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Home Resources Manual of Rules of Practice and Procedure (MRPP) Chapter 5: How to Appeal

There is a 30‑day time limit for appealing a decision of a review officer to WCAT. There is a 90‑day time limit for appealing a decision of a Board officer concerning a prohibited action complaint [s. 50] or concerning a reopening application [s. 125(1)] to WCAT.

An appeal may be initiated by filing a notice of appeal with WCAT. A notice of appeal must [s. 292(2)]:

  1. be made in writing or in another form authorized by WCAT’s rules,
  2. identify the decision or order that is being appealed,
  3. state why the decision or order is incorrect or why it should be changed,
  4. state the outcome requested,
  5. contain the name, address and telephone number of the appellant and, if the appellant has an agent to act on their behalf in respect of the appeal, the name of the agent and a telephone number at which the agent may be contacted during regular business hours,
  6. include an address for delivery of any notices in respect of the appeal, and
  7. be signed by the appellant or the appellant’s agent.

If the notice of appeal is deficient, WCAT will allow a reasonable time for it to be corrected [s. 292(3)]. If the appellant does not correct the deficiencies within the time allowed, WCAT will close the appeal as incomplete and take no further action. If the appellant later wishes to pursue the appeal, they must apply for an extension of time to appeal (s. 293(3), and 8.2 to 8.2.3).

5.1 Initiating an Appeal

5.1.1 Notice of Appeal Must Be in Writing

RULE:   An appellant may initiate an appeal in any written form which provides the information required by section 292(2). This may be done by delivering, mailing or sending by facsimile transmission (fax) to WCAT a completed notice of appeal form, letter, or other document containing the required information in English. WCAT will treat receipt of a written notice to appeal by the Review Division or by any Board office as receipt by WCAT.

Where the appeal is initiated by fax, it is not necessary to send WCAT the original document. Where the appellant also sends the original document, WCAT will note the fax received date on the original document and destroy the fax.

An appellant must meet the requirements of section 292(2) or WCAT will not consider an appeal to be initiated.

WCAT notice of appeal forms are accessible on the WCAT website at: www.wcat.bc.ca.

5.1.2 Telephone Notification of Intent to Appeal

RULE:   Telephone notification is not sufficient to initiate an appeal. WCAT will accept telephone notice of intent to appeal for the purpose of meeting the 30- or 90‑day time limit, provided that WCAT receives a written notification from the appellant which meets the requirements of section 292(2), within the time WCAT subsequently allows.

Where WCAT receives telephone notification of intent to appeal, WCAT will provide the appellant with the appeal number. WCAT will promptly write to the appellant to acknowledge the telephone notification and advise that WCAT must receive a written notice of appeal within the time WCAT subsequently allows (normally 21 days).

Where an appellant does not provide the required information by the date WCAT subsequently allows, WCAT will treat the appeal as incomplete and as not initiated within the time limit to appeal. WCAT will close the appeal and take no further action. If the appellant later wishes to pursue the appeal, they must apply for an extension of time to appeal (see s. 293(3) and 8.2 to 8.2.3).

5.1.3 Incomplete Notice of Appeal

RULE:   Where the notice of appeal, letter or other written method of initiating the appeal does not meet the requirements of section 292(2), the appellant must provide a complete notice of appeal within the time WCAT subsequently allows (normally 21 days), or the time limit to appeal, whichever is greater.

Where an appellant does not provide the required information by the date WCAT subsequently allows, WCAT will treat the appeal as incomplete and as not initiated within the time limit to appeal. WCAT will close the appeal and take no further action. If the appellant later wishes to pursue the appeal, they must apply for an extension of time to appeal (see s. 293(3) and 8.2 to 8.2.3).

5.1.3.1 Withdrawal of Incomplete Appeal

RULE:   An appellant may withdraw an incomplete appeal at any time. WCAT will close the appeal and take no further action. If the appellant later wishes to pursue the appeal, they must apply for an extension of time to appeal (see s. 293(3) and 8.2 to 8.2.3 and 8.5).

An incomplete appeal is an appeal that has not met the requirements of section 292(2).

5.1.4 Decision or Order Appealed

RULE:   To meet the requirements of section 292(2)(c), it is sufficient for the appellant to provide a brief explanation as to why the decision or order appealed is incorrect or should be changed.

5.1.5 Outcome Requested

RULE:   To meet the requirements of section 292(2)(d), it is sufficient for the appellant to provide a brief statement of the outcome requested. The appellant should relate the requested outcome, that is, the remedy, to the issues raised by the decision or order appealed. WCAT generally lacks jurisdiction to award remedies or outcomes with respect to matters not addressed in the decision or order appealed (3.3).

5.2 Authorizations

5.2.1 For Representatives to Act (6.3.1)

RULE:   Appellants or their representatives may initiate an appeal. The WCAT notice of appeal form includes authorization for the representative to act. (6.3.1)

The WCAT authorization of representative form is accessible on the WCAT website at: www.wcat.bc.ca.

5.2.2 For WCAT to Obtain Evidence (9.3 to 9.3.3)

RULE:   By signing the WCAT notice of appeal or notice of participation form, whether they are the appellant or the respondent, a worker authorizes WCAT to obtain additional medical records or other evidence with respect to them. WCAT may at any time order a worker appellant to provide a current authorization to obtain additional medical records or other evidence.

5.3 Service and Delivery of Documents

Section 344 sets out the principles that WCAT must apply with respect to the service and delivery of documents:

  1. A document that must be served on or sent to a person may be
    1. personally served on the person,
    2. sent by mail to the person’s last known address, or
    3. transmitted electronically, by facsimile transmission or otherwise, to the address or number requested by the person.
  2. If a document is sent by mail, the document is deemed to have been received on the 8th day after it was mailed.
  3. If a document is transmitted electronically, the document is deemed to have been received when the person transmitting the document receives an electronic acknowledgement of the transmission.

Although WCAT may serve documents by fax or electronic transmission, WCAT will normally do so only when a party requests [s. 344(1)(c)].

Where a document is transmitted by fax, the page or printout of the electronic record the fax machine produces that identifies the document, shows the number dialled and that the fax was successfully sent, will normally be proof of delivery or service.

Where a document is transmitted electronically other than by fax, a printout of an electronic acknowledgement of the transmission that identifies the document and intended recipient will normally be proof of delivery or service.

If a decision is served or sent by personal service, or by electronic transmission, the time period runs from the date of service and the eight days for mailing does not apply. The presumption of service in sections 344(2) and (3) does not apply if the party receives the document late because they were absent, in an accident, ill or for another cause beyond their control, so long as they act in good faith [s. 344(4)].

Proceedings are not invalidated due to irregular service if the party to be served knew about the content of the document within the time allowed for service, the party consents, or they are not prejudiced, or the prejudice can be cured by other means [s. 344(5)]. Where service under section 344(1) is impractical, WCAT may notify parties of a hearing by public advertisement or other means [s. 344(6)].

If the last day for filing an appeal or document falls on a weekend or public holiday, the time for filing is extended to the first business day when WCAT’s offices are open [s. 25, Interpretation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 238].

5.3.1 Change of Address

RULE:   Parties must inform the Board and WCAT of any change of address. Where a party fails to do so, evidence that they did not receive a document because it was mailed to their prior address will not rebut the presumption of service under section 344(2) (14.2 to 14.2.3.4 and 13.1 to 13.1.4).

The WCAT change of address form is accessible on the WCAT website at: www.wcat.bc.ca.

5.3.2 Returned Mail

Practice Directive

If mail to a party is returned as undeliverable, WCAT will try to contact the party.

Where WCAT is unable to locate the appellant, WCAT will consider that the appellant has failed to comply with the Rule on Change of Address and the following will apply:

  1. If the matter has been scheduled for an oral hearing, the oral hearing will be cancelled; and,
  2. WCAT will send a final notice to the appellant’s last known address advising that, in the absence of a response within 21 days, WCAT may dismiss the appeal [s. 31(1)(e) ATA].

Where WCAT is unable to locate the respondent, WCAT will continue with the proceedings.

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