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 W.C.B. decisions. A decision made by W.C.B. may be confirmed, varied or reversed. Decisions that you may not understand or disagree with should be discussed with the decision-maker at W.C.B. This may be your adjudicator or case manager. Ask them to explain the decision. If you do not agree, then ask to speak to their supervisor.
If you do not agree with the explanation provided, make a written request to W.C.B. for a review of the decision you do not agree with. You must make your request for an appeal within 1 year from the decision. The written appeal must include the following information:
- Your name, address and phone number.
- The W.C.B. claim number of your file.
- Your employer’s name, address and phone number.
- The decision or issue that you want reviewed.
- The reasons why you believe the decision or issue should be reviewed. It is not enough to just say that you disagree; you must provide an explanation why you believe the decision is wrong.
- The result that you want.
The Claims Service Review Committee of W.C.B. will review the appeal requested. The Committee may review all documents on file plus any further information you submitted in support of your appeal request or hold a hearing with you, your representative and employer and their representative.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Claims Service Review Committee, you may appeal to the Appeals Commission who is separate from W.C.B. You must appeal within 1 year from the decision of the Claims Service Review Committee. Make a written request identifying the decision to be reconsidered and the reasons. You may present new evidence at this level. The evidence must be new and have an impact on the decision. The evidence cannot be evidence that you should have presented in previous hearings. The written request must also include the result that you want.
The appeal of the Appeals Commission is a final decision of W.C.B. However, you may apply for a judicial review by the Court of Queen’s Bench if the decision made by the Appeals Commission raises questions of procedural impropriety and infringes on your rights to a fair hearing. For example, you may believe that there were procedural errors made or there was a blatant disregard of the evidence or even bias. You should consult with a lawyer if you wish to appeal at this level. The Court will not change the Appeals Commission decision but it may direct the Appeals Commission to reconsider its decision.
You may also receive assistance from the Ombudsman of Alberta if you believe that you were treated unfairly by W.C.B. The Ombudsman can begin an investigation only after you have exhausted all avenues of appeal. You must have gone through all steps of appeal available to you under the Worker’s Compensation Act. After the investigation is complete by the Ombudsman’s office, they will advise you of their findings. They will not change the decision of W.C.B. Appeals Commission but will make recommendations on how to resolve the issue.
Contact the Office of the Appeals Advisor for information about the appeal process. The Appeals Advisors can advise you as an injured worker of your rights under the Worker’s Compensation Act. They can also represent you and try to resolve the matter without a formal appeal hearing. There is no charge for this service.