Text Size  Decrease text size Reset the text size back to default Increase text size Text Sizer Help
Print

News

 

Community Advisory Council

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day, designated as a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ culture and heritage. Beyond this designated day, WCAT recognizes that, as a part of the justice system and the public service in British Columbia, we have a responsibility to be a part the reconciliation process called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In particular, Calls to Action 27 and 57 ask participants of the justice system and public servants to engage in cultural competency and intercultural skills-based training, including an education on the history of Aboriginal peoples, the history and legacy of the residential schools, and indigenous law.

In order to meet the above noted Calls to Action, WCAT has formed a Community Advisory Council made up of members of the legal community who, through personal and professional experience, are knowledgeable of the circumstances and needs of the indigenous communities throughout BC.

This Community Advisory Council will assist WCAT in reviewing its practices and procedures, with a view to identifying potential institutional impediments to indigenous parties to an appeal. The Community Advisory Council will also assist us in identifying opportunities to develop skills and competencies for our staff and members. WCAT will work with the Council to find adaptations and solutions which will enable us to meet the needs of indigenous communities, with a view to fulfilling our role in contributing to reconciliation and building relationships with indigenous communities.

Minutes of our Community Advisory Council meetings will be posted on our website, as well as yearly progress reports.

Further information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can be accessed at http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890.

(Posted 2018/06/21)
WorkSafeBC is moving claim file disclosure online

Starting on October 2, 2017 WorkSafeBC will no longer send claim file disclosure on CDs to workers and employers participating in WCAT appeals. Instead, WorkSafeBC will make a digital disclosure package available for download through the WorkSafeBC secure web portal. WorkSafeBC will send an email to parties telling them when the digital disclosure package is available for download. It will be your responsibility to log in to your WorkSafeBC online account and download the disclosure package. If you haven't set up a WorkSafeBC online account, you can do so on the WorkSafeBC website at https://www.worksafebc.com/en/claims/manage-claim/view-claim-information.

Other evidence, such as photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings will be on DVD and sent to you from WorkSafeBC by Canada Post. You will receive this delivery within two weeks after receiving the email from WorkSafeBC telling you the digital disclosure package is available for download.

You can get more information about digital disclosure by visiting WorkSafeBC's website. WorkSafeBC will still send disclosure on paper to workers who do not have access to email or the ability to download the digital package.

WCAT's notice of appeal and notice of participation forms now include space for your email address. We will give your email address to WorkSafeBC so that they can let you know when the digital disclosure package is ready. WCAT will not use your email for any other purpose. WCAT is working with WorkSafeBC to make sure appeal parties continue to receive timely and complete disclosure in WCAT appeals.

(Posted 2017/09/18)
2017 Amendment to WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP)

After a period of public consultation, item 6.6.7 of the WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) has been amended. The amendments are effective, March 30, 2017. The purpose of the revision is to clarify the role of Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) officers and Board legal officers in WCAT hearings, when the Board is invited to participate in an appeal pursuant to section 246(2)(i) of the MRPP.

You can find the Chair’s Decision No. 24 here. The amendments to the MRPP are attached to the Chair’s decision. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website, here.

(Posted 2017/03/30)
Power of WCAT to Reconsider for Patent Unreasonableness – The Supreme Court of Canada has issued its decision in British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal) v. Fraser Health Authority (2016 SCC 25). The court denied WCAT’s appeal, with the result that the decision of the BC Court of Appeal in Fraser Health Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (2014 BCCA 499), reversing the BC Supreme Court decision in Fraser Health Authority v Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal and Katrina Hammer (2013 BCSC 524), remains valid with respect to the issue of WCAT’s jurisdiction to reconsider its own decisions. The majority of the court allowed the workers’ appeal with respect to the sufficiency of evidence establishing causation in workers’ compensation claims. The court concluded that confirmatory expert evidence is not necessary to establish causation, and the Tribunal may rely on other evidence which, viewed reasonably, is capable of supporting a finding of causative significance. Information regarding reconsideration of WCAT decisions is available in the Post-Decision Information Guide. The BC Supreme Court decision refers to the WCAT decisions that were the subject of review, and those decisions may be found on WCAT’s website. (Posted 2016/06/24)
2016 Amendments to WCAT's Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP)

After a period of public consultation, the WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) has been amended. The amendments are effective April 26, 2016 The primary purpose of the revision is to reflect the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015, and consequential amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. Additionally, amendments have been made to clarify the requirements for authorization of representatives. These amendments are found in the following items: Glossary, 2.7.2 (Precedent Panels), 3.1.1 (Compensation Issues), 3.1.3 (Occupational Health and Safety Issues and Monetary Penalties), 3.4.1 (Constitutional Questions), 3.4.3 (Administrative Tribunals Act (ATA)), 3.4.4 (Regulations), 6.3.1 (Representative Authorizations), 7.3 (Facilitated Settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)), 8.4 (Suspension of an Appeal), 9.4.4 (Except Precedent Panel Decisions), and 16.1.1 (General).

You can find the Chair’s Decision No. 22 here. The amendments to the MRPP are attached to the Chair’s decision. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website, here.

(Posted 2016/04/28)
“Status of Appeal” page on this website – WCAT has transitioned to a new IT system. This tool can only pull information with respect to the Status of an Appeal from one system. This tool has now been switched to retrieve information from our new system. More information about this is provided on the Status of an Appeal page. (Posted 2016/04/25)
WCAT Decision Numbering – WCAT numbered our decisions using a four-digit year, separated by a hyphen followed by a five-digit number from 2003 to present (for example 2000-00001). WCAT is gradually changing the way we number our decisions due to our move to a new case management system. WCAT will number its decisions using "A" for appeal, followed by the last two-digits of the year "16" for 2016, followed by a five-digit number (for example A1500000). The "Search Our Decisions" page on this website has been revised to show both decision numbering formats. The Search Help tables explain the change. (Posted 2016/03/30)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy Withdrawal (policy item #66.00 RSCM II) – In WCAT-2015-02919, dated September 23, 2015, a WCAT panel referred the issue of the lawfulness of a part of policy item #66.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal chair under section 251(2) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act). Policy item #66.00 concerns the application of the general rule for determining long-term average earnings; in particular, the review of average earnings after payment of 10 cumulative weeks of benefits. The impugned portion of the policy provides that in the case of workers covered under the Government Employees Compensation Act who are maintained on full salary, no 10-week review of average earnings is carried out and no payment is made to the worker.

In WCAT-2016-00534, dated February 22, 2016, the panel determined that, as a result of amendment of policy item #66.00 made on November 25, 2015, the impugned part of the policy did not apply in the circumstances of the appeal; consequently, the panel withdrew the referral under section 251(2) of the Act. The panel's decision withdrawing the referral can be found here. The panel's original referral decision can be found here. (Posted 2016/03/01)
2016 Amendments to WCAT's Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) – The Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) proposes to revise our MRPP. The primary purpose of the revision is to reflect the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015, and consequential amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. Additionally, changes have been made to clarify the requirements for authorization of representatives. These revisions are found in the following items: 2.7.2 (Precedent Panels), 3.1.1 (Compensation Issues), 3.4.1 (Constitutional Questions), 6.3.1 (Representative Authorizations), and 7.3 (Alternative Dispute Resolution).

You may view the proposed revisions in the draft MRPP by clicking here. The proposed revisions have resulted in additions, deletions, and modifications which are identified as underlined for additions and struck through for deletions in the draft document on our website.

We invite your input on the proposed revisions. Please send your comments by Thursday, March 24, 2016 to the Senior Vice Chair and Tribunal Counsel, 150-4600 Jacombs Road, Richmond, BC, V6V 3B1, or fax to (604) 713-0443, or email to WCATGEN@wcat.bc.ca. If you have any questions about the consultation process, please contact Lily Chau at (604) 664-7817. (Posted 2016/03/01)
Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 – The Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 (Bill 18) received Royal Assent on May14, 2015. Sections 199 and 201 of that Act came into force at that time and were the subject of an earlier alert. The remaining sections were brought into force by regulation, effective December 17, 2015. Some of the changes do not affect WCAT at all, and some may affect WCAT only in limited circumstances. Some changes that may affect WCAT are summarized below.
  • Part 3 – Clustering. Part 3, which adds sections 10.1 to 10.6 to the ATA, empowers the Lieutenant Governor in Council to designate two or more tribunals as a cluster, and appoint an executive chair responsible for the cluster. WCAT has not been designated as part of a cluster at this time.

  • Section 44 of the ATA no longer applies to WCAT, and section 45 of the ATA applies instead. As a result, WCAT gains jurisdiction over constitutional questions, other than questions relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • Part 9 – Accountability and Judicial Review. Sections 59.1 and 59.2 are added to the ATA. Section 59.1 permits tribunals to conduct surveys in the course of or after providing services, for the purpose of evaluating and improving those services. Section 59.2 requires tribunals to submit information to the minister responsible for the tribunal respecting performance indicators, the nature and number of applications, details regarding time from filing to decision, results of surveys, and other information as prescribed by regulation.

Proposed amendments to WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure to reflect the legislative changes will be posted for comment in the near future.

Link to the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act (2015)

(Posted 2016/01/05)
WCAT will be introducing a new case management system for its staff in January 2016 – Update – Here are some of the changes we anticipate as we launch the new system and gradually retire the existing system:
  • Status of An Appeal – this screen on our website allows parties to see where in the appeal process their appeal is. As the website can pull information from only one system, appeals registered after January 1st in the new system (WCAT-CMS) will not show on the Status of an Appeal screen until we have phased out our existing system in the spring of 2016. WCAT will put an Alert on our website with respect to when it will stop pulling appeal information from our existing system and start pulling information from the new system. As well, currently this screen can be searched by parties using a claim number or appeal number. Once we transition to the new system this will be revised to search by claim number only. (This is because in the new system the appeal number will be the same as the decision number and thus will be published.)

  • There will be a short period of time at the beginning of January when WCAT will stop entering appeals in the existing system and hold them to enter in WCAT-CMS. This will result in a short delay in WCAT sending out letters acknowledging receipt of new appeals.

  • New Letter format – for all parties being copied on a letter there will be a "copy" watermark and the salutation will refer to the primary recipient of the letter.

  • Decisions – the format for the decisions sent to parties will be revised slightly so that the front page has the parties and their addresses (currently this information is split between the first and last page).

(Posted 2015/12/16)
WCAT will be introducing a new case management system for its staff in January 2016 – The new system will assist our staff in managing appeals and applications, document management, case tracking, and scheduling oral hearings. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation while we make the transition to this new system. Please watch our “Alerts” for future updates regarding this topic. (Posted 2015/12/02)
WCAT website search functions – The decision search and site search functions on the WCAT website have been updated as a result of revised technology standards as of October 22, 2015. (Posted 2015/10/22)
Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 – The Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 (Bill 18) received Royal Assent on May14, 2015. As a result, sections 199 and 201 of that Act are in force. Section 199 amends section 232 of the Workers Compensation Act to permit the termination of the appointment of the chair or a vice-chair of WCAT for cause. Section 201 amends section 250(3) of the Workers Compensation Act to permit a precedent panel appointed under section 238(6) to overrule a prior decision of a precedent panel appointed under that section.

Other sections of the Administrative Tribunals Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 will come into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Proposed amendments to WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure to reflect the legislative changes will be posted for comment when the remaining provisions affecting WCAT are brought into force.

(Posted 2015/05/20)
MRPP Amended – After a period of public consultation, WCAT's Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) has been amended.

The amendments are effective May 8, 2015.

You can find the Chair’s decision (#21) here. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website here.

(Posted 2015/05/08)
2015 Revision of WCAT's Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) – WCAT has undertaken a revision of our MRPP. The purpose of this revision is twofold: to include more plain language and to make changes necessitated as a result of our experience to date.

You may view the proposed revisions in the draft MRPP by clicking Here. The proposed revisions have resulted in additions, deletions, and modifications which are identified as underlined for additions and struckthrough for deletions in the draft document on our website.

We invite your input on the proposed revisions. Please send your comments by Friday, April 17, 2015 to the Senior Vice Chair and Tribunal Counsel, 150-4600 Jacombs Road, Richmond, BC, V6V 3B1, or fax to (604) 713-0443. If you have any questions about the consultation process, please contact Lily Chau at (604) 713-0424. (Posted 2015/04/10)
Noteworthy Decisions – WCAT is reviewing the Noteworthy Decisions Index by subject area to ensure it is up to date, and revising where required. This is an ongoing process; to date the following sections have been fully reviewed and/or updated:
  • 1.3 (Whether an Injury Arose out of Employment) (section 5(1))
  • 1.4.1 (Extra Employment Activities)
  • 1.4.2 (Travelling Workers)
  • 1.7.2 (Mental Disorders)
  • 1.13 (Vocational Rehabilitation)
  • 1.14 (Deductions from Compensation)
  • 1.16.5 (Retirement Age)
  • 2.10 (Application for Compensation)

To view the current version of the Noteworthy Index .

(Posted 2015/04/10)
MRPP Amended – After a period of public consultation, WCAT's Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) has been amended in response to the judgment in Fraser Health Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2014 BCCA 499 on December 18, 2014. The B.C. Court of Appeal determined that WCAT does not have the power to reconsider a decision on the basis that the decision is patently unreasonable.

Most of the amendments affect post-decision matters commenced on or after December 18, 2014. Amendments to item #20.1.3 of the post decision provisions apply to post-decision matters arising after March 13, 2015.

You can find the Chair’s decision (#20) here. The amended provisions of the MRPP are attached to the Chair’s decision. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website here.

(Posted 2015/03/27)
Application for Reconsideration Form – The application form has been revised as a result of Fraser Health Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2014 BCCA 499. The revised form can be found here. (Posted 2015/03/25)
Power of WCAT to Reconsider for Patent Unreasonableness – The B.C. Court of Appeal issued its decision in Fraser Health Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2014 BCCA 499 on December 18, 2014. The majority of the Court determined, among other things, that WCAT does not have the power to reconsider a decision on the basis that the decision is patently unreasonable. WCAT is currently considering how this decision affects pending reconsideration applications before WCAT and will advise parties to those applications as information becomes available.

A summary of the court’s decision prepared by WCAT can be found here. (Posted 2015/02/16)
Post Decision Guide – The Post Decision Guide has been updated, and can be found here:http://www.wcat.bc.ca/research/wcat_publications/appeal_guides/pdf/post_decision_guide.pdf (Posted 2015/02/16)
Status of an Appeal – WCAT has updated the Status of an Appeal inquiry page to include the oral hearing time. (Posted 2015/01/14)
WCAT Vice Chair Opportunity – Closing date of Feb 20, 2015. Visit our careers page for details. (Posted 2015/01/12)
January 1, 2015 changes to policy in Chapter 10 RSCM II – The Board of Directors of the Workers' Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), has approved changes to the policies in Chapter 10 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II, and other consequential amendments. Policy items #72.00 through #84A.00 (previous Chapter 10), will be replaced with Items #C10-72.00 through #C10-84.00 (new Chapter 10).
(Posted 2015/01/08)
January 1, 2015 policy changes to the Permanent Disability Evaluation Schedule (PDES) in Appendix 4 of the RSCM II – The Board of Directors of the Workers' Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC, has approved changes to the policies in the PDES in Appendix 4 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II (RSCM II), and other consequential amendments. Parties and their representatives should review the following material to determine what may be applicable or of guidance in an appeal.
(Posted 2015/01/06)
Noteworthy Decisons – As a result of the B.C. Court of Appeal’s decision in Fraser Health Authority v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2014 BCCA 499, decisions in the Noteworthy Decisions Index that discuss WCAT's jurisdiction to reconsider a prior decision for jurisdictional error are no longer noteworthy for this point. However, these decisions remain noteworthy for the other points set out in the noteworthy summary. For a summary of the Fraser Health decision, . (Posted 2014/12/31)
Noteworthy Decisions – WCAT is reviewing the Noteworthy Decisions Index by subject area to ensure it is up to date, and revising where required. This is an ongoing process; to date the following sections have been fully reviewed and/or updated:
  • 1.7.2 (Mental Disorders)
  • 1.13 (Vocational Rehabilitation)
  • 1.14 (Deductions from Compensation)
  • 1.16.5 (Retirement Age)
  • 2.10 (Application for Compensation)
To view the current version of the Noteworthy Index (Posted 2014/11/14)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy Withdrawn (policy item #40.13 RSCM II) – In WCAT-2013-00551, dated February 27, 2013, a WCAT panel referred the issue of the lawfulness of policy item #40.13 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal chair under section 251(2) of the Workers Compensation Act. Policy item #40.13 addresses the calculation of permanent disability awards (pensions) that are based on a loss of earnings. In WCAT-2014-02307, dated July 31, 2014, the panel withdrew the referral. The panel determined that the impugned portion of the policy was not applicable to the circumstances of the appeal. The panel’s decision can be found here. The panel’s original referral decision can be found here. (Posted 2014/07/31)
Mental Disorder Appeals and Government Employees Compensation Act – On March 28, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision in Martin v. Alberta (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2014 SCC 25 (Martin) regarding a claim for chronic onset stress by a federal employee in Alberta. The court found that provincial boards and authorities are required under the Government Employees Compensation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. G-5 (GECA) to apply their own provincial laws and policies, provided they do not conflict with the GECA. If you are a federal employee or employer involved in an active appeal before WCAT in respect of a decision regarding a claim for a mental disorder not arising from a physical injury, the Martin decision may potentially affect the outcome of your appeal, and you may wish to address this in your submissions. (Posted 2014/04/09)
Appeal Expenses – WCAT generally orders reimbursement of appeal expenses in accordance with WorkSafeBC’s rate or fee schedules (if there is one applicable). There have been increases made to the WorkSafeBC BCMA fee schedule (click here) and the Psychologist Fee Schedule (click here). In due course the WCAT Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (including the Appendix) (MRPP) will be updated to reflect these increases. In the meantime parties should take into account these increases when asking for reimbursement of appeal expenses. (Posted 2013/11/08)
Updated Alert - Section 251 Determination of the Board of Directors: Interest Policy Item #50.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual (RSCM) not patently unreasonable – In WCAT-2012-01017 and WCAT-2012-01018 the WCAT Chair determined that the requirement in policy item #50.00 for “a blatant Board error” to qualify for the payment of interest on retroactive compensation is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Workers Compensation Act (Act) and its regulations.(see Archived Alert posted April 19, 2012).

As required by section 251 of the Act, the WCAT chair forwarded this determination to the board of directors of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Board), for them to review the policy and decide whether WCAT may refuse to apply it.

On July 17, 2012 the board of directors issued their determination under section 251(6) of the Act. They determined that RSCM policy item #50.00 regarding the payment of interest is not patently unreasonable and that WCAT must apply it. WCAT is bound by that determination as a result of section 251(8) of the Act.

You can find a copy of the board of directors’ determination here.

WCAT is aware that a judicial review petition has now been filed in respect of the board of directors’ determination. In addition, the Board has issued a Discussion Paper dated August 7, 2012 titled “Interest on Compensation.” You can find the Discussion Paper on the Board’s website here.

WCAT has now reactivated the appeals that were suspended pending the board of directors’ determination on this section 251 referral. Parties to those appeals can expect to receive a letter shortly from WCAT advising them of the reactivation and the further processing of their appeal. (Originally posted 2012/07/18. Update posted 2012/08/09).

Update - The lawfulness of policy item #50.00 is no longer before the B. C. Supreme Court: Lockyer-Kash v. Workers’ Compensation Board, 2013 BCSC 467. That proceeding has come to an end without the court considering the lawfulness of the policy. The decision has been appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal. (Revised update April 24, 2013.) The appeal has been dismissed by the B.C. Court of Appeal: Lockyer-Kash v. Workers’ Compensation Board, 2013 BCCA 459 (Revised update October 23, 2013.)

(Posted 2013/10/23)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – In WCAT-2013-00551, dated February 27, 2013, the panel has referred the issue of the lawfulness of policy item #40.13 which incorporates the formula from policy item #51.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II (RSCM II) to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) chair under section 251(2) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

The vice chair found that the part of policy item #40.13 of the RSCM II that incorporates the formula from policy item #51.00 when calculating a worker’s loss of earnings under section 23(3) of the Act is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. Policy item #40.13 as it applies to the calculation of a worker’s loss of earnings pension results in the unnecessary creation of two disparate classes of workers and a move away from determining the actual or real loss suffered by the worker. This defeats the intention in subsection 23(3) of the Act and policy item #40.13 to determine the actual or real loss of earnings suffered by a worker, and is therefore so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations.

Section 251 of the Act states that WCAT may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the Board’s board of directors only if the policy is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. If a WCAT panel considers that an applicable policy should not be applied on this basis, that issue must be referred to the WCAT chair and the appeal must be suspended until the WCAT chair or the Board’s board of directors, as the case may be, decides whether the policy should be applied.

  • Full text of the decision to refer the policy to the chair (click here)
(Posted 2013/02/28)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – In WCAT-2012-02540, dated September 28, 2012, the panel referred the issue of the lawfulness of Assessment Manual policy AP1-37-3(2.1)(Classification – Changes) under section 37(2)(f) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act) to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) chair under section 251(2) of the Act. In response, the board of directors of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WorkSafeBC) has amended policy AP1-37-3(2.1). The section 251 referral to the chair has been withdrawn by the panel. The WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors’ letter to the WCAT Chair, and the Board of Directors' Resolution with the amended policy can be found here. (Posted 2012/11/09)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – In WCAT-2012-02540, dated September 28, 2012, the panel has referred the issue of the lawfulness of Assessment Manual policy AP1-37-3(2.1) (Classification – Changes) under section 37(2)(f) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act) to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) chair under section 251(2) of the Act.

This policy permits the Workers’ Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), to withdraw an employer from a classification unit and transfer it to another classification unit. The policy item provides that the effective date of such a change “…is January 1st of the year following the date on which the Board identified the [employer’s] classification for evaluation…”. The panel found that the Act requires the Board to implement classification changes in a fair and expedient manner. The panel concluded that policy item AP1-37-3(2.1) is patently unreasonable to the extent that it requires that the Board delay implementation of an employer’s “rate down” classification change until January 1 of the following year.

Section 251 of the Act states that WCAT may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the Board’s board of directors only if the policy is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. If a WCAT panel considers that an applicable policy should not be applied on this basis, that issue must be referred to the WCAT chair and the appeal must be suspended until the WCAT chair or the Board’s board of directors, as the case may be, decides whether the policy should be applied.

  • Full text of the decision to refer the policy to the chair (click here)
(Posted 2012/10/01)
Appeal Expenses – If a party wants WCAT to order WorkSafeBC (the Board) to reimburse them for any appeal expense(s) they need to make this request to WCAT in their written and/or oral submissions. They should indicate the type and amount of appeal expense(s) they are seeking, and provide a copy of the bill or invoice for that expense. WCAT generally orders reimbursement in accordance with the Board’s rate or fee schedule (if there is one). If the party wants an amount greater than the Board rate or fee schedule they need to explain to WCAT why they should be reimbursed for a greater amount. For more information about the type of expenses WCAT can order the Board to reimburse and the amount that WCAT will generally order the Board to reimburse look under the Appeal Expenses tab on our website (click here). We have recently updated this webpage to include Board rate or fee schedules for reports/records from physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopathic physicians, and dentists. (Posted 2012/08/23)
Amendments to policy item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II (RSCM II)(loss of earnings) – On July 17, 2012, the Board of Directors of the Workers’ Compensation Board adopted a resolution amending policy item #40.00 in the RSCM II. This policy addresses eligibility for an assessment for a permanent disability award based on loss of earnings. The amendments were in response to the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Jozipovic v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2012 BCCA 174. The new policy is effective April 26, 2012, the date of the Jozipovic decision, and applies to all decisions, including appellate decisions. You can find WCAT’s summary of the Jozipovic decision here.

You can find the Board of Directors Resolution, which attaches the new policy, here. (Posted 2012/07/26)
Caroline Berkey was appointed the new Chair of WCAT – effective June 30, 2012. You can find Ms. Berkey’s biographical information here (Posted 2012/06/29)
The Board of Directors of WorkSafeBC has responded to the WCAT Chair’s May 9, 2012 letter – with respect to policy item #40.00 in the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual (section 23(3) loss of earnings assessments). To see the Chair's letter click here, the response of the Board of Directors click here, and WorkSafeBC's discussion paper and proposed policy for consultation click here. (Posted 2012/06/08)
Family Law Act – S.B.C. 25 (Bill 16) – Sections 472 - 478 of the Family Law Act amend sections 1, 17, 35(4), and 98 of the Workers Compensation Act with respect to the definition of “member of family”, “surviving spouse” and “spouse”. The Family Law Act also addresses the diversion of workers’ compensation benefits for the benefit of the worker’s spouse or children in certain circumstances. Sections 473, 475 and 478 of the Family Law Act came into force March 1, 2012 (Regulation No. 28/2012). Sections 472, 474, 476 & 477 came into force on November 24, 2011 by royal assent. (Posted 2012/06/05)
Mental Disorder/Apprentice or Learner Average Earnings – Effective July 1, 2012 the mental stress provision (section 5.1 of the Workers Compensation Act “Act”) and apprentice or learner average earnings provision (section 33.2 of the Act) are amended by Bill 14, Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2011, S.B.C. 23. Bill 14 received third reading on May 30, 2012 and Royal Assent on May 31, 2012. (Posted 2012/06/05)
The WCAT Chair has sent a letter to the Board of Directors of WorkSafeBC – in regard to the Court of Appeal’s decision regarding policy item #40.00 in the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual. You can find a link to the Chair’s May 9, 2012 letter here (Posted 2012/05/11)
Policy Item #40.00 Partially Invalid (Loss of Earnings Assessments) – On April 26, 2012 the British Columbia Court of Appeal found that certain aspects of policy item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II were inconsistent with the Workers Compensation Act. Item #40.00 sets out criteria for determining whether a worker is eligible for a loss of earnings permanent disability award under section 23(3) of the Act. The aspects of the policy declared invalid by the Court were those that prevented adjudicators from considering the appropriateness of the amount of compensation payable under section 23(1) of the Act in cases where the worker is able to return to his or her previous occupation with a diminished capacity or is able to seek employment in an “occupation of a similar type or nature”. You can find the Court of Appeal’s judgment here, and a summary of the judgment here.

WCAT is currently considering how this decision affects pending appeals before WCAT and will advise parties to these appeals as information becomes available. At this time, oral hearings will proceed as scheduled and parties will be given an opportunity to make submissions on this issue. (Posted 2012/04/27)
Forms – The following forms have been updated: Notice of Appeal from Review Division - Compensation Decision, Notice of Appeal from WorkSafeBC - Application to Reopen a Matter Decision, Extension of Time to Appeal Application from a Review Division Decision, Extension of Time to Appeal Application from a WorkSafeBC Decision and Application for a Section 257 Determination. Click here to get the newest versions of these forms. (Posted 2012/03/14)
Section 251 Determination of the Board of Directors: Portions of Assessment Manual Policy Items AP1-37-1 and AP1-37-3 Unlawful – In WCAT-2011-02362 the WCAT chair determined that portions of policy items AP1-37-1 (The Classification System) and AP1-37-3 (Classification – Changes) of the Assessment Manual were so patently unreasonable that they could not be supported by the Workers Compensation Act (Act). As required by section 251 of the Act, the WCAT chair forwarded this determination to the board of directors of the Workers’ Compensation Board, for them to review the policies and decide whether WCAT may refuse to apply them.

On November 18, 2011 the board of directors issued their determination under section 251(6) of the Act. They concluded that WCAT may refuse to apply the portions of these policies which provided for an annual classification cycle whereby each employer was assigned a classification unit for assessment purposes on an annual basis.

The board of directors’ resolution 2011/11/08-01 (Re: Section 251 Referral – Annual Classification Cycle) amended the affected portions of Assessment Manual policy items AP1-37-1, AP1-37-3, and AP1-96-1. The amended policies apply to all decisions, including WCAT decisions, made on or after November 8, 2011.

You can read the board of directors’ determination here and resolution with Assessment Manual revisions here.

WCAT has now reactivated the appeals that were suspended pending the board of directors’ determination on this section 251 referral. Parties to those appeals can expect to receive a letter shortly from WCAT advising them of the reactivation and the further processing of their appeal.

(Posted 2011/11/22)
Appeal Expenses: Noteworthy Decision WCAT-2011-01673A – provides guidance regarding the reimbursement of medical legal opinions. In particular, parties should have reference to the WCAT Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure and the WCAT website, which contains information regarding reimbursement of appeal expenses, the Workers’ Compensation Board’s fee schedules, and factors which may be considered in determining whether to order reimbursement for such appeal expenses beyond the fee schedule. You can view the Noteworthy Decision WCAT-2011-01673A here (Posted 2011/11/14)
The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) has received two appeals initiated by workers which raise the issue of whether item #50.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volumes I and II is unlawful. – Specifically, each appeal raises the issue of whether item #50.00 is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Workers Compensation Act (Act) and its regulations (the item #50.00 issue). It appears that each of the appellants seeks a determination by the chair of WCAT that item #50.00 is so patently unreasonable that it cannot be supported by the Act and a referral of item #50.00 to the board of directors of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) under section 251 of the Act.

Pursuant to section 37 of the Administrative Tribunals Act (Applications involving similar questions), the chair has decided to combine the hearing of the item #50.00 issue that is the common part of the two appeals. The Employers’ Advisers Office is participating in one of the appeals as a deemed employer. Pursuant to section 246(2)(i) of the Act, the chair has invited the following representative groups to participate in the hearing of the lawfulness of item #50.00 issue:

  • B.C. Federation of Labour
  • Business Council of B.C.
  • Coalition of B.C. Businesses
  • Employers’ Forum to the WCB
  • Workers’ Compensation Advocacy Group
  • Workers’ Advisers Office
With the exception of the Business Council of B.C. and the Coalition of B.C. Businesses, all of the representative groups will participate in the hearing.

WCAT will post an alert regarding the chair’s decision when it is available in 2012.

(Posted 2011/11/07)
Section 251 Determination of the Chair: Portions of Assessment Manual Policy Items AP1-37-1 and AP1-37-3 Unlawful – In WCAT-2011-02362 the WCAT chair determined that portions of policy items AP1-37-1 (The Classification System) and AP1-37-3 (Classifications – Changes) are so patently unreasonable that they cannot be supported by the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

These two policies, which came into effect on October 1, 2009, establish the Workers’ Compensation Board’s (Board) annual classification and reclassification authority. The chair found there was no basis upon which to rationally conclude that the Board is authorized to limit classification decisions to one year and annually reclassify employers in order to correct Board errors. The policies provide that the Board may assign an employer to a classification unit (CU) on an annual basis in cases where the factual circumstances of the employer relevant for classification purposes have not changed since the previous classification decision. However, in such circumstances, the Board is squarely caught by the reconsideration prohibition in section 96(5)(a) of the Act because it is making a “new decision” in “a matter previously decided”, more than 75 days after its previous decision.

The chair also determined that although the Board has no authority to vary or cancel a decision to assign an employer to a particular CU after 75 days have passed, it has the authority under section 37(2)(f) to withdraw an employer from a CU and transfer it to another CU. The chair left the question of whether a further decision to withdraw an employer from the second CU and transfer it to a third CU is a reconsideration or a new decision because there was no need to decide that question in resolving the narrow question that was referred to the chair for a determination.

You can read the chair’s determination and a summary of the determination here. (Posted 2011/09/26)


Policy Item #50.00 (Interest): Johnson v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2011 BCCA 255 – On June 2, 2011, the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decision in Johnson v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2011 BCCA 255. This decision is the latest in a series of court decisions involving the Workers’ Compensation Board’s, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), interest policy (policy item #50 in the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volumes I and II). The Court of Appeal in Johnson found that because the petitioner had not challenged the lawfulness of the interest policy, and in particular, the requirement of a “blatant Board error” before the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT), he had failed to exhaust the internal remedies provided by section 251 of the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

The result of the Court of Appeal’s decision is that judicial review was not available to the petitioner, and the previous decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court, which found policy item #50.00 to be patently unreasonable, was set aside. (See Johnson v. Workers’ Compensation Board, 2009 BCSC 1931).

This means that policy item #50.00 is now again binding on the Board and on WCAT. Section 250(2) of the Act requires WCAT to apply policies of the board of directors in making decisions.

The Court of Appeal’s decision suggests that if a party wishes to raise a question of the lawfulness of a published policy of the board of directors of the Board, the party must make the arguments before WCAT so that the internal remedies provided by section 251 of the Act are exhausted before the lawfulness of the policy can be raised on judicial review. Item #10 of WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure describes the section 251 process and states that if a party believes a policy of the board of directors is patently unreasonable, the party should raise the issue during the appeal or reconsideration application, or the party may be found on judicial review to have failed to exhaust internal remedies. You can read item #10.00 of the MRPP here.

WCAT has been holding in abeyance appeals and applications for reconsideration of decisions involving policy item #50.00 pending the outcome of the court process. Given the Court of Appeal’s decision, we will now be reactivating those appeals and applications. If you are a party to an appeal involving policy item #50.00 that has been held in abeyance pending the decision of the courts, you can expect your appeal will now proceed and you may be invited to make further submissions.

You can find a summary of the Court of Appeal’s decision here. You can find the Court’s full judgment here.

(Posted 2011/06/16)
WCAT Chair’s Section 251 Referral on Policy Item #40.00 Withdrawn: – In WCAT-2011-00833, dated March 30, 2011, the chair determined that the inclusion of the phrase “an occupation of a similar type or nature” in the three so exceptional criteria and elsewhere in item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II is so patently unreasonable that it cannot be supported by the Workers Compensation Act (Act). WCAT gave WorkSafeBC notice of this determination on March 30, 2011.

The chair’s determination and referral to the board of directors under section 251 of the Act was in response to the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in Jozipovic v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), 2011 BCSC 329 (March 18, 2011). In Jozipovic, the Court did not make a general declaration that the impugned portions of policy item #40.00 were of no force and effect. Rather, Madam Justice Bruce said, “WCAT must have regard to the principles outlined in these reasons for judgment. However, whether my conclusions with respect to Policy #40.00 should have a more general application is an issue that should be left with WCAT and the board of directors pursuant to the section 251 review process.”

On April 1, 2011, WorkSafeBC appealed the Jozipovic decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

On April 4, 2011, WCAT suspended all affected appeals that were pending before WCAT under section 251(5)(b) of the Act and notified the board of directors of the suspended appeals.

Pending the decision of the Court of Appeal, the board of directors has now directed decision-makers at WorkSafeBC, including the Review Division, to adjudicate claims and conduct reviews as if the words “an occupation of a similar type or nature” were not a part of policy item #40.00. These are the words in the policy that the Court in the Jozipovic decision found were unreasonable because they were not rationally supported by the Act, and the words the WCAT chair referred to the board of directors in the section 251 referral.

The board of directors’ direction has removed the uncertainty related to the application of the impugned portions of the policy for those who are waiting for a section 23(3) (loss of earnings) decision from WorkSafeBC. Therefore, the WCAT chair has withdrawn the section 251 referral in the Jozipovic appeal as it can be decided without a section 251 determination from the board of directors. This is because the Court directed WCAT to rehear the appeal without applying the words in the policy the Court decided were unlawful.

You can see the Practice Directive issued by the WorkSafeBC board of directors here.

Practice Directives are not published policy and are not binding on WCAT, but do provide guidance with respect to how the Board interprets and applies law and policy requirements. Section 250(2) of the Act requires WCAT to apply policies of the board of directors in making its decisions. Accordingly, it is possible that a WCAT panel may refer the impugned portions of item #40.00 to the chair in the context of another appeal. If you are a party to a suspended appeal, you can expect to hear from us soon regarding the reactivation of your appeal and the process that will follow.

We have posted below the letters between WorkSafeBC and the WCAT chair that have led to the withdrawal of the section 251 referral in order to make the history of the matter available to the parties to the suspended appeals and the workers’ compensation community.

If you click here you will find the letters that were exchanged between WorkSafeBC and WCAT. (Posted 2011/06/01)
New Interim Practice Directive C6-2 (Permanent Disability Benefits – Section 23(3)) effective April 29, 2011 – The Workers' Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), has implemented a new Interim Practice Directive that provides guidance to Board officers in determining whether a worker's permanent disability award should be assessed under section 23(3) of the Workers Compensation Act. This new Practice Directive is interim, with further changes expected. Practice Directives are not published policy and are not binding on WCAT, but do provide guidance with respect to how the Board interprets and applies law and policy requirements.

  • Interim Practice Directive C6-2 (Permanent Disability Benefits – Section 23(3)) (click here)
(Posted 2011/04/27)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – In WCAT-2011-00996, dated April 20, 2011, the panel has referred the issue of lawfulness of Assessment Manual policies AP1-37-1 (The Classification System) and AP1-37-3 (Classification – Changes) to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) chair under section 251(2) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act). The specific aspects of the policies involved are the annual assignment of employers to classification units and the ability of the Workers’ Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), to therefore change an employer’s classification unit annually. The panel has found that this is inconsistent with reconsideration limit found in section 96(5) of the Act.

Section 251 of the Act states that WCAT may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the Board’s board of directors only if the policy is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. If a WCAT panel considers that an applicable policy should not be applied on this basis, that issue must be referred to the WCAT chair and the appeal must be suspended until the WCAT chair or the Board’s board of directors, as the case may be, decides whether the policy should be applied.

  • Full text of the decision to refer the policy to the chair (click here)
(Posted 2011/04/26)
Appeals Affected by Item #40.00 Section 251 Determination Suspended – As a result of the WCAT chair’s determination that portions of item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II are so patently unreasonable that they cannot be supported by the Workers Compensation Act and its Regulations, and pursuant to section 251(5)(b) of the Act, the WCAT chair has suspended all affected appeals that were pending before WCAT on April 4, 2011. The suspension lasts until the Workers’ Compensation Board (WorkSafeBC) board of directors determines whether WCAT may refuse to apply the policy. Notice of the chair’s determination was given to the board of directors of WorkSafeBC by letter dated April 4, 2011. WCAT has sent letters to parties in all suspended appeals advising of the suspension. The chair’s decision can be found here (Posted 2011/04/08)
Section 251 Determination of Chair: Portions of Item #40.00 RSCM II Unlawful – In accordance with the B.C. Supreme Court’s reasons in Jozipovic v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), 2011 BCSC 329, the WCAT chair has determined that the inclusion of the phrase “an occupation of a similar type or nature” in the three so exceptional criteria and elsewhere in item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II is so patently unreasonable that it cannot be supported by the Workers Compensation Act. Accordingly, the chair has referred the policy to the WorkSafeBC board of directors for review. Click here for the chair’s determination. (Posted 2011/03/30)
Judicial Review on Loss of Earnings Permanent Disability Award Policy – The B.C. Supreme Court has issued its decision in Jozipovic v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2011 BCSC 329 (March 18, 2011). The court found an aspect of WorkSafeBC’s policy on loss of earnings permanent disability awards (item #40.00 of the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual, Volume II) was unreasonable as it could not be rationally supported by the Workers Compensation Act. Click here for a summary of the court’s decision in Jozipovic, prepared by WCAT. (Posted 2011/03/21)
MRPP Amended – After a period of public consultation, The Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) has been amended in response to the judgment in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2011 BCCA 7 (January 10, 2011). The amendments affect applications for extensions of time to appeal received on or after January 10, 2011.

WCAT has also made housekeeping amendments to the MRPP to reflect the new Supreme Court Civil Rules, B.C. Reg. 168/2009, which came into effect on July 1, 2010. These housekeeping amendments are effective March 9, 2011.

You can find the Chair’s decision (#15) here. The amended provisions of the MRPP are attached to the Chair’s decision. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website here.

(Posted 2011/03/10)
Public Consultation regarding the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) – As noted in our previous alert, the B.C. Court of Appeal released its judgment in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2011 BCCA 7, on January 10, 2011. The Court allowed WCAT’s appeal, and that of the Workers’ Compensation Board, and overturned the B.C. Supreme Court’s decision in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2010 BCSC 644.

At issue was the Supreme Court’s conclusion that two WCAT decisions were incorrect in finding that section 243(3) of the Workers Compensation Act confers on WCAT a residual discretion to deny an extension of the time to appeal where the statutory special circumstances and injustice criteria have been met. The Court of Appeal determined that WCAT’s interpretation was in fact the most reasonable interpretation and is the same decision that the Court would reach.

Currently, WCAT has in place an interim MRPP provision regarding extensions of time, at item #8.2.

In response to the Court of Appeal’s decision, WCAT proposes to revise Item #8.2. The purpose of this revision is to make it clear that WCAT has residual discretion to consider criteria such as prejudice to the respondent when deciding an extension of time application.

We propose that the revised MRPP provisions regarding extensions of time apply to all extension of time applications received on or after January 10, 2011.

You may view the proposed revision here. Or if you prefer a printed copy, please contact Lily Chau at (604) 664-7817.

Before issuing a final version of the revised MRPP, we invite your input. Any comments should be directed, in writing, to Teresa White, Tribunal Counsel, no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 25, 2011. Our address is 150 – 4600 Jacombs Road, Richmond, B.C. V6V 3B1.

We look forward to receiving your comments. The final version of the revised MRPP will be published once consultation is complete.

(Posted 2011/02/07)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – A section 251 referral to the chair has been withdrawn in response to the board of directors’ amendments to the policy at issue. Section 251 of the Workers Compensation Act (Act) states that the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the board of directors only if the policy is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. If a WCAT panel considers that an applicable policy should not be applied on this basis, that issue must be referred to the chair and the appeal must be suspended until the chair or the board of directors, as the case may be, decides whether the policy should be applied. (See item #10 of WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure regarding the steps WCAT will follow when a policy is referred to the chair under section 251.) The referral was with respect to item #AP1-39-2 of the Assessment Manual on Assessment Payments.
  • Click here for the full text of the October 20, 2010 referral decision.
  • Click here for the Board of Directors' Resolution.
(Posted 2011/01/13)
Extensions of Time to Appeal: B.C. Court of Appeal releases judgment in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal – The B.C. Court of Appeal released its judgment in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2011 BCCA 7, on January 10, 2011. The Court allowed WCAT’s appeal, and that of the Workers’ Compensation Board, and overturned the B.C. Supreme Court’s decision in Kerton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2010 BCSC 644. At issue was the Supreme Court’s conclusion that two WCAT decisions were incorrect in finding that section 243(3) of the Workers Compensation Act confers on WCAT a residual discretion to deny an extension of the time to appeal where the statutory special circumstances and injustice criteria have been met. The Court of Appeal found that the appropriate standard of review of the WCAT decisions was patent unreasonableness and concluded that the decisions were neither irrational nor unreasonable as their interpretation of section 243(3) is well within the range of interpretative options. The Court further determined that WCAT’s interpretation was in fact the most reasonable interpretation and is the same decision that the Court would reach. Pending the result of this appeal, WCAT had amended its Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) on an interim basis to comply with the Supreme Court decision.
(Posted 2011/01/13)
Section 251 Referral to the Chair for Lawfulness of Policy – In WCAT-2010-02785, dated October 20, 2010 the panel has referred the issue of lawfulness of Assessment Manual policy AP1-39-2 (Assessment Payments) to the WCAT chair under section 251(2) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act). The specific aspects of policy item AP1-39-2 involved are the provisions regarding interest on overpaid assessments by employers.

Section 251 of the Act states that WCAT may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s (Board) board of directors only if the policy is so patently unreasonable that it is not capable of being supported by the Act and its regulations. If a WCAT panel considers that an applicable policy should not be applied on this basis, that issue must be referred to the WCAT chair and the appeal must be suspended until the WCAT chair or the Board’s board of directors, as the case may be, decides whether the policy should be applied.

  • Full text of the decision to refer the policy to the chair (click here)
(Posted 2010/11/04)
New Interim Practice Directive C6-2 (Permanent Disability Benefits – Section 23(3)) effective June 30, 2010 – The Workers' Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board), has implemented a new Interim Practice Directive that provides guidance to Board officers in determining whether a worker's permanent disability award should be assessed under section 23(3) of the Workers Compensation Act. This new Practice Directive is interim, with further changes expected. Practice Directives are not published policy and are not binding on WCAT, but do provide guidance with respect to how the Board interprets and applies law and policy requirements.
  • Interim Practice Directive C6-2 (Permanent Disability Benefits – Section 23(3)) (click here)
(Posted 2010/07/08)
July 1, 2010 changes to policy in Chapter 3 RSCM II – The Board of Directors of the Workers' Compensation Board, operating as WorkSafeBC (Board) has approved changes to the policy in Chapter 3 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II, and other consequential amendments. Policy items #12.00 through #24.00 inclusively (previous Chapter 3), will be replaced with Items #C3-12.00 through #C3-23.30 (new Chapter 3) and policy item #34.55 in Chapter 5. The new Chapter 3 policies and policy item #34.55 apply to all injuries, mental stress claims, and accidents that occur on or after July 1, 2010. For injuries, mental stress claims, or accident claims that occurred before July 1, 2010, the previous Chapter 3 policies apply. (Note: For injuries, mental stress claims, occupational diseases before June 30, 2002 the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual , Volume I continues to apply.)
  • Previous Chapter 3 (policy items #12.00-24.00) (click here) [pdf 247 Kb]
  • New Chapter 3 (policy items #C3-12.00 through C3-23.30)(click here)
  • Policy item #34.55 (click here)
  • Resolution 2007/10/04-04 of the Board of Directors "Chapter 3 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volume II" (click here)
  • Resolution of the Board of Directors regarding Effective Date of New Chapter 3 (click here)
(Posted 2010/07/02)
2009 Annual Report – The 2009 Annual Report of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal is available on our website. Click here to view the Report. (Posted 2010/06/22)
MRPP Amended As a result of the B.C. Supreme Court decision in Kerton v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal et al. (2010 BCSC 644), and in order to ensure parties continue to receive timely extension of time decisions, the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) has, on an interim basis, amended its practice directive relating to applications for extensions of time to appeal made under section 243(3) of the Workers Compensation Act. In Kerton, the Court determined that WCAT lacked the discretion to deny an extension of time to appeal where the special circumstances and injustice criteria set out in section 243(3) have been met. To comply with the Court’s decision, WCAT has amended items #8.2 and #8.2.3 of its Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP). It has also removed MRPP item #8.2.4 which related to WCAT’s exercise of discretion. These changes are interim as WCAT has appealed the Kerton decision to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The interim amendment applies to all WCAT decisions respecting an extension of time to appeal made on or after May 5, 2010.

You can find the Chair’s decision here. The amended practice directive showing the amendments is attached to the Chair’s decision. The changes have been incorporated into the MRPP, which you can find on our website here.

(Posted 2010/06/10)
Table of Concordance for New MRPP now available – WCAT has prepared a Table of Concordance that provides a cross reference for items in the December 3, 2004 and November 3, 2009 versions of the WCAT Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure. Click here to view the Table. (Posted 2010/05/10)
Search Our Decisions Update – WCAT is pleased to announce that there have been revisions to decision search on our new website. For example, in addition to the detailed "Search Help" available when searching our decisions, quick tips for searching have been added to both the Basic and Advanced decision search pages. These tips provide information such as how to search by policy, statutory section number or WCAT decision number. (Posted 2010/03/03)
PDF forms can now be filled and saved by users to their computers – WCAT is pleased to announce that the pdf forms on the Forms page of its new website can now be filled and saved by users to their computers, including the Notice of Appeal from Review Division and Notice of Appeal from WorkSafeBC forms. Click here to go to the page with the pdf forms that can be filled and saved. (Posted 2010/02/26)
MRPP Housekeeping Corrections – We have corrected typos and slips on six pages of the revised MRPP – 38, 58, 73, 77, 180 and 192. Click here for those pages with the corrections shown using “track changes” [pdf 82 Kb]. These typos and slips have also been corrected in the MRPP on our website without track changes. (Posted 2010/01/07)
MRPP Revision – WCAT’s Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure is revised. It will become effective on November 3, 2009. Click here for the revised MRPP [pdf 985 Kb]. Click here for highlights of the changes [pdf 28 Kb]. (Posted 2009/10/07)
WorkSafeBC Issues New Mental Stress Policy – In response to the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Plesner v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (2009 BCCA 188), the board of directors of WorkSafeBC have amended policy item #13.30.  The amendment is effective April 30, 2009 and applies to all decisions, including appellate decisions, made on or after that date.  Click here for the resolution and policy amendment.  (Posted 2009/08/24)
Common Law Reconsideration Applications: – In our February 17, 2009 What’s new message we informed you that a message would be posted here should a future court decision provide additional guidance on the applicable standard of review in light of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9.

In Manz v. Sundher, 2009 BCCA 92, the B.C. Court of Appeal determined that the patent unreasonableness standard in the Administrative Tribunals Act is constitutionally valid and that the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Dunsmuir does not change the meaning of that standard. In Dunsmuir the court collapsed the common law patent unreasonableness and reasonableness simpliciter standards of review into a single reasonableness standard. WCAT has updated its “Applications for Reconsideration – WCAT Information Sheet” to refer to the Manz decision. (Posted 2009/06/23)
Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. 150-4600 Jacombs Road, Richmond BC V6V 3B1 * All rights reserved.
Tel. (604) 664-7800 * Toll Free within BC 1 (800) 663-2782 * Fax (604) 664-7898
Home