Do this before hiring a WCB lawyer

Dear Blue Collar,

I live in Alberta and want to challenge an entitlement decision on my claim. The question is, should I hire an Edmonton WCB lawyer or a Calgary WCB lawyer?

(A) First off, overturning a claim decision begins with your case worker and h/her direct supervisor. Failing an amicable resolution at this level, the Request for Review is escalated to the Decision Review and Dispute Resolution Board. At this point, if things don’t your way, recourse may be sought with the Appeals Commission, a independent administrative tribunal that is separate and distinct from the WCB.

Now, if the Appeals Commission upholds WCB’s decision, you retain the option to pursue a judicial review. That said, the Court of Queen’s Bench has proven to be highly averse to overturning the AC’s rulings. The Court of Queen’s Bench will not contemplate questions of fact that pertain to your claim, but rather, to be reviewable, the case must turn on a pure question of law i.e., matters of jurisdiction or errors in procedure. Simply put, it’s exceedingly difficult to persuade a court system that’s backlogged by COVID to scrutinize an AC ruling. Exceptionally difficult actually. As such, every effort should be made to resolve disputes on the WCB levels of appeal. This means you should hire an experienced WCB specialist, someone who knows their way around WCB, not a courthouse.

In summary, consider a WCB specialist first, and then a WCB lawyer only as a last resort. You’d also want to contact the Office of the Ombudsman before pursuing a judicial review. Also bear in mind that Blue Collar Consulting specializes in claimant advocacy and appeal preparation and representation. Over and over again, we find that strategic negotiation with the Board will take you much further than rushing to file a statement of claim against the government.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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About Me

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training. 

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Blue Collar Consulting

Blue Collar Consulting is a WCB and disability management firm. The company specializes in rapid and affordable disability solutions that advance current claims, contain the cost of future claims, and get injured workers back on their feet. 

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