WorkSafeBC, also known as the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) is established by the Workers Compensation Act and has a broad mandate that includes promoting workplace safety, enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and providing compensation, rehabilitation and other benefits to workers impacted by occupational injuries and diseases.
When and how to initiate a claim for WCB benefits
- If you suffer from a personal injury, repetitive strain injury, or any other condition you believe to be caused by your work or work activities you can file a claim.
- Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible, seek medical attention, and ensure your physician is aware that you are initiating a WCB claim.
- A WCB officer will be assigned to your case will decide your compensation entitlement based on documents and input provided by you, your employer and your physician. Decisions relating to entitlement may include wage loss, health care expenses, vocational rehabilitation, and pension benefits.
- Members must apply for WCB benefits on their own, but if their claim is denied or if their benefits are discontinued, they can call HEU’s WCB hotline at 604-456-7186 or toll-free at 1-877-438-5550 for advice or assistance.
What if I disagree with a WorksafeBC decision about my claim?
If WorkSafeBC has denied or reduced your claim for benefits, there is a process of appeal if you disagree with the decision.
HEU has a department that supports members who are appealing decisions made by WorkSafeBC concerning WCB claims for benefits.
A first stage review of a WorkSafeBC decision is done internally through the Workers’ Compensation Board Review Division. The union can provide summary advice at this level and in addition, workers have access to the Workers' Advisers Office at the Ministry of Labour (604-713-0360 or 1-800-663-4261). HEU will also provide direct representation at this level if the decision in question is related to vocational rehabilitation.
A second level of appeal is external to WorkSafeBC through the independent Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT). HEU provides direct representation to members at the WCAT level.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. WorkSafeBC has denied my request for benefits. What can I do?
If you disagree with a WorkSafeBC decision, you have the right to ask for a review of the decision by the Review Division within 90 days from the date of the decision letter.
The Review Division is an internal review where a review officer will take a second look at your application.
This internal review is the first level of appeal, so it’s important that you do not miss the 90-day time period to file your request for review.
2. What if I missed the 90-day due date to request a review?
You will need to provide good reasons why you missed the 90-day due date to request a review and show that it would be unjust if a review does not proceed.
3. Will HEU represent me at the Review Division level?
HEU will continue to provide advice and representation at the second level of appeal – the independent, quasi-judicial tribunal called the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT). But you need to go through this internal review first.
There’s one exception where HEU will still represent you at the Review Division’s internal review and that’s if you want a review of a vocational rehabilitation decision. (see question #13)
4. Where can I get assistance for the Review Division internal review?
HEU can still provide you with summary advice to help guide you by calling our hotline at 604-456-7186 or toll-free at 1-877-438-5550.
There’s also a dedicated office at the Ministry of Labour to help you – the Workers’ Advisers Office. You can call them for advice at 604-713-0360 or toll-free at 1-800-663-4261.
We strongly encourage all members to get advice early in the process.
5. How do I start a review?
You start a review by filling out a request for review form.
Contact the Review Division at 604-214-5411 or toll-free in B.C. at 1-888-922-8804 to get a form, or print it from the WorkSafeBC website.
You must file the request for review within 90 days from the date of the decision letter.
HEU recommends that you get a copy of your file first – this is called disclosure – before you fill out a request for review.
6. How do I get a copy of my file?
To get a copy of your file, contact WorkSafeBC’s Disclosure Department at 604-279-7607 or toll-free in B.C. at 1-888-967-5377 ext. 7607. You may also print a request for disclosure form.
7. What happens after I send the request for review form to the Review Division?
After the Review Division receives your request for review form, the Review Division will let you know it’s been received and will give you 28 days to provide reasons why you think WorkSafeBC made an incorrect decision.
This is why getting your file as early in the process as possible is a good idea.
If your employer is participating in the review, they may respond to your reasons. After the employer responds, you have 14 days to respond to what the employer has said.
8. How long will I wait to before I get a decision from the Review Division?
The Review Division has to make a decision within 150 days from the time it receives your request for review. The Review Division will let you know the due date for the decision.
9. Where can I find more information about requests for review?
10. What if the Review Division does not change the decision under review?
Most issues decided by the Review Division can be appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT).
11. What is the time limit for appealing to WCAT?
If you disagree with the decision at the Review Division, WCAT must receive your appeal within 30 days of the date of the decision. It’s important not to miss this deadline.
12. Where can I get assistance for a WCAT appeal?
HEU will assist you in an appeal at the WCAT. Please contact HEU at 604-456-7186 or toll-free at 1-877-438-5550.
13. What if the WorkSafeBC decision is about vocational rehabilitation?
HEU can provide you with advice or representation on vocational rehabilitation issues at the Review Division. This is because there’s no appeal against these decisions to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT).
Please contact HEU at 604-456-7186 or toll-free at 1-877-438-5550, if you need assistance with a vocational rehabilitation review.
Remember that there’s a 90-day time limit, so contact us as soon as possible after you get your WorkSafeBC vocational rehabilitation decision.
NOTE: This Q&A explains the process in general. It is not intended as advice for your particular claim or issue.