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

Published Categorized as Notable Decisions Tagged

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 brief, inadequate and faulty ergonomic assessment of the worker’s workstation and in both cases, the court found that the Board Medical Advisor’s opinion was almost irrelevant due to this flawed factual assessment. In both cases, the court found that the WCAT panel rejected the worker’s medical evidence in favour of their own analysis, supported by the BMA’s opinion, and this resulted in a decision that was “patently unreasonable”. Citing another earlier decision, the court states that while WCAT panels are

presumed to be an expert tribunal in relation to all matters over which it has exclusive jurisdiction, it is not presumed to have medical expertise”

paragraph 35, Rear v. WCAT 2023 BCSC 151 (August 28, 2023)

This is an important court decision, affirming the importance of evidence-based decision making in all WCAT decisions, including ASTD claims. 

TIP: Judicial Reviews of WCAT decisions are summarized (with links) on the WCAT website.