The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you 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. An appeal is a process available for people who disagree with a decision made by the WCB, and would like to have it changed. The appeal process involves a formal review of WCB decisions for errors or mistakes. The appeal process for a WCB decision may see the decision confirmed, changed or cancelled. For information and assistance with the appeal process, contact the Fair Practices Office by telephone Monday–Friday from 8:15AM–4:30PM at 1-866-427-0115. Or, visit the Fair Practices Office website at (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, you may not understand the decision, or you may disagree with the decision. If you have any questions or need clarification about a decision, you should discuss this with the decision-maker at WCB. This may be a case manager.
If you do not agree with the case manager’s explanation, you can make a written request to WCB for a review of the decision at https://www.wcb.ab.ca/claims/question_claim.asp. You must make this request for a review within one year from the date the original decision was made. The request must include the following information:
- Your name, address and phone number;
- Your WCB claim number;
- The decision or issue to be reviewed;
- Reasons why the decision should be reviewed (you must provide detailed reasons and explanations); and
- Explanation of the result you want.
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 and any other information given in support of the request. The DRDRB may also schedule a brief court date with you, your lawyer, your employer, and your employer’s lawyer.
WCB Appeals Commission
If you are not satisfied with the DRDRB’s decision, you may appeal to the WCB Appeals Commission which is a separate organization from the WCB. You must make this request for a review within two years of the DRDRB decision.
In order to file an appeal, make a written request which states:
- The DRDRB decision to be reviewed;
- Reasons why the DRDRB decision should be reviewed (you must provide detailed reasons and explanations); and
- Explanation of the result you want.
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 court appearances.
An Appeals Commission decision is a final decision of WCB. If you wish to make a further appeal, you can apply for a judicial review in the Court of Queen’s Bench. A judicial review can be requested if the decision made by the Appeals Commission raises questions of procedural misconduct or wrongdoing and violates a person’s right to a fair hearing. For example, you may believe that there were court procedure errors, an obvious disregard for the evidence, or that the decision-maker was biased or unfair. Discuss with a lawyer if you wish to appeal at this level.
Ombudsman of Alberta
If you believe that you were treated unfairly by WCB, you can apply for assistance from the Ombudsman of Alberta. The Ombudsman can begin an investigation only after you have tried all appeal opportunities.
If the Ombudsman starts an investigation, they will tell the you their discoveries. They cannot change WCB Appeals Commission decisions, but will make recommendations on how to resolve the issue.
Ombudsman’s Office Location
The Ombudsman has offices located in Edmonton and Calgary. The telephone number for the Edmonton Office is 780- 427-2756 (toll free in Alberta by first dialing 310-0000) and the Calgary Office is 403-297-6185.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.