Presumptive Status

These are the events that are going on in the U.S. with more workers
wanting presumptive status and in all likelihood should receive
presumptive status.

Moving forward to the CEO and President of Workers Compensation Central
is the response of Bob Wilson.

I have attended a number of webinars chaired by Mr. Wilson who is one of
the leading authorities on workers compensation in the U.S. The
enactment of legislation providing special status for any occupational
group opened up a Pandora’s box and has created a two tiered system both
in Canada and the U.S. Emergency dispatch operators in the U.S. should
have presumptive status, but then so should nurses, teachers, customer
service representatives, clerks in gas stations, clerks in convenience
stores, truck drivers, any one driving a vehicle, animal services or for
that matter any one who serves the public or is a resident in the world
we live in. In Canada, presumptive status was never required as in the
U.S. workers compensation adjudication is based on an adversarial system
which is a tort based system involving two litigants, a worker and an
employer who appear before a Judge. The worker has the burden of proof
and if a Judge believes that the evidence supports a claim, then the
burden of proof shifts to the employer.

In Canada, workers compensation adjudication is supposed to be based on
an Inquiry system where the burden of proof, both for and against is on
the “Board” and if the evidence remains in a neutral state, which in
most cases it does, the worker receives the benefit of doubt. The
adjudication of claims in Alberta has taken a sharp reversal of the
inquiry system and has gone to the adversarial system where the burden
of proof is placed on the worker and WCB has taken on the role of a
referee or Judge.

Presumptive status for workers in an inquiry system was never required
and all legislation should be rescinded and the “Board” having to prove
both for and against. A two tiered system is contrary to Section 15.1 of
the Charter as all individuals are to be treated equally which means if
one occupational group is provided special services, then all
individuals are entitled to the same special services. The
epidemiological evidence was flawed as there is no scientific validity
that first responders are any more likely to suffer PTSD, heart attacks,
cancers at a higher rate than any other occupational groups. The problem
with epidemiology or any other study, the correct comparative group must
be selected. Furthermore the Supreme court of Canada has determined that
workers compensation adjudication does not have to be based on
scientific evidence as that is too high a standard. Adjudication is and
should be based on probability and using common sense is what the SCC

Based on probability and common sense, if a first responder filed a
claim for PTSD, I would accept the claim. If a first responder filed a
claim for a heart attack, I would accept the claim. If an office worker
filed a claim for stress related heart attack, I would accept the claim
just as I would if a heavy manual worker had a heart attack performing
heavy manual work on a very cold or very hot day. Adjudicating claims is
pathetically simple if a person is to use common sense and logic
although the problem lies with the adjudicators, they do not possess
common sense and logic and the MLA’s that supported presumptive status
did so based on a knee jerk reaction to something that was never
required. Scientifically it is a proven fact that genetics is the cause
of PTSD and researchers have concluded that people susceptible to PTSD
should be screened prior to hiring them. The following link contains the
information attributing genetics to

Leave a Reply