Jan 102018

By Gerald

Click on the following link: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/policy/Interim_Relief.pdf

Contrary to what WCB suggests as a new policy, interim relief has been directed by the Courts (Patrus) and the Appeals Commission. WCB through legislation also has discretion to provide interim relief while a medical investigation is being conducted. Section 38 (4) of the WCA and have never done so. To leave interim relief up to a Case Manager who is not an expert on law, policies or medicine would be a disaster. What would a Case Manager know about whether a claim had a reasonable chance of success?

What would be the point of going through the appeals process, not be provided interim relief and then having the Appeals Commission or the Courts overturn the decision of the Case Manager which could take at least three or more years and in the meantime during the appeals process a worker is left destitute. In my humble opinion, interim relief has to be made mandatory beginning from the time a claim is filed to the time  worker has went through the appeals process. It is far better to error on the side of a worker than it is to deny interim relief and then have the decision of the Case Manager overturned by the Appeals Commission or the Courts.

Jan 092018

By Gerald

Click on the following link: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/01/08/1284967/0/en/WSIB-is-using-the-minimum-wage-to-cut-injured-worker-benefits-Government-must-step-in-to-prevent-disaster.html

Questionable is whether Bill 30 will address this. At present it is the Government who enacted the WCA (Section 63 of the WCA) that allowed WCB to provide an imaginary job with imaginary earnings. The blame cannot be placed on the WCB as they are simply doing what the Government has allowed them to do. Any one who is familiar with the WCA will find that workers are blaming the wrong people as WCB simply follows the WCA based on their interpretation of the “Act” which in many cases is the incorrect interpretation of the “Act” . Even when WCB or the Appeals Commission know that the interpretation of the “Act” is incorrect, they will continue to use their interpretation until the Court on a question of law, makes a correction. For example: WCB knows that the burden of proof is on the “Board” yet force workers to prove their claim. WCB knows that chronic pain is not provided a PCI rating but do not provide a PCI rating for chronic pain in itself. WCB knows that an impairment rating does not equate to a disability rating, yet they continue to use impairment ratings as a direct method of rating an earning loss. unless a worker has the ability and knowledge to represent themselves in court or has the financial ability to hire an experienced lawyer to represent them, WCB and the Appeals Commission will continue to contravene the law.

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 042018

By Gerald

It is my understanding that the Fair Practices Office will assist workers every step of the way which would include expert representation throughout the appeals process and as well as legal representation in the event of Judicial Appeals and if not, there is little point of having a Fair Practices Office. Question is, what then will happen to the Office of the Appeals Advisor which has never represented workers as an independent body because in reality, they were a part of WCB under WCB Legal Services. In my opinion, the Office of the Appeals Advisor would have to be abolished which is a good thing and would be cost effective, thereby saving employers a significant amount of money.

There is little point in proceeding with any changes until the Government can determine as to who has the burden of proof. Based on the historic agreement, workers and employers have no burden of proof at all in an Inquiry based system but it is evident that some how in the past, the burden of proof was illegally shifted from the “Board” to the worker. Some one in Government has to ensure that the historic agreement is complied with as at this time the system is at present based on civil law (Adversarial system) rather than administrative law that is specific to workers compensation systems.

Rather than claims resulting in an adversarial system which exists now, predictably if the burden of proof both for and against is not dealt with, the courts will be used as a battle ground for WCB/Appeals Commission legal counsel who have customarily represented employers and the Fair Practices legal counsel as it winds it’s way from the Court of Queens Bench, Alberta Appeals Court  and the Supreme Court of Canada at no cost to a worker which is a good thing for workers who in the past had to pay lawyers to represent them. Claims could drag on for years although if workers are provided interim relief as proposed, no one really cares how long it takes to reach a conclusion.

In conclusion, anything worth doing has to be done right rather than to make changes without any thought as to how the changes will work out to benefit both workers and employers.

Dec 192017

By Gerald

Click on the following links; https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/12/15/wsib-to-abolish-policy-that-slashed-benefits-for-thousands.html

Little doubt that this is going to cost the Ontario WSIB billions of dollars to rehear long standing claims and then provide compensation to the thousands of workers whose claims and benefits were illegally denied. The ripple effect of this also will affect workers in Alberta and as well as other provincial governments whose claims and benefits were denied based on pre-existing conditions. Of note is that the issue is specific to the NEL (non economic loss) in Ontario and a NELP (non economic loss payment) in Alberta which is a separate discretionary award based on impairment ratings.

While the problem and subsequent blame involving apportionment is being blamed on Dr. Chris Brigham who is a friend of mine (Dr. Brigham was the Senior Editing Chair of the AMA Guides 6th Edition) who was basically doing what the “Guides” direct. Apportionment is used when there is a pre-existing condition and a compensable condition when the pre-existing condition is subtracted from the compensable condition to reach a whole person impairment. Being that workers compensation is based on a medicolegal scenario, by law using the thin skull rule, workers should not have their impairments apportioned as opposed to in the field of medicine, there must be apportionment.

The former Conservative Government after the review by Doerkson and Friedman reports enacted Section 157 .1 of the WCA to hear long standing claims which due to lobbying by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce suggesting that the decisions made by the long standing Review Panels would not change appreciably which I beg to differ. If all long standing claims were reheard by competent Review Panel members such as I, over 90% of the claims and benefits that were denied would be overturned. According to the Alberta Chamber of Commerce, the cost to review long outstanding claims would be approximately 4 million dollars which I also disagree with. The cost would most likely result in hundreds of millions dollars or billions of dollars going to workers who have been cheated from receiving benefits by WCB and the Appeals Commission and the latest news from Ontario would certain support my estimate of the cost. Unfortunately in Alberta we have no lawyers, worker advocates who are experts in worker compensation law and medicine so we have to wait for lawyers in other provinces to establish precedence.Lawyers and worker advocates in Alberta take advantage of desperate workers who use much needed money for food, lodging and care of workers children and make these workers believe that they are experts in law and medicine, take their money and then leave the worker and their families destitute. The blame for all of this is the provincial governments who aid and abet criminal fraud against the most vulnerable people, workers who put their lives on the line every day of the year trying to earn an honest dollar. These are the real heroes in our society, not just first responders who get all of the limelight.


Dec 192017

By Gerald

This is an article that is a good indicator of why the system does not work as it was intended to work.  In an Inquiry-based system it is the “Board” who must gather the evidence, not workers, families of workers, relatives of workers, friends of workers etc. This is the sole domain of all workers compensation systems and they are given the exclusive powers by legislation. Questionably is why  these workers did not have their claims accepted from the beginning especially when based on a balance of probabilities, it was the work environment that contributed to their cancers which clearly is not rocket science.

Click on the following link; https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/12/17/wsib-reverses-majority-of-denied-ge-peterborough-cancer-claims.html

Dec 032017

Click on the following link: https://www.workerscompensation.com/news_read.php?id=28024&type=18

Obviously the U.S. States that give the victim or their family the OH&S fine for injury or death are to be commended for electing people who are intelligent enough to give the levied fine to the victim or the victim’s family. In Alberta the Alberta Government are benefactors of work place accidents where the levied fine is placed in the General Revenue Fund rather than being given to the victim or the victim’s family who are forced into poverty be having to rely on WCB to provide benefits.

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.

Nov 242017

This week’s VUE Weekly features an article about our petition in the context of the WCB review. Thank you Ricardo Acuna for writing it. You can read it here:

Growing Pains: Workers’ Compensation Board review shows that there is still room for improvement

Also, be sure to check out the petition being tabled in the Legislature by MLA Chris Nielsen at his Facebook video page.

And listen to an interview with CIWAA’s Donna Oberik last week on CBC Radio

Oct 262017

By Gerry

Click on the following link; https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/7682409-dreschel-fighting-depression-and-stigma-at-city-hall/

Much of the problems associated with causation could be solved by bringing in legislation that would make it mandatory for all employers to carry private insurance along with workers compensation insurance to protect workers from having any loss of earnings due to a physical or mental injury. As noted in this article, Manulife were providing private insurance to the city workers. Carrying this further, all public servants have full protection for work and non work related injuries, paid for by workers and their families who themselves have no protection other than workers compensation insurance. The Alberta Workers Compensation Board have dual insurance paid for by employers and workers (Sun Life, I believe) so why is it that workers are also not fully protected. If all workers had full protection as have all first responders for example, they would not have to fight for benefits from WCB where causation is the sole and only prerequisite in having a claim accepted. Rather than workers having to fight over the cause of an accident as cause in the medical profession is in most cases unknown due to the fact that medicine is not an exact science, it would be the private insurance company who have deep pockets fighting WCB as to who was going to pay for benefits rather than the poor schmuck who does not have the financial ability or the knowledge to fight WCB.

The fact of the matter is that the workers compensation does not work and has not worked for decades as witnessed by various Royal Commissions that have always found that the system is and always has been against workers. Bringing in legislation to provide dual protection for workers would solve a lot of problems and would be cost effective as many large employers provide dual benefits already such as large companies like Telus, Rogers, Shaw, ATCO, Fortis Alberta to name a few. As a retired AGT and Telus employee, even when Telus began paying for workers compensation most of the employees filed claims through the private insurance company to avoid the hassle of a workers compensation claim.