Notable New Decisions: Oct 2023

Many thanks to the individuals who contribute to this section, including Kevin Love, Sarah O’Leary, Jim Parker and Jennifer Moreau. Rear 2023 BCSC 151 (August 28, 2023)  WCAT Panels cannot discount medical evidence without contrary evidence The B.C. Supreme Court has found that a WCAT panel was “patently unreasonable” in denying a worker’s ASTD claim…

What’s New: October 2023

New WCB Complaint Process – Issue Resolution Office (IRO) and Fair Practices Commissioner (FPC) The new office of the Fair Practices Commissioner (FPC) is now up and running. While the FPC has limited scope, some complaints about delay and procedural or  substantive unfairness will be addressed. The scope and process for complaints, along with a…

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What’s New: September 2023

2023 Policy Consultations The Policy Regulation & Research Department (PRRD) has public consultations on key topics in 2023. The PRRD’s Discussion Papers on each policy (with background &  options for policy changes) are set out below.  NOTE: The PRRD’s current workplan also includes a review of ASTD policy in 2024. Stay tuned! Federal Bill C-224 (June 2023) –…

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Pickering v. Richmond School District No. 38 2021 BCSC 1497

An employer’s response to bullying and harassment may exclude compensation for an injured worker This decision addressed the exclusion for mental disorder claims caused by a decision of the worker’s employer. The WCAT decision under review found that the employer’s general way of handling, or even not handling, a bullying and harassment complaint was “a…

Rear 2023 BCSC 151: WCAT Panels cannot discount medical evidence without contrary evidence

The B.C. Supreme Court has found that a WCAT panel was “patently unreasonable” in denying a worker’s claim for bi-lateral tendonitis. The decision, Rear v. WCAT 2023 BCSC 151 (August 28, 2023) cites another recent court decision in an ASTD case – McHugh v. ICBC 2023 BCSC 56.   In both cases, the Board conducted a very…

Exposure Injuries & Diagnosis – What’s New?

Workers who are exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace often suffer serious, even fatal, injuries. Then why are exposure injuries such difficult compensation cases and why are so many exposed workers denied compensation? Some exposures cause well known medical conditions (like asbestos & cancer).  However, other toxic exposures cause symptoms (respiratory distress, nausea, etc.) which elude…

Bill 41: One Step forward, Two Steps Back:

Maintaining the Imbalance in the Workers Compensation System The BC Workers Compensation Act (Act) was designed to protect injured workers by maintaining a balance between worker and employer interests. Workers receive fair and equitable compensation and medical benefits funded by employer assessments, in exchange for employers receiving protection from lawsuits for workplace injuries. Maintaining this balance of interests is…

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Bill 41- Stepping Stones or a Stonewall?

Over the last 5 years, the NDP government has been “inching” towards a fairer WCB system and the changes are not insubstantial.  The incremental changes made by this B.C. NDP government to the Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) since 2017 include: What have these changes meant, in total, for injured workers?  This is an important question given that…

ASTDs & Compensation Cons: When is a Work Injury Not a Work Injury?

Soft tissue injuries of the muscles, tendons and nerves – injuries like tendonitis, epicondylitis and bursitis – have a special place in the compensation world.  These injuries are often referred to as “repetitive strain injuries” or RSIs, because they develop gradually, rather than as a result of trauma. In the 1980’s, medical experts (and compensation…

New Perspectives on BC Chronic Pain Policy

The following blog is contributed by Jim Parker. Jim has long represented injured workers in their compensation claims. In this blog, Jim draws on his recent experiences – both professional and personal – to highlight the changing chronic pain (CP) landscape in B.C. For all of my 30 plus years as a representative for injured workers,…