Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you do not find your question in the list below, please contact us.
The Appeal Commission FAQ
What is the Appeal Commission?
The Appeal Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal established under The Workers Compensation Act (the Act) to deal with appeals arising from decisions made by the Workers Compensation Board Review Office or Assessment Committee.
The Appeal Commission also hears applications submitted pursuant to subsection 68(4) of the Act, which involves determining whether or not a right of action is removed by the Act. The Appeal Commission also acts as the final level of appeal for victims of crime filed under the provisions of The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act and The Victims' Bill of Rights.
The Appeal Commission is independent of the Workers Compensation Board (WCB). All appeal commissioners, including the Chief Appeal Commissioner are appointed through an Order-in-Council by the Provincial Government. The commissioners are not employees of the WCB.
Who are the appeal commissioners?
Commissioners Representing the Public Interest
|Lynne Harrison||Full-time commissioner|
|Karen Dyck||Part-time commissioner|
|Denny Kells||Part-time commissioner|
|Christian Monnin||Part-time commissioner|
|Alan Scramstad||Chief Appeal Commissioner|
|Karen Wittman||Part-time commissioner|
Commissioners Representing Workers
|Shauna Briscoe||Part-time commissioner|
|Mark Kernaghan||Part-time commissioner|
|Dale Neil||Part-time commissioner|
|Marc Payette||Part-time commissioner|
|Susan Smerchanski||Part-time commissioner|
|Pete Walker||Full-time commissioner|
Commissioners Representing Employers
|Margaret Bencharski||Part-time commissioner|
|Renae Campbell||Part-time commissioner|
|Christiane Devlin||Part-time commissioner|
|Allan Finkel||Full-time commissioner|
|Ron Koslowsky||Part-time commissioner|
|Pam Marsden||Part-time commissioner|
|Peter J. Wiebe||Registrar|
|Roger Lafrance||Assistant Registrar|
How is the Appeal Commission different from the WCB?
The Appeal Commission is separate from the WCB. The Commission's mandate is to hear and decide appeals from workers and employers. The Commission can only deal with matters which have already been decided by the WCB Review Office or Assessment Committee.
Can I file an appeal with the Appeal Commission?
A worker (or if a worker is deceased, the worker's dependants) or an employer may submit an appeal to the Appeal Commission after receipt of a written decision from the Workers Compensation Board Review Office or Assessment Committee. If new issues are raised prior to or at a hearing, they will be referred back to the Workers Compensation Board.
Your representative may also file an appeal on your behalf. A representative may be a worker advisor, a consultant in private practice whom you have hired, a friend, a union representative, a lawyer or any other person you authorize to act on your behalf.
Are there time limits to file and appeal?
No. You may appeal a decision at any time. If you intend to obtain further information, medical or otherwise, you should obtain that information before appealing.
How do I start an appeal?
You start your appeal by filling out and sending in an appeal form. It is important to include your WCB claim number(s) or employer firm number(s), and the date of the WCB decision(s) you are appealing. This form may be sent to the Appeal Commission by mail, email or fax. The forms are available on this web site, or by contacting the Appeal Commission at (204) 925-6116.
Do I need a representative?
You can appeal a decision to the Appeal Commission on your own or with the help of a representative. The Appeal Commission is committed to providing a fair hearing whether you have a representative or not. The Appeal Commission does not arrange or pay for representation.
Where can I get help?
If you are a worker, there are individuals and agencies that may help you make your appeal, e.g.:
- Your Union Representative
Your union representative may have experience in dealing with the appeal process and may be able to answer any questions you may have or possibly represent you at an appeal hearing.
- Worker Advisor Office
The Worker Advisor Office is a branch of the Manitoba Department of Labour and is independent of the WCB. Worker advisors are knowledgeable about the compensation system and can help you with the appeal process. The services of a worker advisor are available free of charge. More information on worker advisors is available by contacting the Worker Advisor Office in your area.
Winnipeg and the surrounding area
406-401 York Avenue
(204) 945-5787 or 1-800-282-8069 toll free
Brandon and the surrounding area
Room 328 340 - 9th Street
If you are an employer, you may represent yourself in an appeal. You may also choose to be represented by a lawyer or any other person.
What happens after I file an appeal?
After you file your appeal with the Appeal Commission, all parties (usually the worker and employer) are contacted by the Commission to ensure information is complete and accurate so that the appeal may proceed. Once all parties to an appeal have confirmed they are ready to proceed, the Commission will contact them by telephone to schedule a date for the appeal to be addressed.
What is the length of the appeal process?
The appeal process can vary greatly in length depending on the particular situation. This time allows both parties to prepare their cases. In some instances, further information is required and this takes additional time to gather. The complexity of the appeal may also affect the length of time it takes to finalize your appeal.
Where do the hearings take place?
Hearings are held in Winnipeg at the Appeal Commission offices.
600-330 St. Mary Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3Z5
Phone: (204) 925-6110
Fax: (204) 943-4393
What type of hearing can I have?
The type of hearing you have depends on the issue(s) you bring to the Appeal Commission. You may request either an oral hearing or a file review. However, the Chief Appeal Commissioner, or the panel addressing your appeal, have the final authority to determine the most appropriate method for the appeal.
Oral hearings are the most common appeal forum. If the appeal is more complex, it will probably be decided by an oral hearing. The party requesting the hearing usually must appear in person at the hearing and present the appeal to the panel verbally. In certain situations, the Appeal Commission may allow a party to participate via teleconference. The appeal can be supported by a written submission. Witnesses may attend in support of the appeal. The Appeal Commission must be advised if witnesses will be attending. Some examples of appeals decided by an oral hearing are:
- where additional evidence is to be presented
- where there is a fatality
- where serious injury has occurred
- where an occupational disease is involved
- where the decision may have an important impact on how WCB policy is interpreted or applied
- where the facts are in dispute
An appeal can be decided by a file review if all the issues are easy to understand from the file documents. The panel reaches a decision after it conducts a full review of the file documentation and any written evidence submitted by the parties with a direct interest. If an appeal is decided by a file review, parties do not have to appear in person before the appeal panel. Some examples of appeals commonly decided by file review include:
- most assessment appeals
- factual matters such as the level of average earnings
- applications for an increase in permanent partial impairment where no wage loss is involved
- payment of medical aid/travel expenses
- appeals where the facts of the case are not in dispute
If I cannot make it to my hearing, what should I do?
- You should inform the Appeal Commission and request that the appeal be re-scheduled as far in advance of the scheduled hearing date as possible. Doing this in a timely manner ensures that no party is negatively affected by the delay.
- The appeal panel will consider your request and either grant or refuse it.
- If you cannot attend and do not advise us, the hearing may proceed, thereby the outcome of your appeal will be determined by a documentary review of the information available to the panel.
Will the hearing be recorded?
A court reporter is present at all oral hearings to record the proceedings. A copy of the transcript is placed onto the file. You may not make your own recording. As parties are not present at file reviews, the proceedings are not recorded.
How long does a hearing take?
Hearings continue for as long as necessary so the panel may hear the evidence and submissions of all parties. They can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a number of days, but the average hearing is approximately 2 hours long.
Can I bring a relative or friend to the hearing?
You may bring a spouse or friend for moral support. You must advise the Appeal Commission of the number of people you are planning to bring with you to the hearing, as well as their names, prior to the hearing date. The panel will decide the status of each person at the time of the hearing.
What should I wear to the hearing?
Hearings at the Appeal Commission are informal. Therefore, you may wear what you are comfortable in. You do not have to dress up, however, we ask that you do not wear inappropriate clothing.
How can I prepare myself for the hearing?
- Ensure all submissions, evidence, required medical reports and other related information have been sent to the Appeal Commission at least one week prior to the hearing/review date.
- Obtain representation (if you wish).
- Confirm the date and time of the hearing with your representative.
- Be prepared to discuss why you feel the decision should be overturned or upheld.
What should I bring with me to the hearing?
The Appeal Commission uses your actual WCB claim file so you do not need to bring, or submit to us, copies of any information from your claim file. If you will use information that is not on your claim file please ensure we receive it at least 5 business days before your hearing. We recommend that you bring any other notes or information you find helpful in making your presentation.
What happens at the hearing?
- All parties meet in the Appeal Commission waiting room prior to the scheduled hearing time.
- The parties are then brought into the hearing room and seated.
- The parties are introduced and the chair of the panel makes an opening statement and explains how the hearing will be conducted.
- The party requesting the appeal makes their full presentation, including the advancement of their arguments and the calling of any witnesses.
- The other party to the appeal then makes their full presentation.
- The panel may ask questions of each party.
- At the discretion of the panel, other parties may ask questions of each other.
- The parties then make their closing remarks.
- The panel can only consider issues previously decided by the WCB. If a new issue is raised at the hearing, it will be referred back to the WCB for consideration.
What happens after the hearing?
A decision and the reasons for it will be made within 60 days after the completion of the hearing. All parties will receive a copy of the decision. If additional information is required, all parties will be provided with a copy of the information and given a reasonable period to make any comment.
We also send a copy of the written decision to the WCB. The WCB is responsible for implementing the decision.
What can I do once I have received a final decision that I do not agree with?
You may apply for reconsideration, however, the Appeal Commission will not reconsider its decision simply because you are dissatisfied with it. For more information on the reconsideration process please review our informational brochure, Reconsideration of Appeal Commission Decisions, or contact us.
If you think the panel acted outside its authority or has erred in applying the Act, Regulations or WCB policy, you can write to the Board of Directors of the WCB and ask them to review the decision. You must identify the error made by the panel. Should the Board of Directors consider that an error has been made, they may order that the appeal be re-heard. Requests must be made within 90 calendar days of the release of the appeal decision. For more information please contact the WCB.
If my appeal is successful, when will I receive compensation?
The Appeal Commission has no authority to pay benefits under the Act. That authority rests solely with the WCB. Once the Appeal Commission has heard your appeal, it will make a decision about the issue(s) considered at the hearing. The Appeal Commission will then return your file to the WCB, where a case manager will arrange to make any necessary payments and schedule any referrals arising as a result of the Commission's decisions. The length of time it will take for payment of your benefits will vary depending on the details of the decision.
Can I get my travel expenses and/or lost wages paid by the Appeal Commission?
If you are a worker and are required to miss work to attend your hearing you will be reimbursed for actual wages lost. The Appeal Commission will verify your wages with your employer.
If you are a worker you may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred to attend the hearing. If, for health reasons you are unable to travel alone, you may also be reimbursed the expenses of a companion. Please contact the Appeal Commission for further information about eligible expenses.
You are responsible for all fees charged by your personal representative for your appeal and any expenses incurred by witnesses you bring with you.