WCB Plays Fast and Loose with Appeals Procedures

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Based on its previous 5 years claims experience, a frozen food manufacturer expected a workers’ comp rate cut. Instead, it got a rate hike. The explanation: Your industry is in a rate group with costs about 1.6 times the provincial average. The company appealed and WCAT ruled in its favour. The WCB was sure the WCAT had misinterpreted its rate setting policy. But rather than appeal the ruling, it put the case on hold and revised the policy. Then once the policy was in effect, it invoked it to reverse the WCAT ruling. The company cried foul. The WCB had acted unfairly, the court agreed. Changing a rule in response to a policy concern is one thing; but the WCB had changed the policy in response to an individual appeal. And it did so in a sneaky way without notifying the company [Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd, v Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2017 NSSC 245 (CanLII), Sept. 22, 2017].