CLAS succeeds in preserving worker’s right to procedural fairness

This spring, CLAS represented a worker whose claim for workers' compensation was denied because of a misapprehension made by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) regarding a doctor's evidence about the worker's injury.

The worker was employed as a press operator at a manufacturing firm, and was required by his job to regularly kneel and walk on his knees. He suffered a knee injury due to the time he spent kneeling at work. However, a doctor provided evidence to WCAT which underestimated the amount of time that the worker spent kneeling at work, and which concluded, as a result, that the worker’s knee injury was not caused by his employment.

WCAT agreed that the doctor’s assessment of the time the worker spent kneeling was incorrect, but still decided that the worker’s knee injury was not caused by his employment based on an assumption that any amount of kneeling would never cause the type of knee injury the worker suffered. This assumption was not grounded in the doctor’s evidence.

WCAT also denied the worker's application to submit new evidence showing that kneeling could, in certain circumstances, cause the worker’s knee injury.

CLAS represented the worker at judicial review in order to preserve the worker’s right to procedural fairness within the workers’ compensation appeal process. The British Columbia Supreme Court, in its decision, found in the worker’s favour. The Court determined that WCAT made a serious mistake by basing its decision on a doctor’s report which had a serious factual error with regard to the worker’s workplace activity. The Court also found that WCAT was procedurally unfair in preventing the worker from submitting new evidence to address this issue.