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Home Forms and resources Lawfulness of policy decisions

Section 304 of the Workers Compensation Act (formerly section 251) states that WCAT may refuse to apply an applicable policy of the board of directors of WorkSafeBC 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 determines that a policy should not be applied, the issue is referred to the WCAT chair for review. The appeal is suspended until the chair or the board of directors decides whether the policy should be applied or not.

If the chair decides that the policy should be applied, the matter is referred back to the panel and the panel is bound by the chair’s determination. If the chair decides that the policy should not be applied, the chair will:

  • Send a written decision, including reasons for the decision, to the board of directors
  • Suspend any other appeal proceedings affected by the policy until the board of directors makes their determination

Within 90 days of the chair’s notice, the board of directors reviews the policy to determine whether WCAT may refuse to apply it. After the board of directors makes its determination, the board of directors must refer the matter back to WCAT and WCAT is bound by that determination.

Issue (referral): Interest
Decision of the chair: 2012-01017 (PDF, 300KB) and 2012-01018 (PDF, 300KB) | Apr 18, 2012
Policy lawful? No
Decision of the board of directors: July 17, 2012 (PDF, 820KB)
Must policy be applied? Yes

Issue (referral): Interest
Decision of the chair: The Classification System | Classification – Changes | Annual Classification Cycle (PDF, 82KB)
Policy lawful? 2011-02362 (PDF, 176KB) | Sep 22, 2011
Decision of the board of directors: Nov 18, 2011 | Decision (PDF, 32KB)
Must policy be applied? No | Annual classification cycle
New policy: Nov 8, 2011 | 2011/11/08-01 (PDF, 961KB)

Issue (referral): Loss of Earnings (PDF, 75KB)
Decision of the chair: 2007-03809 (PDF, 235KB) | Dec 06/07
Policy lawful? No
Decision of the board of directors: Apr 15/08 (PDF, 38KB)
Must policy be applied? Yes

Issue (referral): Loss of Earnings (PDF, 39KB) (Rule of 15 ths)
Decision of the chair: 2006-01687 (PDF, 125KB) | Apr 12/06
Policy lawful? Yes

Issue (referral): Entitlement to Dependant’s Benefits (PDF, 39KB)
Decision of the chair: 2005-04492 (PDF, 92KB) | Aug 26/05
Policy lawful? #55.40-No | #59.22-Yes
Decision of the board of directors: See new policy
Must policy be applied? #55.40-No
New policy: Dec 13/05 (PDF, 35KB)

Issue (referral): Recurrence of Disability (PDF, 61KB)
Decision of the chair: 2005-01710 (PDF, 159KB) | Apr 07/05
Policy lawful? No
Decision of the board of directors: Aug 11/05 (PDF, 48KB)
Must policy be applied? Yes
New policy:
Judicial Review Decision: Cowburn v. WCB
New policy: Jun 20/06 (PDF, 59KB)

Issue (referral): Chronic Pain (PDF, 50KB)
Decision of the chair: 2005-06524 (PDF, 182KB) | Dec 05/05
Policy lawful? Yes

Issue (referral): Class Averages (PDF, 41KB)
Decision of the chair: 2003-01800 (PDF, 60KB) | Jul 30/03
Policy lawful? Yes

Withdrawn Referrals

Sometimes a policy is changed when the board of directors receives notice of a lawfulness of policy referral. In those cases, the vice chair may withdraw the referral.

Date of referral memo / decision: 2016-00534 (PDF, 58KB) | Feb 22/16
Issue (referral): General rule for determining long-term average earnings

Date of referral memo / decision: 2013-00551 (PDF, 151KB) | Feb 27/13
Issue (referral): Measurement of earnings loss
New policy: N/A, see 2014-02307 (PDF, 27KB)

Date of referral memo / decision: 2012-02540 (PDF, 37KB) | Sep 28/12
Issue (referral): The classification system | Classification – changes (Effective date of rate-down change)
New policy: 2012/10/11-03 Effective: Oct 11/12

Date of referral memo / decision: 2011-00833 (PDF, 161KB) | Mar 30/11
Issue (referral): Loss of earnings (similar occupation)
New policy: Interim Proactive Directive #C6-2 (PDF, 224KB)

Date of referral memo / decision: Oct 20/10 (PDF, 50KB)
Issue (referral): Interest: Period for interest will be paid
New policy: 2010/12/08-03 Effective: Sep 22/10

Date of Referral memo / decision: Feb 16/09 (PDF, 65KB) |Feb 17/09 (PDF, 66KB)
Issue (referral): Administrative penalties – amount of penalty
New policy: 2009/03/25-02 Effective: Mar 25/09

Date of referral memo / decision: Nov 01/07 (PDF, 116KB)
Issue (referral): Quantum of claim cost levy
New policy: 2008/05/28-04 Effective: Jul 01/08

Date of referral memo / decision: Dec 14/07 (PDF, 128KB)
Issue (referral): Exceptional circumstances (average earnings)
New policy: 2008/03/19-01 Effective: May 01/08

Date of referral memo / decision: Apr 02/07 (PDF, 139KB)
Issue (referral): Changing a firm’s classification (75-day reconsideration rule)
New policy: 2007/10/04-06 Effective: Nov 01/07

Date of referral memo / decision: Oct 10/06 (PDF, 166KB)
Issue (referral): Recurrence of mental stress
New policy: 2007/03/20-08 Effective: Apr 01/07

Date of referral memo / decision: Oct 12/04 (PDF, 34KB)
Issue (referral): Hearing loss
New policy: No board of directors resolution housekeeping change – amendment made to archived policy dated: Aug 01/00 to Jul 31/03

Date of referral memo / decision: Feb 16/04 (PDF, 29KB)
Issue (referral): Umbilical hernia
New policy: 2004/05/18-03 Effective: Jun 01/04

Date of referral memo / decision: Nov 26/03 (PDF, 75KB)
Issue (referral): Interest on survivor benefits (widows and dependants)
New policy: 2006/02/21-04 Effective: Mar 01/06