The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic discusses the appeal process for Worker Compensation Board (WCB) decisions in Alberta. The appeal process for a WCB decision may see the decision confirmed, varied or reversed. Contact the Office of the Appeals Advisor for information about and assistance with the appeal process (https://www.wcb.ab.ca/claims/review-and-appeals/office-of-the-appeals-advisor.html).
Requesting a Review of a WCB Decision
After WCB makes a decision, the person who the decision affects may not understand the decision, or may disagree with the decision. If the person has any questions or is seeking clarification about a decision, they should discuss this with the decision-maker at WCB. This may be a case manager.
If a person does not agree with the explanation provided by their case manager, they can make a written request to WCB for a review of the decision. The person may make a request for a review within one year from the date the original decision was made. This request can be filed on the WCB website. The request must include the following information:
- The person’s name, address and phone number;
- The WCB claim number;
- The decision or issue to be reviewed;
- Any reasons why the decision should be reviewed (It is not enough to say that you disagree, particular reasons must provide an explanation why the decision is wrong); and
- The result sought.
Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body
The Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body (DRDRB) of the WCB will review the request. The DRDRB may review all documents on file plus any further information submitted in support of the request. They may also hold a hearing with the person, their representative (lawyer), their employer, and their employer’s representative (lawyer).
WCB Appeals Commission
If a person is not satisfied with the decision of the DRDRB, they may appeal to the WCB Appeals Commission within one year of the DRDRB decision. The Appeals Commission is separate from the WCB. Note that the appeal window will increase to two years as of September 1, 2018.
In order to file an appeal, make a written request identifying the decision to be reconsidered, the reasons, and the result sought. New evidence may be presented, but can only be brought if it will have an impact on the decision. The evidence cannot be evidence that you should have presented in previous hearings.
An Appeals Commission decision is a final decision of WCB. If a person wishes to make a further appeal, they can apply for a judicial review in the Court of Queen’s Bench. This decision can be sought if the decision made by the Appeals Commission raises questions of procedural impropriety and infringes upon a person’s right to a fair hearing. For example, you may believe that there were procedural errors, a blatant disregard for the evidence, or that the decision-maker was biased. Consult with a lawyer if you wish to appeal at this level.
Ombudsman of Alberta
If a person believes that they were treated unfairly by WCB, they may apply to receive assistance from the Ombudsman of Alberta. The Ombudsman can begin an investigation only after a person has exhausted all avenues of appeal.
If the Ombudsman conducts an investigation, they will advise the person of their findings. They cannot change the decision of the WCB Appeals Commission but will make recommendations on how to resolve the issue.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.