The realities of the workers’ compensation system are a far cry from the principles of natural justice and
fairness which underlie B.C.’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
Workers risk losing their impairment awards on appeal when a decision is made that the award
overcompensates them for their injuries. In such a pension appeal, workers grapple with the
burdensome task of providing expensive, cogent medical evidence to contradict the board physicians’
often-partisan interpretation of the impairment. A vice chair has absolute discretion to downgrade a
worker’s pension award based on what is deemed to be “appropriate in the circumstances.”
It is ultimately a double-edged sword and workers are at the mercy of the panel that has the power to
determine what their percentage of impairment should be, even if the medical records support a higher
percentage of disability based on clearly defined scientific measurements of the worker’s injury.
If only we could go beyond the Looking Glass of the disingenuous, cumbersome and bureaucratic
workers’ compensation appeals process. Is it possible to instigate a fairer system for injured workers in
this province or are we too far gone to even suggest that such a scheme could exist in reality?
Read the case study in the winter 2012 edition of Today’s Teamsters 213.