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Tribunal to take a new look at old WCB cases

EDMONTON, Alta. -- Alberta truckers who feel they've been gypped by the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) following...

EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta truckers who feel they’ve been gypped by the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) following an injury will have the opportunity to re-open their claims.

But, the WCB is warning that it’s unlikely they’ll be able to collect retroactive benefits, even if a new hearing finds they were wronged the first time around. Instead, it appears it’s more of an exercise to see just how effective WCB has been in issuing compensation to injured workers.

Human Resources and Employment Minister, Clint Dunford, says that he will bring forward legislation in the spring, which would see a three-person tribunal assigned to re-opening old claims. There will be no age limit on the claims, meaning thousands of disgruntled workers could come forward.

“In effect, someone that had their claim turned down even 20 years ago potentially could have that decision reversed,” Dunford tells media. “They can expect a fair and impartial hearing because (the tribunal) is not under the control of the WCB.”

Workers who win their second go-round with the WCB will be eligible to receive benefits as of the day of the tribunal ruling, but not retroactively, according to Dunford. Only claims worth more than $250 would qualify and documentation would have to suggest unfairness.

That means that workers who have gone on to become gainfully employed despite their injuries may not be eligible for any compensation, except for the satisfaction of closure.

This move is part of a widespread restructuring of the WCB in Alberta.

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