An interesting e-mail crossed my desk from a worker that shows how convoluted the system is. According to the worker pain and suffering does not come under the WCA and stated that WCB Legal Services admitted during Judicial Revue that pain and suffering does not fall under the WCA. This is not true and WCB Legal Services should not be suggesting that pain and suffering are not covered under the WCA. When assessing impairment and using impairment ratings does factor in pain and suffering when assessing impairments. Providing compensation for an impairment is subject to the discretion of the WCB BoD under Section 69 of the WCA.
Prior to Jan 1, 1965 all workers received a lifetime pension for an impairment by multiplying an impairment rating by net earnings which factors in pain and suffering. After Jan 1, 1995, workers received a lump sum payment when assessed an impairment by multiplying an impairment rating by MIE. Curiously and thinking that all people are stupid, prior to the stroke of midnight an impairment rating was defined and used to determine an economic loss and after the stroke of midnight an impairment rating become a non economic loss. How can a word have two interpretations. Obviously, there is no correlation between an impairment and a disability and impairments are supposed to be used as a starting point or precursor in determining a disability so why then would WCB use impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability This sounds more like a fairy tale (Cinderella) when mice turned into horses and at the stroke of midnight the horses turned into mice. Policy 03-01 Application 7 also includes chronic pain ( non discernible chronic pain) in assessing compensation but only provides medical aid but no loss of earnings, vocational rehab. or a PCI rating. Policy 03-01 Application 7 also provides compensation for non discernible chronic pain syndrome but does not assess any PCI rating for chronic pain syndrome. The SCC Martin/Laseur) also determined that chronic pain be recognized and compensation be paid although WCB has not and is not in compliance with the SCC decision and continue to not provide an impairment rating for chronic pain in itself without any objective findings which is illegal and contrary to the decision of the SCC. At one time pain was believed to be subjective and associated with malingering but over the last ten years with improved brain imaging a patient complaining of pain without objective findings could have brain imaging to determine if pain was evident. Of course even if brain imaging did indicate pain response many patients continue to have pain even after an injury heals. An example would be phantom pain in the case of an amputated limb. Of course the Government in Alberta turns a blind eye to everything WCB does or does not do as no one wants to disturb or annoy the sacred cow that was created by Government without any checks and balances.