Aug 112020
 

I wanted to take the time to provide you with more information on the one-time payment to persons with disabilities in hopes that you will share it with your networks so that all Canadians with disabilities who are eligible can receive this payment.

Our government understands that persons with disabilities have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is continuing to take steps to ensure that their needs are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On July 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a one-time $600 payment in recognition of the extraordinary expenses faced by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This payment of up to $600 will be automatically issued to persons with disabilities. Payments are expected to be issued beginning this Fall.

The payment information will be provided on the One-time payment to persons with disabilities web page once available: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/covid19-emergency-benefits/one-time-payment-persons-disabilities.html 

These individuals include those who:

1.    Have a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate provided by the Canada Revenue Agency; or

2.    Are beneficiaries as at July 1, 2020, of Canada Pension Plan Disability or Quebec Pension Plan Disability; and/or

3.    Are beneficiaries, as at July 1, 2020, of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada:

o   Disability Pension;

o   Disability Award;

o   Pain and Suffering Compensation;

o   Critical Injury Benefit;

o   Rehabilitation Services and Vocational Assistance Program;

o   Income Replacement Benefit; and/or

o   Canadian Forces Income Support.

Seniors with disabilities, who were eligible for the one-time seniors payment announced on May 12, 2020, and are also eligible for the one-time disability payment, will receive a total amount of $600 broken into 2 payments: 

·       If they received the $300 one-time seniors payment for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, they will receive an additional $300

·       If they received the $500 one-time seniors payment for both the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or the Allowance, they will receive an additional $100

Persons already receiving any of the above programs or benefits do not need to apply for the one time disability payment. They will receive the payment automatically. This one-time payment will be non-taxable and non-reportable, meaning that it is not necessary to report it on your income tax return and no tax will need to be paid on it.

The Government understands that many persons with disabilities who might qualify for the DTC have never applied for it, especially persons living in low-income who have not needed the DTC to reduce their income taxes. 

Persons with disabilities, who meet the eligibility criteria for the DTC and have yet to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency, can apply until September 25, 2020.  Persons with disabilities who have a certificate that expired in 2019, and have yet to re-apply to the CRA, should do so by September 25, 2020.

To note, a qualified medical practitioner must fill out part of the DTC application form. A medical doctor or nurse practitioner can fill out all sections of the form. Other health professionals can fill out certain parts of the form as follows:

·       Optometrists – vision;

·       Audiologists – hearing;

·       Occupational Therapists – walking, feeding, dressing and the cumulative effects for these activities;

·       Physiotherapists – walking;

·       Speech-language pathologists – speaking; and

·       Psychologists – performing the mental functions necessary for everyday life.

New DTC applicants should complete their application process right away so that they have a completed form submitted before September 25, 2020. 

The government continues to work tirelessly during the pandemic to process applications for disability programs in a timely manner. However, applications for disability programs require detailed review and analysis to confirm eligibility. While the number of DTC applications the CRA will receive by September 25, 2020 is unknown at this time, the CRA will aim to process the inventory of applications in an expeditious manner in order to continue to meet its expected turnaround times of 8 weeks, 95% of the time. 

Recipients of the payment are encouraged to make sure their address and banking information is up to date in order to receive prompt payment. Recipients who need help with changing their address, updating direct deposit, accessing My Account, or questions related to their DTC application, they can call CRA’s Individual Enquiries Line at 1-800-959-8281 (English) and 1-800-959-7383 (French) between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (local time) Monday to Friday.

More information on applying for the DTC can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/disability-tax-credit.html

CRA also offers Outreach services to organizations who support persons with disabilities.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/outreach-program.html

Please feel free to forward this information to your contacts in the disability community.

I look forward to continue working with all of you on behalf of Canadians with disabilities.

Yours sincerely,

Carla Qualtrough

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Apr 072020
 

To download and read the OFL letter to the government on Worker’s Compensation for COVID-19, click here.

To download and read the OFL proposal to the Ontario government regarding COVID-19 details, click here.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/04/06/province-urged-to-make-workers-compensation-automatic-for-essential-employees-diagnosed-with-covid-19.html

Province urged to make workers’ compensation automatic for essential employees diagnosed with COVID-19

By Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Work and Wealth Reporter

Worker advocates are urging the province to change worker compensation laws to make it easier for health-care and other essential workers infected with COVID-19 to access benefits, according to a new letter seen by the Star.

It comes as the provincial workers’ compensation board has received some 450 benefit claims from workers who believe they contracted the virus on the job over the past month, the Star has learned. The board has also received some 200 reports from employers of potential workplace exposures to COVID-19.

The letter, sent Friday to Premier Doug Ford and Ontario’s ministers of labour and health, outlines “vital” proposals needed to protect the province’s essential workers, including “thousands of vulnerable non-unionized workers performing essential services.”

“These workers are risking their health and for some, their lives, by carrying out their work responsibilities,” says the letter from Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates, and signed by 26 unions, legal clinics and injured-worker advocates.

“To do this, they must be confident that if they become sick from COVID-19 or must be isolated due to occupational exposure to this virus, they will have the full protection of the workers’ compensation system.”

Ontario workers are entitled to benefits and income replacement if their workplace played a significant role in their accident or illness. In most cases if a worker gets sick or hurt on the job, they must prove to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board that it was work-related to be eligible for benefits, including income replacement.

But in light of the pandemic, advocates are urging the government to legislate automatic entitlement to workers’ compensation for essential workers diagnosed with COVID-19.

The proposed changes would create a so-called non-rebuttable presumption that the virus was contracted on the job, the letter says. Current laws encode this presumption for a select list of diseases where there is a high degree of scientific certainty that the illness was caused by workplace exposure.

The letter calls for the new measure to cover health-care workers, first responders and other essential workers who come into contact with the public, such as those in child care, transit, retail and delivery.

“Cabinet could make these changes in a few days if it wished to do so,” the letter says.

In an emailed statement, Bradley Metlin, spokesperson for Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton, said government had “taken decisive action to support workers,” including job-protected leaves, beefing up inspections and doubling the number of phone agents at the ministry’s health and safety call centre.

“Minister McNaughton has been on the phone every day with labour leaders, businesses and, most importantly, workers. Their advice has been essential in our effort to keep workers safe during this difficult time,” the statement said.

“The premier has been clear that every option is on the table, and our government is prepared to take further action as required.”

As it stands, the WSIB is making decisions on COVID-19 claims on a case-by-case basis.

“We have great concerns with that policy,” said Janet Paterson, president of the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups.

“(Essential workers) should be able to feel confident that they are going to be taken care of.”

WSIB spokesperson Christine Arnott said the board has created a “dedicated team working through COVID-19-related claims as quickly as possible.

“We know this is a difficult time for people. We have moved quickly to deliver services remotely, including managing active claims, processing new claims and answering phones. We will do everything we can to help so people can focus on their loved ones and always on their health and safety,” she said.

Advocates are also calling for workers’ compensation coverage to extend to “independent operators” or self-employed workers — like those in the gig economy — who may not be covered.

Some gig employers, such as food-delivery service Foodora, do pay into the workers’ compensation system. But the letter sent Friday notes that “many workers who may put themselves at risk by contact with the public do not have workers’ compensation protection, either because they work in a non-covered sector of the economy or have been treated as independent operators.”

“Finally, we need to protect community volunteers who step up to help others and become ill or need to be isolated,” the letter adds. (Recently, the province enacted new emergency measures that allow hospitals to override collective agreements to draft in volunteer help).

Access to workers’ compensation benefits — which are funded by employer premiums — could provide an alternate support system to employment insurance and government-funded emergency benefits, which have been inundated with applications.

According to its policy document on COVID-19, the WSIB is making entitlement decisions based on factors like whether the nature of the work puts people at risk of contact with the virus, as well as whether workers have personal protective gear — a mounting concern given existing shortages.

Jessica Ponting, a community legal worker with the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario, said the board also needs to provide other assurances to injured workers amidst the pandemic.

Most at risk, she said, are those who were already off work because of a severe injury and may now be facing layoff.

“The board is basically presuming it’s a temporary layoff. That’s a problem because when people do start to get hired back, I think there’s a lot of discrimination against people with disabilities,” she said.

“The board needs to assume at least for now that it’s a permanent layoff,” she added.                                                                                                 

That would allow for a continuation of benefits for injured workers who may have enough work hours to qualify for employment insurance.

The WSIB recently announced a $1.9-billion relief package for businesses that will allow them to defer premium payments until August.

Paterson said she wants to see similar relief programs for injured workers — including an end to the practice known as deeming, which is when the board deems an injured worker capable of returning to work, identifies jobs they could theoretically do, and slashes their benefits accordingly.

“We realize businesses are very much getting impacted,” Paterson said.

“But injured workers are supposed to be the number one focus of the workers’ compensation system. And we feel like, where are we?”

Feb 282019
 

By Gerald

On Wednesday Feb.20, 2019 we attended a Judicial Review which resulted in the Court, WCB Legal Counsel, Appeals Legal Counsel  and I agreeing that the blame for using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability was the WCB BOD who are responsible for enacting policies specific to how compensation is paid. The Judicial Review was specific to how workers and employers were cheated or defrauded by WCB prior to Jan, 1 1995 based on the WCB BOD enacting policy that has resulted in worker suicide, family poverty, family breakups and homicidal thoughts of killing WCB employees when in fact WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission were simply complying with policy enacted by the WCB BOD. This case points out the fact that workers anger is misdirected by blaming WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission for making decisions based on what was believed to be total ignorance or incompetence or deliberate attempt to defraud workers and employers. While some people may wonder why I am concerned with employers, my involvement with workers compensation is and never was as a worker advocate. My concern has always been fairness and well reasoned decisions by adjudicators. The Judicial Review did conclude with the agreement by all parties including the court that by using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability besides defrauding workers resulted in defrauding employers who were paying workers life time pensions despite the fact that they had no loss of earnings, thereby increasing employers premiums determined by lay people (WCB BOD) who did not bother to read the first chapter, especially pages 4 to 18 of the AMA Guides which had they done this they would have most likely not enacted the policy equating an impairment to a disability.    

The adjudication of all claims are based on the WCA, WCB policy and WCB Regulations. The WCA and WCB Regulations are enacted by Government. WCB policies are enacted by the WCB BOD who are selected by the Alberta Government on the basis of having an equal number of the BOD representing workers, employers and the general public. The selection process is supposed to ensure that policies enacted by the WCB BOD are reviewed by the equal number of worker representative, employer representative and public representatives. How or why the WCB BOD enacted policy that used impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability whether this was done blatantly or maliciously or whether through ignorance or incompetence as the AMA Guides specifically states on page 13 per verbatim;  

Impairment percentages derived from the Guidescriteria should not be used as direct estimates ofdisability. Impairment percentages estimate the extent of the impairment on whole person functioningand account for basic activities of dailyliving, not including work. The complexity ofwork activities requires individual analyses.Impairment assessment is a necessary first stepfor determining disability.

It was determined by the Court that the WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission were forced by statute to comply with the BOD who through the enactment of policy by the WCB BOD that impairment ratings must be used as a direct method of rating a disability even though the AMA Guides directed that impairment ratings not be used as a direct method of rating a disabilityIn affect the WCB BOD were totally blamed by the Court, WCB Legal Counsel and the Appeals Legal Counsel for defrauding workers and employers out of millions of dollars of compensation and no one could do anything about it because Section 6 (a)(i) of the WCA states that;

The board of directors

                             (a)    shall

                                     (i)    determine the Board’s compensation policy, and according to the Court, WCB Legal Counsel and the Appeals Commissions Legal Counsel left them with no option but to use impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability even though it was illegal and determined by three different provincial courts in Alberta, Nova Scotia and the Yukon to be illegal and that they must follow the policy enactment of the WCB BOD even if using impairment ratings used as a direct method of rating a disability is inappropriate and contrary to the WCA.  

An example of criminal fraud and supported by the Calgary Commercial Crimes Unit was presented to the Court through the enactment of the WCB BOD  policy where a worker who was totally disabled would receive a partial disability pension by using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability rather than using pre-injury earnings as a reference to post injury earnings as they began doing on Jan 1, 1995 after the Court of Queens Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal determined that using impairment ratings in determining disability was not in compliance with the WCA. For example: If a worker had a 20% PCI rating, this rating would be used to determine a disability rather than using pre-injury to post injury earnings to determine a loss of earnings. An actual case (my client) was presented to the court involving a 1988 accident where the worker’s 90% of net resulted in pre-injury earnings of $14,000 a year and his post injury earnings was zero dollars resulting in a $14,000 net loss of earnings annually. Rather than pay a worker a $14,000 loss of earnings, WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission would through the BOD policy by using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability would multiply $14,000 net earnings times 20% which equals $2800.00 which is $11,200  less than what a worker is entitled to resulting in defrauding a worker, forcing the worker into poverty, family breakups, suicides and intentions of killing WCB employees when they were simply following WCB BOD policy. On the other hand the same worker earning pre-injury earnings of 90% of net of $14,000 a year with no loss of earnings when multiplied by 20% would receive $2800 a year for the rest of his/her life despite having no earning loss thereby defrauding employers. Worse yet, workers who did not receive an impairment rating (0%) and had a loss of earnings would receive nothing as multiplying any amount of money by 0% results in zero loss of earnings.  Questionably also is why would WCB pay life time pensions to workers who have difficulty in defecating, urinating, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, getting an erection, reaching a orgasm and still are capable of working. That does not make sense but apparently it makes sense to the WCB BOD and embraced by WCB, DRDRB and the Appeals Commission and that is precisely what impairment ratings are used to assess. Impairment ratings have got nothing to do with the ability to work and determining an earning loss. This is the shit system that the Government has forced onto workers and employers and administered by a bunch of highly paid goof balls. A good example of this shit show can be found by reading the first Appeals Commission decision that comes up when you input “permanent clinical impairment” is Decision 2003-873. The worker was provided with a 8.13% PCI rating which these pathetic morons used as a direct method of rating a PPD of 8.13% and were paying him a lifetime pension despite the fact that he had no earning loss as stated in para 13. Why would any one pay this worker a lifetime pension when he had no loss of earnings. This basically results in defrauding the employer by having to pay a lifetime pension to a worker who had no loss of earnings and in reality received a windfall gift from WCB at the expense of the employer. On the other hand this same worker who may have been an older uneducated heavy manual laborer who could not adapt to performing other work would receive the same 8.13% PPD derived form a PCI and determined to be totally disabled but would receive only 8.13% of 90% of net earnings. These are the highly paid morons, supported by the Government who decide what workers are entitled to and employers are paying out when there is no loss of earnings.

In legal terms, the WCB BOD are or were acting in bad faith as well as misfeasance in public office by using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability despite clearly written language in the AMA Guides specifying that impairment ratings cannot be used as a direct method of rating a disability. 

It is noted that the WCB BOD are not protected by legislation and are not entitled to making what may have been an honest mistake unlike WCB, the Appeals Commission and Medical Panels who are not culpable and cannot be sued. The WCB BOD can be sued as they have no protection under the WCA. Being that the WCB BOD are selected by the Government, it is apparent that the Government has to direct the WCB BOD to rescind their policy of using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability prior to Jan 1, 1995, grandfather all claims and pay workers what they were and are entitled to. As well, workers who did not have any earning losses but received life time pensions, WCB must be directed to reimburse employers for any increases in their premiums or change their experience ratings to reduce their premiums. 

Questionably is if the Government does nothing it would question their sincerity to make changes and correct the wrongs to workers and employers. By correcting what was and is an abuse of power, bad faith and misfeasance in public office by the WCB BOD prior to an election, it may result in more people voting NDP rather than Conservative as all of this fraud occurred under the regime of the Conservative Government who must have known of the massive fraud but did nothing. Having had more experience than any one else over the last 30 years with the adjudication of claims, I remain convinced that the best thing for workers and employers is to have the Government simply abolish the entire system rather than have workers gullible to  believe that the system was established to assist them and then find out that this was nothing but a lie. That is a fallacy as the system has a history of destroying lives and the only reason it exists is to protect the employer from litigation as witnessed by a recent decision of a court in the U.S. awarding 14 million dollars to a worker’s estate after being diagnosed with mesothelioma and dying and whose employer did not have workers compensation coverage who had opted out. Had the employer been covered under workers compensation, the employer would not have been sued and the estate of the worker would have wound up with peanuts.

The Government by forcing workers and employers into one of the most corrupt organization in the world created the darkest day in human history. I say this because it is true. Prior to June 1, 1996, Case Managers would advise workers to apply for CPP disability benefits to increase their ELS. Workers would apply for CPP disability benefits believing that the additional pension would help them pay for the necessaries of life. When their application for CPP benefits was accepted, worker’s entire CPP disability pensions were immediately seized and their ELS was reduced or eliminated. Other provinces because workers pay 50% of the premiums, could legally claw back only 50% of workers CPP disability unlike Alberta who clawed back 100% of the CPP disability pension depositing this money in the accident fund, thus resulting in workers subsidizing employers in this province by reducing the amount of premiums employers pay. Although, WCB stopped clawing back CPP disability pensions on June 1, 1996, workers whose injuries occurred prior to June 1, 1996 still continued to have 100% of their CPP disability pensions clawed back. Besides this, Case Managers would advise workers that in order to get work, they would have to lie about their health and ability to work. I have verified this with workers and employers who had the belief that if a worker signed a contract and swore that they had no health conditions this would be a valid legal contract. In reality it was nothing more than a piece of paper that meant nothing.

Interesting in the Judicial Review, the Judge commented on the Penny case questioning her ability to read and comprehend the decision. According to her version of the Penny case, the Alberta Court of Appeal did not uphold the decision of the Court of Queens Bench that using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability was not in compliance with the WCA. According to her, the Alberta Court of Appeal disagreed with the Alberta Court of Queens Bench and drew my attention to para. 14 of the Penny case and I advised her that when reviewing any document, you do not read one part of the document, you read all parts of a document. I asked her if in fact the Alberta Court of Appeals had not agreed with the Alberta Court of Queens Bench, then why did the Alberta Court of Appeals dismiss the appeal of the Alberta Appeals Commission. She refused to answer and sat their dumbfounded that I was questioning her ability to read and comprehend what she was reading. Overall, she was a very nice lady and did allow the case to proceed with very little of the usual court procedures.  

As usual even after the Judicial Review, I had and will proceed with a back up plan as I did expect to lose because of the WCA supporting an administrative system where policy is enacted by goof balls that cannot be questioned by adjudicators and the courts but can be remedied by Government intervention. Fortunately, I was retained by the worker at no cost and unlike other workers who retain lawyers or worker advocates who charge thousands of dollars for retainer fees as well as costs and disbursement the worker I represented is not being left with massive debt despite losing the Judicial Review. 

My back up plan is to file a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate whether the fraud was the fault of the WCB BOD or was the WCB BOD’s policy of using impairment ratings as a direct method of determining a loss of earnings a misunderstanding by adjudicators. On review of the WCA and WCB policy there is nothing in either one that directs that an earning loss is to be determined by multiplying 90% of net earnings by an impairment rating, thus possibly exonerating the WCB BOD. I am presently writing up the complaint to the Ombudsman and when completed I will send a copy of the complaint to every one and especially to those workers whose accidents occurred prior to Jan 1, 1995 who were defrauded by determining an earning loss by multiplying 90% of net earnings by an impairment rating. I believe that all workers should send in the copy of my complaint that I will send to every one as an attachment, edit it where necessary based on their own circumstances and simply sign their name to the document and send it in and wait for the Ombudsman to respond. This will also determine whether the Ombudsman is simply a yes person for the Government and refuse to upset the sacred cow or will actually recommend to the Government to reimburse employers and pay workers what they were entitled to.

Jan 232019
 

By Gerald

Unfortunately for workers in Alberta the WCA (Section 80(1) allows WCB to deny any payment for necessary medical treatment that has been determined to be a necessity by medical experts. The blame for this repressive attitude lies entirely with the Government who refuse to peruse the WCA to delete oppressive powers that have been provided by the Government leaving workers at the mercy of unqualified WCB Medical Consultants who do not have a clue what they are doing which is followed by case managers who do not have a clue what they are doing, DRDRB who don’t have a clue and the Appeals commission who also don’t have a clue what they re doing. Prompt and necessary medical care is required to eliminate or reduce the medical complications of a work injury to prevent workers from becoming totally disabled or god forbid dying because certain medical procedures were denied. The whole system is a total disaster and has been for decades with no improvement seen even after reviews by Doerkson, Friedman and the latest by Norrie, Carpenter et al who probably meant well but dd not have a clue how to improve the system. 

Our courts in Alberta would most likely refer to Section 80(1) of the WCA and comply with the WCA rather than uphold the principles of the right to appropriate medical care under the Charter based on security of the person. 

Dec 142018
 

By Gerald

For people who have been around long enough to see the many  investigative commissions appointed by the Government, no commission has found that it was a good system and there have been numerous  recommendations hoping to improve the system. The problem is that no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it will still be a pig.

Nov 022018
 

By Gerald

I have often wondered how the Alberta WCB could have the lowest premiums in Canada and one if not the highest rate of denied claims. As it turns out, the Alberta WCB and the Appeals Commission  are using the wrong legal standard which I found out while reviewing information that was provided to me by two disabled workers specific to their claims who had their claims denied despite the majority of claims in other provinces being accepted as opposed to Alberta where the claims are denied. The Alberta WCB and the Appeals Commission when adjudicating claims are using legal standards based on civil law rather than a lesser standard that is used in other provinces. In civil law, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and based on a balance of probabilities. For example all civil claims start off in a neutral state and if a case remains in a neutral state, the plaintiff loses. In the workers compensation system according to decisions found on Canlii, if a claim remains in a neutral state, the worker is supposed to have their claim or benefits accepted. The reason for the lesser legal standard specific to the civil standard and balance of probability, in workers compensation systems as opposed to the balance of probability that is used in civil law is that when a claim remains in a neutral state the the benefit of doubt when adjudicating a claim is supposed to go to the worker. A neutral state is when the evidence neither supports causation nor does the evidence show contrary. Medical opinions without medical based evidence is not considered evidence in the courts and considered to be hearsay but in the workers compensation system in Alberta for whatever reason a medical opinion that is not based on medical based evidence is used by lay people adjudicating claims to be used when evaluating the weight of evidence. In all workers compensation system, scientific evidence specific to causation is not a requirement and is based on common sense and logic which is a much lesser standard than civil law.

The Alberta WCB also misunderstand when determining causation that significant cause does not mean a greater or more noteworthy cause, it simply means more than a trivial cause as noted in the case cited as Athey v. Leonati (SCC) {1996}. In the SCC decision cited as British Columbia (Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal v. Frazer Health Authority 2016 the SCC determined that if the evidence is evenly weighted on any issue a Tribunal must resolve the issue in a manner that favors the worker. In other words the burden of proof is not the civil burden of balance of probabilities. Where the evidence leads to a draw, the finding must favor the worker. Question is when did the Alberta WCB go to a civil standard of adjudicating claims which is contrary to the Meredith Principles which imposed a standard that was totally different from the civil standard used in civil proceedings in courts. When did the burden of proof shift from the “Board” to the worker? If it cannot be proven that there was a causal relation then it must be proven by the “Board” that a non occupational incident caused the injury or disease. Material contribution also cannot be used in the workers compensation system as that is also the civil standard that is used in torts. This cannot be left in limbo but unfortunately the “Board” denies a claim based on no evidence to support a work related cause but cannot and never do determine what non occupational factor caused the injury or disease. Question is when filing a claim, why is the worker defined as the plaintiff. That being the case, who then is the defendant. Is the employer the defendant and if so why then are they not involved in the process. In actuality, the “Board” takes on the role of the employer and becomes the defendant, thereby representing the employer.

WCB Policy 02-01 Part 2 Application 7 that became effective by WCB April 1, 2014 is therefore illegal as this policy uses the civil legal standard which uses the “but for” test and “material contribution” test which has no place in a system that is supposed to be for the benefit of workers and not to protect the accident fund as is done in Alberta. This also questions why the Appeals Commission rely on the Alberta Rules of Court which is a civil standard when a worker requests the Appeals Commission subpoena doctors who disagree on everything and the Appeals Commission advise the worker that if a doctor is subpoenaed, workers must then pay for their attendance which exceeds over $700.00 an hour. How many workers can afford to pay for a doctor’s attendance to explain their opinions. Rather than to explain their opinions by being subpoenaed, decisions are made by lay persons with no medical qualifications to make any decision which they make on a documentary review substituting the doctors opinion for their own opinion or interpretation what the doctor is saying in the documentary files. The wrong legal standard in workers compensation can be proven by review of Policy 01-03 Part I Int. I which states that a worker is not required to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In the workers compensation system a worker does not have to provide any proof at all as under an inquiry system the burden of proof is entirely on the “Board”

If in fact, the correct legal standard had been applied, firefighters would not have had to pay Dr. Guidotti to perform an epidemiological study to determine that firefighters have more than twice the risk of getting cancer when compared to the general population. Workers who are not organized would not be able to fund a study which according to the courts does not require scientific proof  because cases can be adjudicated on common sense and logic with the benefit of the doubt always goes to the worker which is a lesser standard than used in civil law. The fact of the matter is that if epidemiological evidence was affordable for workers, most occupations would have more than double the risk when compared to the general population. Providing one occupational group with presumptive status for any medical condition is clearly discrimination as other occupational groups have a much higher risk of cancer, heart attacks or any other medical condition than fire fighters or first responders. Reliable studies have concluded that his is a proven fact.

At the time of the Meredith Principles, compensation was paid for a loss of earnings. Workers received no benefits for pain and suffering. Prior to Jan 1, 2018 WCB had discretion to provide workers with an award for pain and suffering. Since Jan 1, 2018 legislative changes to the WCA directs that WCB pay workers for pain and suffering.Pain and suffering is provided through impairment ratings that besides paying for a loss of earnings, employers must now pay for pain and suffering costing millions of dollars to pay for something that employers never agreed to pay.

The Appeals Commission do not know what constitutes a neutral state which occurs quite often because of the conflicting medical opinions. Conflicting medical opinions are then weighed by lay people who have no idea whose medical opinion is more compelling. Often times a general practitioner has more knowledge than a specialist and often times a lay person with an interest in a specific disease or injury has more knowledge than either of the two. The Appeals commission has this idea that the negative is presumed if there is a lack of positive evidence. In the workers compensation system, the negative cannot be presumed for lack of positive data. This is referred to as a neutral state and the benefit of doubt has to go to the worker. As long as a medical condition cause is unknown or idiopathic, the benefit of doubt has to go to the worker. This is a fundamental principle of all workers compensation systems but when the Government appoints Appeals commissioners based on their political affiliations rather on common sense, logic and an understanding of the principles behind the formation of workers compensation that began over one hundred years ago and all it takes is for the prevailing government to appoint intellectually challenged morons to adjudicate claims, the system rots from the inside out.

Being that decisions are being made based on the legal standards of civil procedure, this then is not an inquiry system, it is an adversarial system where workers become the plaintiffs and the defendant (employer) is not involved but is represented by the “Board”, supported by the DRDRB and the Appeals Commission who deny claims because a worker by law cannot investigate to gather evidence, cannot afford to fund epidemiological studies, cannot afford to subpoena witnesses and cannot opt out of a dysfunctional system and choose to file civil action against an employer. In the old Alberta WCA that was became law in 1908, workers had a choice to have their claims adjudicated by the “Board” or choose to file a civil action against the employer. That choice was rescinded and the only recourse for workers is to have a corrupt “Board” and incompetent and biased appeals commissioners who are hired by an employer (Alberta Government) to adjudicate their claims. The choice to file a civil suit is far more lucrative than having to fight with WCB as witnessed by a civil suit that has just been concluded against Monsanto https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/10/health/monsanto-johnson-trial-verdict/index.html

Workers were far better off prior to the Meredith Principles than they are today if workers have the burden of proof in what is obviously an adversarial system and not an inquiry system as workers have been led to believe. The adversarial system is a far better alternative than whatever system WCB and the Appeals commission use today as prior to Meredith, all workers had the right to sue, their case heard by a jury of their peers and all they had to do was to prove negligence on the part  of the employer which is far easier to prove than causation. Today workers claims are heard by lay people who are incompetent, have no idea what legal standard is supposed to be used in adjudicating claims and their decision cannot be overturned by the courts. Obviously there is confusion when Justice Bruce Miller determined that in the workers compensation system, the burden of proof is on the “Board” and directed the Appeals Commission to do their due diligence and contact the employer to gather the facts and the Appeals Reconsideration Panel refused to comply and came back with the same decision that led to the initial Judicial Review which I had won and was awarded costs and disbursements.  Justice Yamauchi on the subsequent Judicial Review disagreed with Justice Millar and determined that the worker had the burden of proof and we lost. Oddly enough when we lost we would have had to file an appeal with the Alberta Court of Appeals, yet when WCB and the appeals Commission lost, the case went back to the same body that had denied the claim. This obviously is against the Rules of Natural Justice when the same body is reviewing their own case.

I am appalled by some of the short comings of the system when workers request I review their files. I am considered to be a knowledgeable person when it involves workers compensation specifically in Alberta although most workers compensation systems have similar legislation, policies and regulations. There are some very knowledgeable Appeals Commissioners who make consistent and good decisions but unfortunately none of these Appeals Commissioners are in Alberta. Other jurisdictions also do not always make unanimous decisions as is evidenced by reviewing WCAT decisions or WSIAT decisions  unlike Alberta Appeals Commission decisions which are always unanimous, never any dissenting decisions.

Contrary to what is believed, the Alberta WCB is not a neutral body. The Alberta WCB is a member of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce, is an employer and pays premiums on behalf of their employees. The Alberta Government is not a neutral body, they are an employer and pay premiums to WCB for their employees.

Rather than ad hoc reviews that result in superficial changes that become effective in 2018, these superficial changes do nothing for workers who were defrauded from receiving appropriate compensation for their disabilities. To rectify this, all long standing claims must be re-adjudicated by competent, unbiased members of the general public based on the Meredith Principles and not on the rules of civil procedure. What is required rather than superficial changes that only benefit those workers who are injured in 2018 is a Judicial Inquiry or more so a public Inquiry as to whether we go back to the fundamental purpose of workers compensation as stated in the preamble of the Alberta WCA and the Meredith Principles or continue to treat workers with contempt and unfairness.

Last but not least the Manitoba Workers Compensation system adjudicates claims the way they were intended to be adjudicated. This was taken from the Manitoba Workers Compensation site and  it states;

V. Principles of Adjudication Inquiry Model

The WCB operates on an inquiry model, which means that the WCB must either prove or disprove a claim through investigation. It is not the responsibility of the worker to prove the claim, nor is it the responsibility of the employer to help prove or disprove a claim. There is no formal or legal burden of proof on any party but the WCB. The WCB is responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient information on which to base a decision. Workers, employers, and health-care providers are required to report to the WCB. The WCB then undertakes whatever additional inquiries are necessary to determine eligibility and compensation entitlement.   Click on the following link to verify; https://www.wcb.mb.ca/sites/default/files/2016%20backgrounder.pdf

If all workers compensation systems are supposed to be adjudicating claims based on the same legal standards, why then is it that in Alberta, the burden of proof is placed on the worker?  Perhaps Ms. Gray or Ms. Notley can answer that question and if not then this issue should be taken into the courts and let the courts determine who has the burden of proof in the workers compensation system. Perhaps this is a good class action suit based on misfeasance in public office.

Oct 302018
 

By Gerald

The NDP Government has made some superficial changes to the WCA and also occupational and labor standards in Alberta. Only a fool would actually think that these changes will be permanent as at election time the Conservative government will most likely take power and rescind many of the changes the NDP Government has made. It is evident that employers who are a very powerful lobby group do in fact control entirely what happens to workers, whether it be the NDP, Liberal or Conservative Government and is why workers are allowed to be treated with contempt and cruel and unusual punishment for accidents that they have very little control over. Click on the following link; https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=effb614e-f1a4-4afd-8993-95b318c9df9d&utm_source=lexology+daily+newsfeed&utm_medium=html+email+-+body+-+general+section&utm_campaign=lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=lexology+daily+newsfeed+2018-10-29&utm_term=

Sep 212018
 

By Gerald

I was invited by Dr. Chris Brigham who I have known for years to participate in this particular webinar which is the fourth webinar I have participated in by invitation from Dr. Brigham. This particular webinar was specifically to discuss the illegal use of impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability. This illegal method was used by all of the workers compensation systems in Canada until the courts in Alberta, Nova Scotia and the Yukon determined that using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating disability was not in compliance with the provincial workers compensation acts. Rather than addressing this, the workers compensation systems in Canada secretly went to a dual award system by providing a separate award for an impairment rating (NELP) and a separate award for an ELP to comply with the courts. However the provincial governments aided and abetted workers compensation systems to defraud workers whose disability ratings were determined based on the direct use of impairment ratings before going to a dual award system.

As noted in the webinar and agreed by the panelists, it is the governments who allowed this to happen. In Alberta, it was the Conservative Government who allowed this illegal practice and now the NDP Government are covering up for the Conservative Government and the Alberta WCB by not reopening these long standing claims where impairment ratings were used illegally as a direct method of rating disability. Obviously this constitutes criminal fraud and is why the Calgary Commercial Crimes Unit recommended criminal charges be laid against the Alberta WCB rather than having some one pursue civil action as recommended by the Senior Crown Prosecutor. It was the Senior Crown Prosecutor who refused to lay criminal charges most likely as directed by the Justice Minister.

This issue is going before the Alberta Court of Queens Bench via Judicial Review on Feb. 19 and 20, 2019 where Jason Bodnar (WCB Legal Counsel) and Dale Wispinski (Appeals Commission Legal Counsel) will attempt to convince a Judge that every one is wrong including Dr. Brigham, Bob Wilson, David Langham, Allan Pierce and Dr. Emily Spieler who also attended this webinar. Both legal counsel will attempt to convince a Judge that WCB was doing nothing wrong by using impairment ratings as a direct method of rating a disability. Most Judges do not have a clue that there is a difference between an impairment rating and a disability rating as was evidenced by a Lethbridge Judge on Judicial Review when this issue was brought before him by listening to WCB legal counsel who made a fool out of him.

This is a webinar that should be heard in its entirety.

In case you missed the webinar session, or in case you’d like to watch it again, here’s the link to the replay video:

Link : http://events.genndi.com/r/3/0/replay/169105139238449234/d506426a10/0/74197196
Room password : N/A

Webinar title : Impairing the Guides: The Legal Assault on the 6th Edition
Webinar description : The 6th Ed of the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment have been under assault in US courts; Can they withstand the scrutiny? What comes next?

Webinar hosted by : Robert Wilson, David Langham, Alan Pierce, Dr. Christopher Brigham

Date : Thursday, 20 September 2018
Time : 01:00 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada), GMT -4

Aug 182018
 

By Gerald

Edmonton Journal Article

Kerr leaves a legacy of broken homes, broken marriages, child and family poverty, suicides by workers who were cheated out of benefits they were entitled to. Most people have nothing but contempt for some one who like this who was at the head of an organization where it was determined that there was a culture of denial and successive governments, Conservatives and now the NDP have sat back and did nothing to fix a broken system that should be by all accounts be abolished.

We welcome your comments.