological evaluations and for the most part, the assessment of determining a work related cause is simple. A psychiatrist determines the correct diagnosis from the DSM Manual and the severity of the psychological evaluation. They then consider the past history of a worker before and after an accident by review of a workers medical history. They go into a workers past family history prior to an accident which is very personal and leave nothing to chance. If a worker did not have any mental or emotional problems involving suicidal ideations and homicidal thoughts prior to a disabling accident and they have mental and emotional problems after a disabling accident, then it is easy to conclude that the emotional and mental condition is work related but if a worker has a history of emotional and mental problems such as marital disputes, financial problems etc. prior to a disabling accident it would be concluded that the psychological condition is not work related. In all actuality it is easier to diagnose a psychological disorder especially when the psychological diagnosis is based on a disabling injury than it is to diagnose an acute injury that may not show up on imaging.  More often than not it is Case Managers, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission who cause secondary work related psychological disorders by the inhumane and contemptuous treatment of workers. Although worker suicides or homicides are rarely or if ever reported in the media, most if not all workers have homicidal thoughts of harming the people who have destroyed their lives. All the workers I have talked to have stated that if they knew they could get away with it, they would cause harm to the people who destroyed their life. In a CBC Radio live broadcast after the incident involving Patrick Clayton, I was asked if I thought what he did was justified. My reply was that if local authorities do nothing to fix a broken system then any kind of violence against WCB Personnel was justified. 

The Alberta WCA does not specify as to who has the “burden of proof” . No one in Government, WCB or the Appeals Commission will answer that question. On November 8 and 9th I represented a worker in an in person hearing and was the first question I asked. The Appeals Commission refused to answer the question. I then requested that they file an originating notice for the Court of Queens Bench to answer that question which obviously forms the basis of every claim as without knowing who has the burden of proof, you cannot adjudicate any claim.  It is obvious also that the Alberta Court of Queens Bench also do not know who has the burden of proof in the workers compensation system as this was an issue that was dealt with by two different Judges on subsequent Judicial Review and Appeal. Justice Millar agreed with me that the workers compensation system is based on an Inquiry system and the burden of proof is on the “Board” to prove that modified work was offered and sent the claim back to the Appeals Commission to reconsider their decision to deny the claim and to contact the employer to determine if modified work had been offered. The Appeals Commission refused to contact the employer as directed and again denied the claim despite finally acknowledging that there was no offer of modified work and I was forced to go back to the Court of Queens Bench to rehear the same claim before a different Judge. Justice Yamauchi disagreed with Justice Millar as to who has the burden of proof in an Inquiry system and instead determined that adjudication is based on an adversarial system not an inquiry system and the burden of proof is on the victim (worker) resulting in total confusion as to who has the burden of proof. After over one hundred years, no one knows who has the burden of proof. How can a claim be adjudicated when no one knows who has the burden of proof? 

Questionably is why the Alberta Government does not enact legislation that provides the benefit of doubt to a worker rather than having the WCB BoD determine questions of law which they do not have jurisdiction. Providing a worker with the benefit of doubt when there are differences in medical opinions would make all claims that are supposedly complex, relatively easy as if there is a medical difference of opinion, rather to proceed to a MRP who in most or all cases are not world recognized medical experts and are simply providing more medical opinions that are not based on medical science, peer reviewed medical literature or medical consensus. According to the WCB BoD the benefit of doubt has to be based on medical fact which is not the proper or correct standard in workers compensation systems as medicine is not or rarely based on fact but is based mainly on speculation or in legal terms circumstantial evidence which is used in all legal proceedings but according to WCB cannot be used in adjudicating claims. If in fact the WCB Review Panel would zero in on the two primary problems that I have presented  as to “who has the burden of proof both for and against” and “providing the benefit of doubt in all cases to workers when there was a medical disagreement”, everything else would be totally irrelevant.

Question 17 posed by the WCB Review Panel is an interesting question “Should an option be made available for workers to obtain additional coverage through the WCB? Why or why not?” Why would workers want additional insurance through WCB when WCB does not provide compensation now and is why there is a review as to why the system is not working. The question that should have been asked is “Should employers be mandated to provide private disability insurance that is not based on work related injuries. In my opinion this should be a no brainer as employers and workers at present pay for both private disability and WCB disability insurance (dual benefits) for all public employees and as well as WCB employees to ensure that if WCB denies their claim, then the private disability insurer will accept the claim and pay benefits without going through years of appeals. This being the case then all workers in Alberta should be covered under the same dual benefits as public workers and WCB employees.

Sep 062012
 
Workers compensation board to repay nearly $4 million

 

Kevin Bissett The Canadian Press
Posted: Sep 5, 2012 7:35 PM AT
Last Updated: Sep 5, 2012 7:53 PM AT

 

New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation board is repaying close to $4 million to 901 people as a result of a court ruling earlier this year that concluded it was wrong to claw back injury benefit payments from Canada Pension Plan recipients.

The claims, which date back over 20 years, were identified following a provincial Court of Appeal decision in April, a spokeswoman for WorkSafeNB said Wednesday.

Mary Tucker said the Crown agency believed its policy of clawing back workers’ compensation payments from people receiving the Canada Pension Plan was in line with the Workers’ Compensation Act.

“The implications of the Court of Appeal decision have been assessed and case management staff are actively working to implement the directions given by the court and provide redress to those affected,” Tucker said in an email.

“Many have already received payments and others are in process.”

An appeals tribunal repeatedly rejected WorkSafeNB’s interpretation of the Act and overturned its decisions in individual cases. The Court of Appeal backed the tribunal’s position, saying in its April 5 ruling that it “has been right all along.”

Tucker declined to explain why WorkSafeNB followed the tribunal’s decisions in individual cases but didn’t change its overall policy of clawing back workers’ compensation payments. She said WorkSafeNB would not comment further.

Amon Ross said he had to leave his job as a carpenter in 1999 after falling from a ladder. He received disability payments as a result from 2000 to 2005, but that was partially clawed back.

Ross, 72, said he was repaid that money from WorkSafeNB in June. But he added that the claw backs left him in financial distress.

“I had to withdraw all of my RRSPs, trying to make a pension out of it,” he said from his home in Tabusintac in northern New Brunswick. “I had to put it into a (Retirement Income Fund) so I can get a little bit more pension to get on with my life in 2000.”

Ross said he believes he is due interest.

“If I would have had that money in 2000 I would have earned interest on it.”

WorkSafeNB’s repayments come following the case of Wayne Douthwright, who was injured on Oct. 18, 2002, while working at a sawmill in Sussex, N.B.

Douthwright’s claim for workers’ compensation was accepted and he eventually became entitled to long-term disability benefits, which he began receiving in August 2009. Those monthly payments were $766.

After turning 60, he chose to collect Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits at a diminished rate. Those benefits totaled $547.07 per month, which he started receiving in September 2009.

In June 2010, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission — now known as WorkSafeNB — told him his long-term disability benefits would be reduced by the amount of his retirement benefits and that he would have to reimburse the commission for overpayments.

Douthwright appealed that decision to the appeal tribunal, which sided with him. His employer, JD Irving Ltd., appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeal, but lost.

 

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WCB Alberta were also clawing back CPP benefits but stopped claw backs for workers injured after June 1, 1996. Unfortunately for workers injured prior to June 1, 1996, they continued to claw back workers CPP benefits which are and have been found to be illegal in other precedence setting legal cases. It would appear to me that the Alberta WCB will have to pay workers back their CPP benefits prior to June 1, 1995 and going back to 1966 when CPP was first introduced in Canada, unless the Alberta courts determine that WCB can claw back CPP benefits which I suppose is possible. It would appear to me that the New Brunswick Appeals Tribunal have a far better understanding of case law than the shit for brains Appeals Commission we have in Alberta who never do question the WCA, Regulations or WCB Policy. Of course when we elect shit for brains politicians who select these dumb bastards, workers get people determining claims who haven’t got a clue what they are doing.

 

This is the wonderful system that workers and employers have been forced into by provincial governments that could give a shit less for workers.

 

Gerry Miller

Sep 062012
 

The N.B. Appeals Court decision is on Canlii http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?text=douthwright&language=en&searchTitle=New+Brunswick+-+Court+of+Appeal+of+New+Brunswick&path=/en/nb/nbca/doc/2012/2012nbca35/2012nbca35.html

 

There are many good arguments why CPP benefits cannot legally be clawed back and the one reason I zeroed in on is the fact that workers compensation is supposed to be 100% funded by employers. That being the case, the benefits that CPP pays to a worker is partially funded by the worker. According to the WCA, a worker is not required to pay for their workers compensation benefits which when the CPP benefits are clawed back, the worker essentially is paying for their own benefits through premiums paid into CPP that are clawed back by WCB. Also is the fact that CPP benefits is a matrimonial savings account and not a slush fund to be used by WCB to reduce their obligations to pay compensation benefits. My hat off to the N.B Appeals Commission who had the intellectual capacity to fight WCB over this matter. Notice also is the fact that the employer and WCB ganged up on the worker indicating that the WCB serves only one master and that is the employer. Of course, WCB is an employer and as well the provincial government who are supposed to be overseeing this horrendous, biased, unfair piece of shit that the government created to protect employers from litigation and criminal negligence causing injury or death of a worker without any thought of protecting the worker or his/her family from becoming a burden on family, friends and society.

 

Gerry Miller

Jun 222012
 

Click on the following link http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/workcover-changes-are-messy-ofarrell-20120622-20rg7.html

The NSW government has now agreed to exempt firefighters and paramedics and not just policeman which for any one with a reasonable amount of intelligence results in two classes of workers, those that are exempted from legislation and those who are not exempted. This is the same situation that exists in Alberta and as well across Canada where firefighters and now all first responders are given presumptive status and other workers are not given presumptive status which in my humble opinion results in a class discrimination. According to human rights legislation and as well, the charter, when people are treated differently, this results in discrimination which is illegal. All people are supposed to be treated equally under the law and before the law.

There is absolutely no reason why the NSW workers compensation would have a 4 billion dollars debt, other than through gross mismanagement. Many workers compensation systems are in debt because of poor investment practices. Studies across America have concluded that work reported injuries are drastically down due to workers not reporting accidents for fear of losing their jobs, yet costs to administer the system have skyrocketed with many workers compensation systems blaming medical costs rather than admitting they lost money through poor investment practices. The same thing that is happening in NSW has been happening across America where workers are having their benefits reduced or eliminated due to worker compensation systems debt load and unfunded liabilities. Many people are of the opinion that the debts incurred by WCB systems should be shifted to the governments who are directly responsible for the mess they have created and is something I agree with. Notably, the WSIB are over 14 billion dollars in debt and are contemplating reducing or eliminating benefits which results in shifting the costs to government sponsored programs such as CPP disability programs and provincial social services programs. Over a hundred years ago, the historic agreement between workers and employers was to prevent workers from becoming a charge on family, friends and society and a hundred years later workers are a charge on family, friends and society. That being the case, what is the point of having workers compensation systems? Why have a system that has now become a two tiered system where you have two classes of workers, firefighters, first responders who have dual taxpayer and employer full earning loss benefits as compared to other workers who have no earning loss benefits even though they are supposed to be guaranteed earning loss benefits from worker compensation systems.

Gerry Miller