- Appendix 1: A Short History of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal System
- Appendix 2: Rules
- Appendix 3: Practice Directives
- Appendix 4: Regulations
- Appendix 5: Standing of an Estate – Statutory Declarations
- Appendix 6: Combined Appeals – Authorization to Release Information
- Appendix 7: Orders (to Testify and for the Production of Documents)
- Appendix 8: Oaths and Affirmations
- Appendix 9: Current Fee Schedules
- Appendix 10: Code of Conduct for WCAT Members
Appendix 1: A Short History of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal System
From the time the workers’ compensation system was introduced in the province of British Columbia in 1917 it was governed by three Commissioners. Prior to 1968 there was no statutory mention of an appeal although there was an internal, informal appeal mechanism. In 1968 the Boards of Review were statutorily created. They remained internal to the Board until 1974 and were renamed the Workers’ Compensation Review Board (Review Board) in 1986.
The first medical appeal provision was enacted in 1954. In 1959 the three‑person Medical Review Panel (MRP) process was established. Their certificate was conclusive and binding on the Board.
Throughout this time, the final level of appeal on non-medical questions was the Commissioners. On June 3, 1991 the appellate and administrative functions of the Commissioners were divided and the Appeal Division of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Appeal Division) and Board of Governors were established.
The Workers Compensation Amendment Act (No.2), 2002 restructured the appeal system. The provisions with respect to the MRP were repealed effective November 30, 2002, although proceedings that were before the MRP repeal date will be completed. As of March 3, 2003 the Review Board and the Appeal Division were replaced by WCAT. WCAT inherited 22,446 appeals from the Review Board and the Appeal Division. WCAT eliminated this backlog within three years.
Appendix 2: Rules
Appendix 3: Practice Directives
Appendix 4: Regulations
Appendix 5: Standing of an Estate – Statutory Declarations
Appendix 6: Combined Appeals – Authorization to Release Information
Appendix 7: Orders (to Testify and for the Production of Documents)
Appendix 8: Oaths and Affirmations
A printable version is available here.
Oath/Affirmation of Witnesses
You are about to give evidence to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. WCAT is dependent on you telling us the truth and the law requires you to do so. Therefore, before you testify, I must ask you this:
- Do you swear that the evidence you will give in these proceedings shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Answer: I Do or I So Swear.
- Do you affirm that the evidence that you will give in these proceedings shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Answer: I Do or I So Affirm.
- Do you solemnly promise that the evidence that you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Answer: I So Promise
And, do you understand that a breach of your oath/affirmation/promise would be an offence under our law?
Answer: I Do
Oath/Affirmation of Interpreters
Will you truly, faithfully, and without partiality to any party in this proceeding, and to the best of your ability interpret and translate any oath or affirmation that will be administered and all questions that may be asked of any witness and his or her answers, so help you God?
Answer: I Do or I So Swear.
Do you affirm that you will truly, faithfully, and without partiality to any party in this proceeding, and to the best of your ability interpret and translate any oath or affirmation that will be administered and all questions that may be asked of any witness and his or her answers?
Answer: I Do or I So Affirm.
Appendix 9: Current Fee Schedules
The current fee schedule is available here.
Appendix 10: Code of Conduct for WCAT Members
The requirement to comply with this Code of Conduct is a condition of appointment. Members who fail to comply with these standards may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
This Code establishes rules of conduct governing the professional and ethical responsibilities of members to enhance public confidence in their integrity and fairness. The Code establishes reasonable minimum expectations governing the conduct of all members (including the chair, vice chairs, and temporary substitute members appointed under section 232(10)). Members must ensure their own compliance with this Code. Members also have an obligation to bring to the attention of another WCAT member any circumstance which raises a reasonable apprehension of that member’s possible contravention of this Code.
1.1 Oath of Office
Members must faithfully, honestly and impartially perform their duties and must not, except in the proper performance of their duties, disclose to any person any information they have obtained as members [s. 30 ATA]. Members must take the following oath of office [s. 3, Appeal Regulation]:
I ……………………… swear (solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully, truly and impartially, to the best of my judgment, skill and ability, carry out my duties as a member of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal; I will conduct myself with integrity, and I will discharge my duties in accordance with the laws of the Province.
1.2 Decision Making Responsibilities
Members must make their decisions based on the merits and justice of the case, and must apply the law and policy to the evidence in good faith and to the best of their ability. Members must approach the hearing and determination of every appeal with a mind that is genuinely open with respect to every issue, and open to persuasion by convincing evidence and argument. Members must avoid doing or saying anything that would cause a reasonable, well-informed individual to think otherwise.
Members will not decline to follow an applicable policy on the basis that it is unlawful, except in accordance with section 304. Members will not decline to follow an applicable decision of a precedent panel appointed under section 285(6), except in accordance with section 303(3). Members will respect and apply the provisions of sections 250(3) and 304, just as a court would consider a decision of a higher court as binding. Even if the member would have decided the issue differently, the member will respect and apply binding authority as provided in the WCA.
At any stage of a proceeding, members must not communicate about the proceeding, directly or indirectly, with any party, representative, or witness, except in the presence of all parties and/or their representatives, or unless the correspondence is copied to all the parties and/or their representatives.
After discussion and careful consideration, where a member of a panel is unable to agree with the proposed decision of a majority of the panel, that member should not abandon strongly held views on an issue of substance, either for the sake of panel unanimity, or in exchange for agreement on any other point. Instead, the member should prepare a reasoned dissent in a timely fashion.
Members are responsible for ensuring that decisions are written in a neutral, respectful tone and are rendered within the statutory time frames, subject to suspensions or extensions as permitted under the WCA. Written reasons should be prepared without undue delay, and draft decisions prepared by other members should be addressed at the earliest opportunity.
As a result of their duties, members acquire confidential information. In accordance with section 314 of the WCA and section 30 of the ATA, members must not disclose to anyone such confidential information except as may be necessary to discharge their obligations under Part 7 of the WCA or when required by law or authorized under FIPPA (15.1).
All inquiries from the media will be referred to the chair or tribunal counsel (apart from requests to observe a hearing).
1.3.1 Protection of Privacy outside WCAT’s Offices
Members will comply with these guidelines to protect the privacy and security of confidential records. This practice directive applies to members’ handling of documents, files, and electronic files and information where these are taken outside the WCAT offices (for attending hearings or working at home):
- log in and log out files using procedures outlined by WCAT;
- transport files in a locked carrying case and, if possible, keep them with the member at all times;
- if it is necessary to review the files while travelling, ensure that they are not in open view;
- always store files in a locked carrying case, locked filing cabinet, or locked room, to ensure they cannot be viewed by visitors or family members;
- do not leave files unattended in unlocked premises (whether at home or in a hotel);
- do not leave files in a vehicle, even if it is locked. If absolutely necessary, files may be locked in a trunk if the vehicle is parked in a secure location;
- do not leave electronic information, database materials, and related electronic file information unattended or in an area where they can be viewed by visitors, family members and other unauthorized individuals;
- follow all security policies and practices established for computerized systems;
- do not take files outside of Canada;
- return files to the WCAT offices as soon as possible.
If, despite the above precautions, a theft occurs and files and/or electronic systems containing personal information are stolen:
- notify the chair or a senior vice chair immediately;
- file a police report immediately;
- TCO will notify the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of the theft;
- TCO will notify individuals whose personal information was stolen of the theft and what information about them was taken.
Members will not engage in discriminatory behaviour contrary to the Human Rights Code. Members will not engage in harassment of a personal, sexual, or racial nature. Members will not engage in retaliation against anyone raising a concern or making a complaint in good faith under the Human Rights Code.
2.2 Collegial Responsibilities
The conduct and language of members in the workplace must meet acceptable social standards and must contribute to a positive work environment. A member’s conduct must not compromise the integrity of WCAT or the public service.
Members will foster a collegial approach in performing their adjudicative functions and exchange views, information, and opinions in a spirit of respect for the independence of each other as decision makers. A member will not publicly comment, orally or in writing, on any matter before WCAT, or on a colleague’s conduct, and shall not divulge confidential information unless legally required or appropriately authorized to do so.
Members will be available for consultation or discussions on any policy, legal, or practice or procedural issue, and will treat the views and opinions of colleagues with respect.
2.3 Skills and Training
Members will endeavour to develop and enhance their knowledge of both substantive and procedural matters related to WCAT appeals and proceedings, and will participate in ongoing training and professional development.
Members will make themselves available to participate, as assigned, in other functions and activities such as training new members, participating in committees, or developing practices and procedures.
2.4 Personal Relationships between Members
Members and employees who are direct relatives, or who permanently reside together, may not be employed in situations where:
- a reporting relationship exists where one member/employee has influence, input or decision-making power over the other employee’s performance evaluation, salary, premiums, special permissions, conditions of work and similar matters; or,
- the working relationship affords an opportunity for collusion between the two individuals that would have a detrimental effect on WCAT’s interest.
The above restriction on working relationships may be waived provided that the chair is satisfied that sufficient safeguards are in place to ensure that WCAT’s interests are not compromised.
Members are to disqualify themselves as participants in personnel decisions when their objectivity would be compromised for any reason, or a benefit or perceived benefit could accrue to them.
2.5 Use of WCAT Assets
Members must not use WCAT assets, internet facilities, space or time for any non-WCAT purpose without the prior authorization of the chair or a senior vice chair. The member must comply with all applicable laws and regulations and must respect the legal protection provided by copyright and licenses with respect to both programs and data.
Internet users are responsible for ensuring that their use of Internet access is appropriate and consistent with ethical conduct under the current applicable policy. This policy does not prohibit members from making or receiving occasional brief electronic messages or private telephone calls.
2.6 Accepting Gifts
Members must not directly or indirectly ask for or accept a gift, favour, service, or promise of future benefit from any individual or organization who appears before WCAT.
This provision is not intended to prohibit the normal presentation of gifts to persons participating in public functions, or the normal exchange of gifts between friends that does not amount to a real or apparent conflict of interest, or does not otherwise call into question the member’s objectivity and impartiality. This provision is also not intended to prohibit infrequent attendance at lunches, dinners, or public events of a common and reasonable nature in the company of an individual or representative of an organization which regularly appears before WCAT.
If there is any doubt regarding the propriety of accepting a gift or accepting an invitation to attend an event, the member should consult with the chair.
2.7 Outside Activities
Members must ensure that their outside activities do not interfere with the impartial, effective, and timely performance of their responsibilities. Members must not engage in activities that bring WCAT into disrepute. Unless so authorized by the chair, members must not perform outside activities in a manner that appears to be officially supported by or connected to WCAT, or appears to represent WCAT opinion or policy. Members must not use their position in WCAT to lend weight to the public expression of a personal opinion. Members must not use WCAT letterhead for personal correspondence or non-WCAT related matters.
Members are free to engage in political activities so long as they are able to maintain their impartiality and the perception of impartiality in relation to their duties and responsibilities. Members’ political activities must be clearly separated from activities related to their role as members. Members must not engage in political activities during working hours or use WCAT facilities, equipment, or resources in support of such activities.
Members will not introduce partisan politics at the local, provincial, or national levels into the workplace. This does not apply to informal private discussions among co‑workers.
2.8 Outside Remunerative and Volunteer Work
Members may engage in remunerative employment with another employer, carry on a business, receive remuneration from public funds for activities outside their position, or engage in volunteer activities, provided it does not:
- interfere with the performance of their duties as a member of WCAT;
- bring WCAT or the government into disrepute;
- represent a conflict of interest or create the reasonable apprehension of a conflict of interest;
- appear to be an official act or to represent WCAT or government opinion or policy;
- involve the unauthorized use of work time or government premises, services, equipment, or supplies to which they have access by virtue of their employment;
- gain an advantage that is derived from their employment as a member of WCAT; or,
- result in payment while the member is in receipt of short term and/or long term disability plan payments.
2.9 Reporting and Consequences
Members have a duty to report any situation that they believe contravenes the law, misuses public funds or assets, or represents a danger to public health and safety or is a significant danger to the environment. Members can expect such matters to be treated in confidence, unless disclosure of information is authorized or required by law.
Members who are concerned that the conduct of another member may threaten the integrity of WCAT have a duty to discuss the issue with the member in question and the chair, tribunal counsel, or registrar as soon as practicable.
Any member who, in good faith, believes there has been a breach of this Code, and reports the matter to the chair, tribunal counsel, or registrar is protected from any reprisal.
The chair shall, if the allegation is not considered frivolous or vexatious, make whatever inquiries or investigations the chair determines to be necessary and may, if appropriate, report the results and any steps consequently taken to the person who made the report. If the chair considers the allegation is substantive, the chair will notify the member whose conduct has been reported and give the member an opportunity to respond, both to the allegation and to any proposed disciplinary action.
Breach of a provision of this Code by a member may constitute grounds for discipline, up to and including dismissal. If the breach occurs in good faith, or through inadvertence, such factors will be taken into account in determining if discipline is imposed and the disciplinary sanction warranted.
3 Termination of Appointments
WCAT appointments may be terminated without notice on payment of the lesser of 12 months’ compensation or remuneration owing to the end of a member’s term. This change is deemed to be included in all contracts of employment related to appointments that are commenced, changed or renewed on or after May 28, 2003 [s. 14.9, Public Sector Employers Act, RSBC 1996, c. 384]. This provision does not apply to termination of appointment(s) for cause.
4 Obligations after Ceasing to be a Member
Members who cease to hold office continue to be bound by the obligations of confidentiality in respect of any matter arising while they were a member. Members who cease to hold office may not take improper advantage of their former office.
Members who cease to hold office are prohibited from appearing or making written submissions in a proceeding or matter before WCAT as counsel, advocate, or representative on behalf of a party to the proceeding or matter until six months after the member’s appointment ends.