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: 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): 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
Judicial Review Decision: Cowburn v. WCB
New policy: Jun 20/06 (PDF, 59KB)
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.