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You will be invited to explain your side of the appeal in writing or at a meeting called an oral hearing. You can ask for the method you prefer along with reasons for your preference when you give notice to start an appeal or participate in an appeal.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) will decide if your appeal is proceeding, and which method will be used. You will be invited to provide a written submission or attend an oral hearing.

How to explain your side of the appeal

No matter how the appeal proceeds, you will need to clearly explain:

  • Why WCAT should allow your appeal and the result that you want
  • How laws or WorkSafeBC policies apply to your situation
  • How the evidence supports the result that you want

You should:

  • Make points as clearly as possible. Use point form if you like
  • Use a plain tone. Avoid strong or emotional language, such as sarcasm
  • Organize information by date
  • Explain where each piece of evidence can be found. For example, in the WorkSafeBC claim file or with new evidence being submitted

Find out how to prepare your case.

Tips and suggestions for submitting information and evidence

  • Underline points you want to emphasize. Do not use a highlighter pen because it’s not visible in scanned documents
  • Include a copy of any letters you or your representative sent to experts requesting their opinion along with a copy of their bill for providing that service
  • Provide all relevant information. Do not assume WCAT will investigate further or that you will have more opportunities to submit more evidence or arguments
  • Do not include other people’s names or claim numbers, it’s a violation of privacy
  • Do not include links to websites in your submission. Print or save information from websites and include it with your submission
  • Do not send any information or evidence that’s in the WorkSafeBC claim file. WCAT already has a copy
  • Include the WorkSafeBC claim or file number and your WCAT appeal number on everything you send
  • You do not need to send original documents or printed copies of anything sent by email or fax
  • Keep a copy of everything you send, including a fax confirmation sheet, if applicable

Use these options to submit information and evidence:

Provide a written submission

A written submission is where you explain your side of the appeal in writing. Make sure to include:

  • A written summary that tells your side of the appeal
  • Any new evidence, for example, documents or reports that are not on the WorkSafeBC file
  • A request for appeal expenses to be paid. For example, if you paid for a report or letter, include your receipt or invoice. The vice chair will address your request in the final decision

Make sure WCAT will receive your entire written submission by the deadline. You will have 21 days from the date of the invitation letter to provide a written submission.

Use these options to submit information and evidence

If you do not have anything to share, contact WCAT to let them know you won’t be sending anything else.

WCAT will share all evidence and submissions with others participating in the appeal. They will have 21 days to respond to the information. If they do, the person who started the appeal has 14 days to comment on their submission. This will not be the time to send more evidence. If new evidence is submitted, the vice chair will decide if it can be included. If it is, a copy will be sent to others participating in the appeal for comment.

Once all evidence and information has been received, a vice chair reviews the WorkSafeBC claim file along with all evidence and information submitted or obtained by WCAT. Then, the vice chair will make a final decision.

Ask for more time to send documents or evidence

Generally, documents or evidence are not accepted after the deadline. In some cases, WCAT may consider giving more time, if there’s a valid reason. For example:

  • The issues being appealed are complex
  • The appellant has a valid reason for needing more time to get more evidence, interview witnesses or get a representative
  • Personal or family health problems, bereavement, or other emergencies
  • Vacation that was already arranged or booked
  • A current labour relations dispute that limits the opportunity to participate

If you need more time, you need to ask for permission before your submission deadline:

If you are given more time, the others involved in the appeal can also ask for more time.

Attend an oral hearing

An oral hearing is a meeting where everyone involved in the appeal will explain their case to a vice chair. After the hearing, the vice chair will make a final decision.

Hearings are structured, but not as formal as going to court. They are held by video conference, in person or by phone. They last about 1 hour.

If WCAT decides that you need to attend an oral hearing, you will receive a notice of hearing letter which includes:

  • The date and time of the hearing
  • Instructions on how to attend the hearing
  • Information about providing documents and using witnesses
  • Information about how to change the date of the hearing

Notice is sent out at before the hearing date. Usually, it’s sent out about 10 weeks before the date.

The person who started the appeal must attend. If they don’t, their appeal may be dismissed.

Other people involved in the appeal are not required to attend. If they want to, they can ask their representative to attend on their behalf or send a written submission before the hearing.

If they or their representative do not attend, they will not:

  • Have an opportunity to present evidence or respond to arguments or evidence from the person who started the appeal
  • Receive evidence submitted at the hearing
  • Be able to participate any further in the appeal

You can bring others with you to the hearing. If you plan to bring someone with you, please let WCAT know at least 21 days before the hearing. This includes:

  • Your representative (if you have one) to participate in the hearing
  • Any witnesses you will ask to share information or evidence
  • A support person (who is not a witness or a representative) to observe the hearing

You can ask for an interpreter. Let us know that you need an interpreter:

  • When you complete the notice of appeal form or notice of participation form
  • Or by contacting WCAT at least 2 weeks before the hearing

WCAT will hire and pay for the interpreter. Friends and relatives cannot be used to interpret. A hearing may be rescheduled if a vice chair decides an interpreter is needed.

If you cannot attend at the scheduled time, you can contact WCAT and ask to change the date or time. This needs to be done within 14 days of getting your first notice to attend the oral hearing.

After that, changes are only made for exceptional circumstances like a personal emergency, not taking a vacation or needing more time to get evidence. Documentation, like a letter from your doctor, will be required to make this kind of last-minute change.


Write down important details that you want to share at the hearing. This will help you remember details and explain evidence that supports your side of the appeal.

Find out how to prepare your case


Send new information and a list of witnesses to WCAT 21 days before the hearing. This includes:

  • New evidence or reports from experts, including a copy of any letters you or your representative sent to experts requesting their opinion
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses
  • A request for appeal expenses to be paid. For example, if you paid for a report or letter, include your receipt or invoice. The vice chair will address your request in the final decision
  • A request to show a video or play a recording at the hearing

This will give everyone participating in the appeal enough time to review and prepare.

If you have new evidence that you did not submit in time, let the vice chair know at your hearing. Be prepared to explain:

  • What the new evidence is
  • Why it’s relevant
  • Why it could not have been provided earlier (i.e. why is it only available at the time of the hearing?)

The vice chair will then decide whether to accept it or not. For in-person hearings, you will need to bring the original and an additional 2 copies of any new written evidence.


Witnesses are not required, but sometimes their testimony is helpful to explain or prove what happened. They must have first-hand information about the appeal, not just opinions.

If you do plan to call witnesses, tell them the date, time and place of the hearing. If the hearing is by phone or video conference, share instructions with them for dialing in or signing in.

If someone refuses to be a witness, let WCAT know at least 21 days before the hearing. A vice chair may decide to order the person to attend the hearing as a witness. You’ll need to provide:

  • Their name and contact information, including an address and work location (if applicable)
  • A summary of their testimony and how it supports your case
  • The reason why the witness is not willing to come voluntarily


WCAT can tell WorkSafeBC to pay back expenses related to the appeal. During the hearing, let the vice chair know if you have expenses you would like reimbursed. As part of their final decision, the vice chair will determine which expenses will be paid back.

Request payment for appeal expenses

In-person hearings are held in a meeting room. Phone and video conference hearings are attended by phone, computer or mobile device.

Everyone involved in the hearing can speak to the vice chair during a hearing. They cannot speak privately with the vice chair. If you want to speak privately to someone else in the hearing, you can ask the vice chair for a break.

The audio of all hearings is recorded (not the video). You can request a copy of the recording from WorkSafeBC after the appeal is completed. You are not allowed to make your own recording. This includes making an audio or video recording or taking screen shots.

Pay attention. Do not get distracted or use other devices or applications (e.g. social media, games, music or videos). Mute all other electronic devices, like the TV or a cell phone.

Don’t be late. Arrive early, at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. The hearing will not happen unless the person who started the appeal attends. Generally, the vice chair will wait 15 minutes for them to arrive.

If the person who started the appeal (the appellant) is more than 15 minutes late, the hearing may be cancelled. They will have 14 days to provide written reasons for not attending. Others participating in the appeal will have the opportunity to comment on those reasons and the person who started the appeal can make a final response.

WCAT will decide if the appeal will continue. If it does, WCAT will choose one of these options to proceed:

  • Make a final decision based on information received already
  • Reschedule the oral hearing
  • Ask everyone participating to submit evidence and arguments in writing

The vice chair will wait 5 minutes for others participating in the appeal (respondents). The hearing will proceed even if they are late or don’t attend.

  • If they arrive late, the vice chair will not restart the hearing or review what has already happened
  • If they do not attend, they will no longer be able to participate in the appeal


The vice chair will start the hearing by letting everyone into the room or the phone or video conference session. They will:

  • Introduce everyone at the hearing
  • Explain what will happen and state what the appeal is about
  • Provide some “ground rules” like being courteous and not interrupting when someone else is speaking
  • Ask anyone giving evidence to promise to tell the truth by swearing an oath or making a solemn affirmation


Both parties are given an opportunity to explain their case, give evidence or call witnesses. Their representative may prompt them with questions to help explain specific details. Each party has an opportunity to respond to evidence – they have the right to ask questions of witnesses.


Witnesses join the hearing when it’s time to give their testimony. The vice chair will invite them in at the right time. After a witness has provided their evidence, they are free to leave. Sometimes a witness chooses to stay after providing evidence, often to provide support for the party who asked them to attend.


At the end of the hearing, both parties give their final argument. This is called a submission. It’s a brief summary that explains your side of the appeal.

If there isn’t enough time, you can ask to send a written submission after the oral hearing.


Parties cannot leave the hearing unless they have permission from the vice chair. Let the vice chair know if you need to take a break.


After the hearing, the vice chair will make a final written decision and mail it to all parties.

Request payment for appeal expenses

WCAT can tell WorkSafeBC to pay back your expenses related to the appeal. Which expenses will be paid back will be included in the final decision. The cost of photocopying, postage, faxing, paying a representative’s fees or an employer’s lost wages are not paid back.

Expenses are repaid according to:

Types of expenses: Expenses can be paid back for getting new written evidence that’s relevant to the appeal or for attending an oral hearing.

This could include paying for a report or letter from an expert like a doctor or paying for documents to be translated.

Even if your appeal is not successful, these expenses are usually reimbursed if the evidence was helpful in making the final decision or if it was reasonable to have the information for the appeal.

Amounts are usually paid according to the following rates or fee schedules. Please note that the fee schedules linked below are provided for convenience and may not be current.

For more information on the reimbursement of expert evidence, please see Reimbursement of Expenses for Expert Evidence of the MRPP.

To get reimbursed, submit a written request to WCAT along with:

  • An itemized invoice and receipts
  • A copy of your letter asking for an expert opinion
  • A copy of a report or opinion from an expert along with their invoice for this service
  • Reasons why the full amount should be reimbursed (if the expert’s invoice is higher than the fee schedules above)

Make your request when you submit evidence or at your oral hearing. If the vice chair orders appeal expenses to be paid, send your invoice and receipts to WorkSafeBC because they reimburse the expense.

If an appellant is successful in their appeal, their expenses for attending an oral hearing may be repaid, including lost wages for taking time off work, travel, meals and accommodation. Witness expenses may be reimbursed if their attendance was helpful or if it was reasonable to have their information for the appeal (regardless of the appeal outcome). Employers are not usually reimbursed for costs to attend an oral hearing.

Amounts are usually paid according to WorkSafeBC policy – see the Rehabilitation Services and Claims Manual Chapter 10, Item 83.00

Travel costs may be paid for distances that are 20 kilometres or more. Travel must be within B.C. Reimbursement for the full amount of a trip is usually ordered if WCAT requires a party or witness to attend a hearing.

To get reimbursed, make your request for expenses at the oral hearing – the vice chair or panel will ask if you are seeking reimbursement of expenses. The final decision will provide information about payment. You will need to provide an itemized invoice and receipts for and travel expenses and lost wages.

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