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For example, in order for an employer to request a file copy, they
must identify the disagreement with a decision and the date that the
decision was made. If the employer did not receive a letter with the
decision – as they often do not – they are unable to request a file copy
to be used for the purpose of appealing the decision. The WCB’s
protocol in this regard is putting employers at an unfair disadvantage
and leaves employers feeling as they have no options when they
disagree with a claim file. Should the employer decide to pursue an
appeal, they must do so without any supporting file documentation.
Essentially, employers do not feel that they are being heard.
The Committee of Review (several committees from different
years) has long recommended that the WCB institute an employers’
advocate to provide employers with a fair voice in the same manner
that the workers’ advocate speaks for employees. In the current system,
the view is that employers are often left to fend for themselves
at great financial expense. The WCB recently announced that it will
develop an Employer Resource Centre, fully staffed for Sept. 3, 2019.
While this is a step in the right direction, the Employer Resource
Centre will not have the same capabilities that the workers’ advocate
In the past, employers could request a file copy if they had a “disputable
issue,” and the file would first be redacted by the worker to
remove any information not related to the claim, which was fair.
Now, however, when a file copy is obtained by an employer, it is
typically only a couple of pages – most of which are the forms requesting
the file. This change in allowable information exchange
puts employers at a distinct disadvantage to dispute what they may
view as incorrect or fraudulent claims. How can employers make
their case for an appeal without a file copy to help present necessary
evidence? There exists a misconception by the general public,
where people believe that the WCB errs on the side of caution and
releases more information than needed when it comes to claim disputes,
but that is simply not the case.
Other provincial Workers’ Compensation Boards across Canada
have a streamlined process and quick timelines to get a file copy
for appeal purposes. In Saskatchewan, the process has become very
daunting with unrealistic timelines and protocols.
In the business world where companies are ISNetworlddependent
for work, this new system for file releases puts most large
employers in this province in a precarious position – and could end
up costing employers millions of dollars. In an economy where business
is so competitive, restricting information to employers could
be the end of some businesses. Employers need a better process to
access information and avenues for appeal.
Employers and workers are equal stakeholders in the workers’
compensation equation, and their rights should be balanced.
The Saskatchewan WCB has effectively shut employers
out of the process.
The WCB needs to sit down with employers and see how the system
can be improved.
In its current state, the WCB is not employer-friendly and employers
are frustrated. Many large employers and industry associations
have met with the WCB and feel that their comments are
falling on deaf ears. The WCB must shift itself back to neutral and
view both the worker and employer as equal stakeholders in the
The WCB needs to sit down with employers
and see how the system can be improved.
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 3 2019 | Think BIG 55