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All Frequently Asked Questions

Worker FAQs

  1. Do I need to have all my information and evidence before starting an appeal?
  2. No. You do not need all your information and evidence before you appeal. We will later give you the opportunity to strengthen your appeal by providing more information and evidence, either through written or verbal submissions.

  3. Can I telephone WCAT to start my appeal?
  4. No. Although you can telephone us and let us know that you intend to appeal, you can only start your appeal in writing. We will send you a Notice of Appeal form. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that we receive your completed form within 21 days. You will find more information in our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Worker's Guide.

  5. Who can participate in my appeal?
  6. You, along with your representative or adviser and your employer, along with their representative or their adviser can participate in your appeal to WCAT.

    The employers in British Columbia pay for the workers' compensation system. Your employer has the right to participate in your appeal because the amount they pay to WorkSafeBC may be directly affected by our decision.

  7. What happens after I send you my appeal form or letter?
  8. We will send you a letter confirming that we have received your appeal and giving you an appeal number. We may also ask you for more information if your appeal form or letter does not seem complete. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you give us all the information we request within 21 days. You will find more information in our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Worker's Guide.

  9. Can I email or fax my appeal form or letter to WCAT?
  10. Yes. Please keep a copy of everything you send to us as well as the fax confirmation sheet.

  11. What if I appeal too late?
  12. If your appeal is late, you may be able to get an extension. We'll ask you if special circumstances prevented you from appealing within the time limit. You can read more about acceptable reasons for extensions in items 8.2 and following in our Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    If you require an extension, please explain your reasons for appealing late on the Extension of Time to Appeal Application form or in your letter of appeal. If you don't give us an explanation, we will mail you an Extension of Time to Appeal Application form to fill out and return. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you fill out and return the form to us within 21 days.

  13. Do I need someone to represent me?
  14. You may appeal on your own of course, but you might also want to ask for assistance from someone familiar with the workers' compensation system, such as a union representative, compensation consultant, or a lawyer.

    You can get free help with your appeal from a workers' adviser.

    To protect your privacy, we will not discuss your appeal with anyone but you unless you authorize a representative on the Notice of Appeal form. You can also file an Authorization of Representative form that gives us permission to do so.

Employer FAQs

  1. Do I need to have all my information and evidence before starting an appeal?
  2. No. You do not need all your information and evidence before you appeal. We will later give you the opportunity to strengthen your appeal by providing more information and evidence, either through written or verbal submissions.

  3. Can I telephone WCAT to start my appeal?
  4. No. Although you can telephone us and let us know that you intend to appeal, you can only start your appeal in writing. We will send you a Notice of Appeal form. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that we receive your completed form within 21 days. You will find more information in our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Employer's Guide.

  5. Who can participate in my appeal?
  6. A "Participating Respondent"

    A participating respondent has the right to respond fully to an appeal, including receiving a copy of the WorkSafeBC file, presenting evidence, examining witnesses at a hearing, and making verbal or written arguments.

    Here are some examples of participating respondents:

    • The worker or dependants of a deceased worker on compensation matters
    • A supplier, owner, union representative, or any family member of a deceased worker on occupational health and safety appeals
    • Another employer or group of employers on other assessment appeals, such as employer classification and cost transfer

    A "Participating Person" or "Representative Group"

    • For appeals asking for relief of costs or transfer of costs, we will invite a worker to provide relevant information
    • In appeals concerning penalties for occupational health and safety violations, we will invite the joint health and safety committee or the worker health and safety representative, and the worker representative named in the inspection report to provide relevant information
    • In occupational health and safety and assessment appeals, we may invite WorkSafeBC to participate by providing relevant information.
  7. What if the worker and I disagree with the same decision but on different issues?
  8. Review Division decisions often contain many issues. We usually make our decision only on the issues raised by the appellant in the Notice of Appeal and the written or oral submissions. You should file your own appeal (cross-appeal) to ensure that we consider your issue. If a worker later drops (withdraws) their appeal, and you have not filed your own appeal, you will have to apply for an extension of time, running the risk that this might not be granted.

  9. What happens after I send you my appeal form or letter?
  10. We will send you a letter confirming that we have received your appeal and giving you an appeal number. We may also ask you for more information if your appeal form or letter does not seem complete. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you give us all the information we request within 21 days. You will find more information in our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Employer's Guide.

  11. Can I email or fax my appeal form or letter to WCAT?
  12. Yes. Please keep a copy of everything you send to us as well as the fax confirmation sheet.

  13. What if I appeal too late?
  14. If your appeal is late, you may be able to get an extension. We'll ask you if special circumstances prevented you from appealing within the time limit. You can read more about acceptable reasons for extensions in items 8.2 and following in our Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    If you require an extension, please explain your reasons for appealing late on the Extension of Time to Appeal Application form or in your leter of appeal. If you don't give us an explanation, we will mail you an Extension of Time to Appeal Application form to fill out and return. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you return the form to us within 21 days.

  15. What is a stay, why would I want one, and how do I get one?
  16. A stay is when we order a delay in the implementation of a WorkSafeBC decision (section 244 of the Workers Compensation Act). Appealing a WorkSafeBC decision does not automatically delay its implementation. A stay is an extraordinary remedy.

    You might ask us for a stay of a decision that requires your firm to pay a penalty. If we approve a stay, you would not have to pay the penalty while we are considering your appeal. You will find more information in our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Employer's Guide. You can apply for a stay on the Stay Application form.

  17. Do I need someone to represent me?
  18. You may appeal on your own of course, but you might also want to ask for assistance from someone familiar with the workers' compensation system, such as a lawyer, a compensation consultant, or an employers' association.

    You can get free help with your appeal from an employers' adviser.

    To protect your privacy, we will not discuss your appeal with anyone but you unless you authorize a representative on the Notice of Appeal form. You can also file an Authorization of Representative form that gives us permission to do so.

Direct Appeals FAQs

  1. What is a reopening on application?
  2. For a reopening decision to be on application, the worker must request a reopening, refer specifically to section 96(2) of the Workers Compensation Act or must use language substantially similar to that section and refer to one of the criteria listed there. A worker's general request for benefits is not an application for reopening. The criteria for finding a reopening decision was made on application are narrow (see WCAT-2003-04322).

  3. Do I need to have all my information and evidence before starting an appeal?
  4. No. You do not need all your information and evidence before you appeal. We will later give you the opportunity to strengthen your appeal by providing more information and evidence, either through written or verbal submissions.

  5. Can I telephone WCAT to start my appeal?
  6. No. Although you can telephone us and let us know that you intend to appeal, you can only start your appeal in writing. We will send you a Notice of Appeal form. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that we receive your completed form within 21 days. If you are a worker, you will find more information in our Direct Appeal Guide for Workers. If you are an employer, you will find more information in our Direct Appeal Guide for Employers.

  7. Who can participate in an appeal?
  8. The worker along with the worker's representative or adviser, and the employer, along with the employer's representative or adviser can participate in an appeal to WCAT.

    The employers in British Columbia pay for the workers' compensation system. The employer has the right to participate in a worker's appeal because the amount they pay to WorkSafeBC may be directly affected by our decision.

  9. What if the worker and the employer disagree with the same decision but on different issues?
  10. WorkSafeBC decisions often contain many issues. We usually make our decision only on the issues raised by the appellant in the Notice of Appeal and the written or oral submissions. You should file your own appeal (cross-appeal) to ensure that we consider your issue. If the other party later drops (withdraws) their appeal, and you have not filed your own appeal, you will have to apply for an extension of time, running the risk that this might not be granted.

  11. What happens after I send you my appeal form or letter?
  12. You will receive a letter from us confirming that we have received your appeal and giving you an appeal number. We may also ask you for more information if your appeal form or letter does not seem complete. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you give us all the information we request within 21 days. If you are a worker, you will find more information in our Direct Appeal Guide for Workers. If you are an employer, you will find more information in our Direct Appeal Guide for Employers.

  13. Can I email or fax my appeal form or letter to WCAT?
  14. Yes. Please keep a copy of everything you send to us as well as the fax confirmation sheet.

  15. What if I appeal too late?
  16. If your appeal is late, you may be able to get an extension. We'll ask you if special circumstances prevented you from appealing within the time limit. You can read more about acceptable reasons for extensions in items 8.2 and following in our Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure.

    If you require an extension, please explain your reasons for appealing late on the Extension of Time to Appeal Application form or in your letter of appeal. If you don't give us an explanation, we will mail you an Extension of Time to Appeal Application form to fill out and return. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that you fill out and return the form to us within 21 days.

  17. Do I need someone to represent me?
  18. You may appeal on your own of course, but you might also want to ask for assistance from someone familiar with the workers' compensation system, such as a union representative, compensation consultant, or a lawyer.

    You can get free help with your appeal from a workers' or employers' adviser.

    To protect your privacy, we will not discuss your appeal with anyone but you unless you authorize a representative on the Notice of Appeal form. You can also file an Authorization of Representative form that gives us permission to do so.

  19. What is a stay, why would I want one, and how do I get one?
  20. A stay is when we order a delay in the implementation of a WorkSafeBC decision (section 244 of the Workers Compensation Act). Appealing a WorkSafeBC decision does not automatically delay its implementation. A stay is an extraordinary remedy.

    And employer might ask us for a stay of a decision that requires their firm to reimburse a worker's lost wages. If we approve a stay, they would not have to reimburse the worker while we are considering their appeal. You will find more information in our Direct Appeal Guide for Employers. You can apply for a stay on the Stay Application form.

Legal Actions FAQs

  1. Can the defendant apply for a section 257 certificate without pleading the section 10 bar?
  2. Yes. We will consider an application for a section 257 certificate without requiring the defendant in a legal action to plead the section 10 bar. However, pleading that defence may still be necessary for the purposes of the legal action.

  3. Is there a time limit to apply for a section 257 certificate?
  4. No. However, you must make your application at least six months before your trial date so that we have enough time to process the application and make a decision. We do not give priority to urgent section 257 applications with imminent trial dates. Generally, we process applications on a "first come, first served" basis.

  5. How long will my section 257 application take?
  6. We normally require 90 days from the end of submissions to make our decision.

  7. Does an injured person or, if they are deceased, their dependant, need to claim compensation from WorkSafeBC before bringing a legal action?
  8. No. An injured person or, if they are deceased, their dependant, can start a legal action without making a WorkSafeBC compensation claim. However, there is a one-year time limit to make a compensation claim with WorkSafeBC. Therefore, you should file your claim on a provisional basis within a year in order to preserve your rights. Filing a provisional claim for compensation does not affect our status determination or prejudice the injured person's/dependant's position in the legal action. You will find more information in our Legal Action Guide.

  9. Who can participate in a section 257 application?
  10. We will invite all the parties named in the legal action to participate in the section 257 application. We will also invite persons who the decision may affect, even if they are not a party to the legal action, for example, the employer of a party who may have been a worker at the time of the injury.

    If there is a related legal action or other WorkSafeBC claim resulting from the same accident or event, we will also invite the involved parties to participate in the section 257 application.

  11. What happens after WCAT makes its decision?
  12. We will mail our decision with reasons to all the parties in the legal action. Since these decisions are filed in court and become public documents, we will publish them on our website without editing.

    For actions started in British Columbia, we will file the certificate in the court registry and provide filed copies to you and the other parties. For actions started outside of British Columbia, it is the applicant's responsibility to file the section 257 certificate in the proper court.

Preparing an Appeal FAQs

  1. Can I change the method of appeal?
  2. You can ask for the method you prefer, though we will make the final decision. Soon after you start the appeal, we will tell you the appeal method we have selected. If you are not satisfied, you can ask us to change the appeal method by writing to us and we will inform you of our decision.

  3. How long will my appeal take?
  4. You can expect us to decide an appeal within six months from the date that WorkSafeBC gives you disclosure. If the appeal is complicated, reaching a decision may take us more than six months.

    If we ask you to present the evidence for the appeal to us verbally, we will give you a specific time and date for an oral hearing. Please tell us immediately if you need a different date than the one we set for you.

    If we ask you to give us written submissions, as the appellant, you have 21 days to send them to us. If you need more time, you may ask for up to 45 more days. If you do receive more time, a participating respondent can also receive the same amount of extra time to provide their written submissions.

  5. Can I put my appeal on hold?
  6. The appellant can ask us to put the appeal on hold (suspend the appeal) if there is a related matter still before WorkSafeBC, including the Review Division. Put your request to suspend the appeal in writing and we will inform you of our decision. The appellant can later ask us to go ahead with the appeal without waiting for WorkSafeBC's decision on the related matter.

    If your appeal is still on hold when WorkSafeBC sends you its decision on the related matter, ensure that you ask us to continue your appeal within 30 days. Otherwise, we will assume you are satisfied with the result and close your appeal.

  7. How can I speed up my appeal?
  8. WCAT receives thousands of appeals each year. Your appeal will proceed more quickly if you:

    • Include the WorkSafeBC claim or file number and your WCAT appeal number on everything you send to WCAT.
    • Write to us if you change your address or your representative.
    • Send us new evidence that supports your appeal as soon as possible.
    • Answer any questions we may have about your appeal as soon as possible.
    • Attend the oral hearing on the scheduled date, or send us your written submission by the deadline we give you.

  9. Can I submit new evidence when responding to the respondent's submission?
  10. Do not submit new evidence with your rebuttal submission. If you send in new evidence with your rebuttal submission, WCAT will decide whether to accept or exclude the new evidence from consideration and the procedure to follow with respect to its disclosure.

Responding to an Appeal FAQs

  1. Do I have any obligation to involve myself in the appeal?
  2. No. You are not required to participate as a respondent in an appeal.

    Even if you do not choose to participate in an appeal as a respondent, we may ask you to provide relevant evidence to us.

  3. What if I want to raise different issues than the appellant?
  4. WorkSafeBC or Review Division decisions often contain many issues. We usually make our decision only on the issues raised by the appellant in the Notice of Appeal and the written or oral submissions. However, you may want us to decide an issue that the appellant has not raised. In that case, you should file your own appeal (cross-appeal) to ensure that we consider your issue. Otherwise, if the appellant later drops (withdraws) their appeal, you will have to apply for an extension of time, running the risk that this might not be granted.

    Note: We cannot decide any issue or question that was not contained in the WorkSafeBC or Review Division decision. If you want a decision on something new, you must ask WorkSafeBC for it.

  5. How long does an appeal take?
  6. You can expect us to decide an appeal within six months from the date that WorkSafeBC gives you disclosure. It is therefore important that you provide your written submission to us promptly when we ask for it and attend any oral hearing on the scheduled date. If we conduct the appeal through written submissions, we will ask you to provide your written submission within 21 days of our request.

    If we grant the appellant more than the usual 21 days to provide a submission (up to an extra 45 days), you may ask for the same amount of extra time without having to give us any reasons for your request. If the appellant does not receive any extra time to provide a submission, we will not grant you any extra time.

    If the appeal is complicated, reaching a decision may take us more than six months.

  7. Do I need someone to represent me?
  8. You may respond to an appeal on your own, of course, but you might also want to ask for assistance from someone familiar with the workers' compensation system, such as a compensation consultant, a lawyer, an employers' association or a union representative.

    Free help for employers is available from the Employers' Advisers. Free help for workers is available from the Workers' Advisers.

    To protect your privacy, we will not discuss the appeal with anyone but you unless you authorize a representative on the Notice of Participation form that gives us permission to do so.

Preparing for a Hearing FAQs

  1. How long will I have to prepare for the hearing?
  2. We will give you at least four weeks' notice of the hearing date. You should start gathering information and evidence now because it may take you some time to get it, especially medical evidence.

  3. Can I change the date you have set for the hearing?
  4. You have an opportunity to change the hearing date within 14 days of the notice of hearing letter. After that, we only change the dates of hearings in exceptional circumstances, such as a personal emergency. If you need to request a change of date in these circumstances, please make sure we receive any documents supporting your request, such as a letter from your doctor. Exceptional circumstances do not include vacations or requests for more time to gather further evidence or information.

  5. How long will the hearing take?
  6. Oral hearings usually take one hour. If you know that you will need more time, please tell us as soon as possible. Otherwise, if the hearing needs more time than we have scheduled, the vice chair may have to resume it later.

  7. Who will be present at my hearing?
  8. The appellant and their representative, and any participating respondent and their representative, have the right to speak to the vice chair during the hearing. Both the appellant and the respondent may bring witnesses to give evidence at the hearing. Please send us the names and addresses of the witnesses you will be bringing at least 21 days before the hearing.

    In some hearings, we may have security personnel present. If you have security concerns, please contact our Scheduling Department before the hearing.

  9. Do I need to attend the hearing?
  10. This is your opportunity to be heard. A hearing will generally not go ahead without the appellant. If the appellant does not come to the hearing we may dismiss their appeal.

    A participating respondent does not need to attend the hearing. They may still choose to send in a written submission before the hearing if they want to. A respondent who does not attend the hearing does not have the right to receive any evidence submitted at the hearing. They will not have the right to participate further in the appeal.

  11. Can I use an interpreter?
  12. Yes, you can ask for an interpreter on your Notice of Appeal form or letter, or on your Notice of Participation form, or by contacting the Scheduling Department at least two weeks before the hearing. We will provide the interpreter at no charge to you.

    You cannot use a friend or relative as an interpreter. The hearing may be rescheduled if the vice chair believes it necessary to provide an interpreter.

  13. Do I need to bring an expert, like a doctor, to the hearing?
  14. No. The vice chair will accept an expert's written report. Please send us the expert's written report at least 21 days before the hearing.

  15. What will happen if I don't have my evidence ready 21 days before the oral hearing?
  16. We won't change the hearing date if you don't have your evidence in time. At the hearing you can ask the vice chair to wait for it before deciding the appeal. The hearing will still proceed with all the other evidence. The vice chair will generally not accept more evidence after the oral hearing unless they specifically agree to do so at the hearing.

  17. What appeal expenses will WCAT order WorkSafeBC to pay?
  18. We may order WorkSafeBC to repay you for expenses related to an appeal, such as expenses for obtaining a letter or report from a doctor, for new written evidence, for getting a document translated into English, for travelling to the hearing, or for taking time off work to come to the hearing.

    If you have such expenses, give the vice chair copies of the bills. Keep your travel expense and lost wages receipts until the vice chair makes a decision on the appeal.

    Even if you are not successful in the appeal, we will generally order WorkSafeBC to repay you for your expenses for obtaining written evidence (such as a medical report) if the evidence was useful or helpful in deciding the appeal, or it was reasonable for you to have obtained the evidence for the appeal.

    For more information about appeal expenses, .

  19. What happens if I am late for my hearing?
  20. The vice chair will wait for 15 minutes for the appellant. If they are later, the vice chair may dismiss the appeal or reschedule the hearing.

    The vice chair will wait 5 minutes for a participating respondent before starting the hearing. A late respondent will be allowed to participate, but the vice chair may restrict the respondent's participation.

Preparing a Written Submission FAQs

  1. How long do I have to prepare my written submission?
  2. After WorkSafeBC sends you disclosure of the file, we will first ask the appellant for their written evidence and submission, which we must receive within 21 days. If your material is not in English, please have your written evidence and submission translated before sending them in to us because we do not translate documents.

    If you need more time, you can ask us for up to 45 more days. If we give the appellant more time, the respondent can have the same. If you want to ask for more time, please write us to explain why.

    We will send a copy of the appellant's evidence and submission to any participating respondent and give them 21 days to respond. If they do, we will send their information to the appellant. You then have 14 days to reply to their comments.

  3. What if I need more time to prepare my written submission?
  4. If the appellant needs more time, you can ask us for up to 45 more days. If you want to ask for more time, please write us to explain why. If we give the appellant more time, the respondent can have the same. If we do not give the appellant more time, we will not give the respondent more time.

  5. What if the appellant has nothing more to submit?
  6. You do not need to send anything further to us after the Notice of Appeal. In that case, you may be able to get your decision faster if you call us to tell us that you will not be sending anything further. If we do not receive any further evidence and submission from you by the 21-day deadline, we will not usually accept anything further from you. We will consider your Notice of Appeal to be your entire submission.

    If the respondent sends in more evidence and submissions, WCAT will send them to you for reply.

  7. As a participating respondent, do I need to send in a written submission?
  8. If the appellant sends in more evidence and submissions, WCAT will send them to you for your response.

    You do not need to send anything further to us after the Notice of Participation. In that case, you may be able to get the decision faster if you call us to tell us that you will not be sending anything further. If we do not receive any further evidence and submission from you by the deadline we give you, we will not usually accept anything further from you. We will consider your Notice of Participation to be your entire submission.

  9. I think I need an oral hearing. Can I change the method of appeal?
  10. Yes. You can ask for the method you prefer, though we will make the final decision. Soon after the appellant starts the appeal, we will tell you the appeal method we have selected. If you are not satisfied, you can ask us to change the appeal method by writing to us.

    Normally, we use oral hearings for appeals involving credibility, when the evidence is conflicting, or when a vice chair thinks it would provide the best way to fully understand an appeal. Oral hearings are also often used where an appellant finds it challenging to communicate easily in written English. The written submission method is suitable for appeals that deal with medical, legal, or policy issues.

  11. What appeal expenses will WCAT order WorkSafeBC to pay?
  12. We may order WorkSafeBC to repay you for expenses related to an appeal, such as expenses for obtaining a letter or report from a doctor, for new written evidence, or for getting a document translated into English.

    If you have such expenses, send copies of the bills along with your written submission.

    Even if you are not successful in your appeal, we will generally order WorkSafeBC to repay you for your expenses for obtaining written evidence (such as a medical report) if the evidence was useful or helpful in deciding the appeal, or it was reasonable for you to have obtained the evidence for the appeal.

    For more information about appeal expenses, .

Gathering Evidence FAQs

  1. Can WCAT obtain more evidence?
  2. We have the right to collect information such as employment, income, and medical records. We may also request WorkSafeBC to investigate matters, including doing ergonomic and employability assessments.

    We may request information or an opinion from a worker's own doctor. We may also request independent medical advice or assistance from a doctor or other health professional who is not employed by WorkSafeBC. The doctor or other health professional may ask a worker to attend for an examination.

    If the vice chair obtains any additional evidence, we will send the appellant and the participating respondent a copy for comment.

    Although we have the right to seek out additional information, please do not assume that the vice chair will investigate further.

Medical Evidence FAQs

  1. There is medical evidence on the claim file. Why do I need more?
  2. In some cases, the medical evidence on the claim file may not fully support your position. Therefore, you may want to get new medical evidence. In other cases, evidence already on the claim file consists of reports, but these reports do not specifically say how the injury affects the need for medical treatment or the worker's level of disability. It is often a good idea to ask a doctor to explain, in writing, the specific relationship between the worker's injury and the need for medical treatment or the worker's level of disability.

  3. What questions should I ask the medical expert?
  4. Ask the medical expert to write a letter that:

    • Describes their expert qualifications
    • Explains how they know the worker (if they do) and how familiar they are with the case
    • Gives their opinion on the specific question in issue and an explanation of the basis for their opinion
    • Explains why their opinion differs from other medical opinion(s) on the file
    • Provides any other information or opinions that may be helpful
  5. When do I need to provide my evidence to WCAT?
  6. If the appeal is by the oral hearing method, you need to ensure that we receive any new medical evidence, including experts' opinions, at least 21 days before the oral hearing. This gives us enough time to send it to other participating parties and for the vice chair to review it before the hearing. You should also send in your (or your representative's) letter requesting the opinion and a copy of the expert's bill. The vice chair may accept new medical evidence at or after an oral hearing depending on your reasons for not providing it before the oral hearing.

    If your appeal is by the written submission method, include any new medical evidence and send it in together with your written submission by the deadline we give you.

  7. Do I have to bring a medical expert, like a doctor, to the hearing?
  8. No. WCAT will accept written reports from a medical expert without the need for them to attend the oral hearing. We must receive the expert's opinion, at least 21 days before the oral hearing. We will not require a medical expert to attend an oral hearing unless the vice chair believes this is necessary to fairly decide the appeal.

  9. Can WCAT obtain more medical evidence?
  10. We have the right to collect more medical evidence. This could include medical records, or a medical opinion from one of the worker's doctors, or an independent health professional or, on rare occasions, a doctor employed by WorkSafeBC. The independent health professional may ask the worker to attend for an examination. For more information on the independent health professional process, .

  11. What appeal expenses will WCAT order WorkSafeBC to pay?
  12. We may order WorkSafeBC to repay you for your expenses related to an appeal, such as expenses for obtaining a letter from your doctor or specialist. If you have such expenses, ask us to order WorkSafeBC to repay you in your written submission or at the oral hearing, and give us a copy of your written request for the opinion and a copy of the doctor's bill.

    Even if you are not successful in the appeal, we will generally order WorkSafeBC to repay you for your expenses for obtaining a medical report or opinion if the evidence was useful or helpful in deciding the appeal, or it was reasonable for you to have obtained the evidence for the appeal.

    We put limits on the amount of reimbursement which you will find . If your bill is higher, and you want to be repaid for all your expenses, please explain the reason why you think we should order payment of the full amount.

Appeal Expenses - FAQs

  1. What Kind of Expenses Can I Request?
  2. You can ask WCAT to order WorkSafeBC to reimburse you for expenses associated with obtaining or producing evidence (such as a letter or report from a doctor), translating a document into English, and attending an oral hearing (travel, meals and accommodation and lost wages). WCAT does not order reimbursement of expenses for representative's fees and your photocopying.

  3. WHEN EXPENSES ARE ORDERED, WILL I BE REIMBURSED FOR THE FULL AMOUNT?
  4. We usually put limits on the amount of the reimbursement if there is a WorkSafeBC rate or fee schedule (see expense reimbursement chart). If your bill or invoice is higher you will need to explain why you think we should order reimbursement for the higher amount. It is helpful to provide an itemized bill or invoice.

  5. WHO REIMBURSES THE EXPENSES?
  6. Expenses ordered to be reimbursed by WCAT are paid out to you by WorkSafeBC. You may be required to send copies of your bills or invoices and receipts to WorkSafeBC.

Status of an Appeal - FAQs

  1. How long will my appeal take?
  2. You can expect us to decide your appeal within six months from the date that WorkSafeBC gives you disclosure. If your appeal is complicated, reaching a decision may take us more than six months.

  3. Can I telephone WCAT to start my appeal?
  4. No. Although you can telephone us and let us know that you intend to appeal, you can only start your appeal in writing. We will send you a Notice of Appeal form. In order to keep your appeal active, you need to ensure that we receive your completed form within 21 days.

    For more information see our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Worker's Guide or our Appealing a Review Division Decision - Employer's Guide.

  5. Who can participate in an appeal?
  6. The worker, along with the worker's representative or adviser and the worker's employer, along with their representative or their adviser can participate in an appeal to WCAT.

    The employers in British Columbia pay for the workers' compensation system. The employer has the right to participate in a worker's appeal because the amount they pay to WorkSafeBC may be directly affected by our decision.

  7. Can I email or fax my appeal form or letter to WCAT?
  8. Yes. Please keep a copy of everything you send to us as well as the fax confirmation sheet.

  9. Can I put my appeal on hold?
  10. If you are the appellant, you can ask us to put your appeal on hold (suspend your appeal) if there is a related matter still before WorkSafeBC, including the Review Division. Put your request to suspend your appeal in writing and we will inform you of our decision. You can later ask us to go ahead with your appeal without waiting for WorkSafeBC's decision on the related matter.

    If your appeal is still on hold when WorkSafeBC sends you its decision on the related matter, ensure that you ask us to continue your appeal within 30 days. Otherwise, we will assume you are satisfied with the result and close your appeal.

  11. Can WCAT obtain more evidence?
  12. We have the right to collect information such as employment, income, and medical records. We may also request WorkSafeBC to investigate matters, including doing ergonomic and employability assessments.

    We may request information or an opinion from your doctor or a doctor employed by WorkSafeBC. We may also request independent medical advice or assistance from a doctor or other health professional who is not employed by WorkSafeBC. The doctor or other health professional may ask you to attend for an examination.

    If the vice chair obtains any additional evidence, we will send you and the participating respondent a copy for comment.

    Although we have the right to seek out additional information, please do not assume that the vice chair will investigate further.

  13. What happens if the worker has more than one appeal?
  14. Where there is more than one appeal regarding the same worker involving similar issues, we may consider them at the same time. If the appeals involve different employers, we will take steps to protect the privacy of the parties.

  15. Will WCAT contact me before making a summary decision on my appeal?
  16. Before WCAT dismisses all or part of an appeal, we will notify the appellant and give them an opportunity to send in a written submission.

Reconsideration FAQs

  1. What is new evidence?
  2. For evidence to be new it must not have existed at the time your appeal was being decided or, if it did exist, you did not know about it and you would not have been able to find it if you had tried. That is to say, if the evidence existed you must show that you exercised reasonable diligence in trying to obtain the evidence before WCAT decided your appeal. For example, while an opinion from your doctor may be new in the sense that it was prepared after the date of WCAT’s decision it may not be new for purposes of reconsideration if you could have obtained the same opinion during the appeal.

    New evidence must be substantial, that is, have weight and support a different conclusion. It must also be material, that is, it must be relevant to the decision. For example, a new medical opinion based on a newly introduced medical test might be new evidence, while the opinion of a new specialist confirming a medical opinion already on the file might not.

  3. What is a jurisdictional error (defect)?
  4. For purposes of a WCAT reconsideration, WCAT makes a jurisdictional error if it

    • decided a matter that it had no power to decide,
    • failed to decide a matter that it was required to decide, or
    • was procedurally unfair.

    For example, it would be a jurisdictional error if WCAT tried to make a binding decision about a residential tenancy matter as WCAT only has authority to determine appeals of workers’ compensation matters. It would also be a jurisdictional error if a worker properly appealed a decision regarding a wage rate to WCAT, but WCAT failed or refused to make a decision on this issue.

    A procedural unfairness occurs when WCAT does not act fairly. Procedural fairness relates to WCAT’s decision making process, not to the outcome of the appeal. For example, it would be procedurally unfair for WCAT to refuse to allow you any opportunity to make a submission in an appeal. To qualify for reconsideration because of an unfair procedure, you must show that WCAT did not act fairly in all the circumstances.

    WCAT has no power on reconsideration to address allegations that there has been a patently unreasonable finding of fact, law, or exercise of discretion.

  5. How does the reconsideration proceed?
  6. Tribunal Counsel Office will review your application to see if you have set out potential grounds for reconsideration. If you have, it will send your application to our Registry. If you were the appellant, the Registry will then invite the respondent to participate in the reconsideration even if they did not participate in the appeal. If you were the respondent, the Registry will then invite the appellant to participate in the reconsideration.

    The Registry will invite written submissions from the appellant and the respondent. Once submissions are complete, the Registry will forward your reconsideration application together with all written submissions to the panel. In most cases, the panel who decided the original appeal will also decide your reconsideration application. If the panel decides that grounds for reconsideration have been established, it will allow your application in a written decision. It may take some time for us to make a decision on this aspect of your reconsideration application because we give priority to new appeals. The panel will then rehear all or part of the appeal and issue a new decision.

    When you submit your application for reconsideration you need to address only the question of whether there are grounds for reconsideration. You do not need to address the merits of the appeal until WCAT has decided your reconsideration application and determined that the grounds for reconsideration have been met and a rehearing of all or part of the appeal is necessary. Once that decision has been made you will be given the opportunity to make submissions on the merits of the appeal. In some cases, WCAT may request submissions from you that address both aspects of the reconsideration process at the same time. In this situation, WCAT may issue a single decision addressing both issues if WCAT determines that grounds for reconsideration have been met.

  7. Can I apply for reconsideration and judicial review at the same time?
  8. Yes. You can apply for reconsideration and judicial review of the same decision at the same time. In that case, we will provide the WCAT panel with the judicial review petition and related documents, and any additional submissions you may have. The panel will consider the portions of those documents which are relevant to the reconsideration application and issue a decision. Normally, no further steps are taken in the judicial review proceeding until WCAT has issued its decision.

Judicial Review FAQs

  1. What is a petition?
  2. A petition is a document that states the specific legal error in our decision that you want the court to correct. In your petition, identify the law and the policy that supports your case.

  3. How do I serve WCAT with my petition and affidavit?
  4. Serving a document means delivering a document in a particular way. You can serve WCAT by couriering a filed copy to us or by leaving a filed copy with our receptionist.

  5. What happens if I don't serve the Attorney General, the accident employer, the worker, or WorkSafeBC?
  6. If you don't serve the Attorney General with your petition, you risk having the court refuse to proceed with your judicial review or having your judgment set aside if the Attorney General later determines that there was a public interest at stake in your judicial review application. If you don't serve WorkSafeBC, the accident employer, or the worker, the court may give you time to serve them. This may mean that your judicial review hearing will have to be rescheduled. Alternatively, the court may not grant any of your requests (remedies) that may directly affect them. The court may also dismiss your petition.

  7. Can I apply for reconsideration and judicial review at the same time?
  8. Yes. You can apply for reconsideration and judicial review of the same decision at the same time. In that case, we will provide the reconsideration vice chair with the judicial review petition and related documents. The vice chair will consider the portions of those documents which are relevant to the reconsideration application.

    If you are asking a court to review a decision because you have new evidence, you must apply for a reconsideration on statutory grounds before you apply for a judicial review. Otherwise, WCAT will object to your judicial review and the court may refuse to hear you.

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
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