Fair Practices Office
The Fair Practices Office (FPO) was established in November 2003 to provide service to both injured workers and employers. It operates much like an internal ombudsman. The role of the office is to listen to customer concerns, provide information on how the WCB system operates and try to resolve problems. Most files are resolved at the intake level but those requiring detailed review or investigation are referred to the Fair Practices Officer.
Contact the FPO:
Toll Free: 1.888.787.8651
Read the 2015 Fair Practices Office Annual Report. (PDF)
Neutral and Impartial
The FPO is neutral and impartial. It is independent of the departments responsible for the decisions it reviews because it reports directly to the Board Members through the Chair.
The FPO must ensure that the review process is fair to all concerned. To be fair, the review process requires that:
- The worker or employer is aware that an issue is under review
- The worker or employer is aware that information from their file will be requested and reviewed to make the decision
- The individual affected by the decision is given a chance to provide additional information or to challenge existing information
- All relevant information is considered when making a decision;
- The decision maker is unbiased
- The individual affected by the decision is notified of the decision and given reasons for the decision.
Issues the FPO can deal with
- Delays in decision-making, communication, payment, etc.
- Written and verbal communication
- Staff conduct
- Implementation of Appeal and Board decisions
- Payments of wage loss, medical or travel expenses, independence allowance, permanent functional impairment (PFI) awards, etc.
- Vocational rehabilitation services
- Employer classification, assessments, experience rating, etc.
- Application of policy and procedure.
Issues the FPO can’t deal with
- Conduct or decision of the Board Members. A request for such an investigation must be directed to the Ombudsman Saskatchewan.
- Decisions currently before the Appeals Committee or issues involving the right to appeal at any level. The FPO can only outline the information on which a decision was based or the policy or procedure that was applied.
- A decision or action made on a claim more than a year ago that the worker or employer has not pursued. The Office deals with issues that currently affect injured workers or employers. Although there is no time limit in which to request a review, timely action is important.
- Changes to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 or its Regulations. Only the Saskatchewan legislature can change this provincial law. Every four years any interested person or group may meet with the Committee of Review to suggest changes to the Act.
File an Inquiry
The FPO will accept inquiries from:
- Injured workers or employers may inquire about a specific claim issue.
- A representative appointed to act on behalf of an injured worker or employer
- Any member of the public can request general information about workers’ compensation.
All contact with the FPO is confidential. You can contact the office by toll-free phone or fax, postal mail, e-mail or in person at the Regina WCB office. Please note that the office will only provide general information by e-mail because of concerns about confidentiality.
- Talk to the WCB staff member who made the decision in question. The compensation system is complex, and good communication is needed to clarify why and how decisions are made. Before bringing issues to the Fair Practices Office, try to resolve your issue over the phone or in a meeting with the WCB staff member who made the decision in question.
- If you still have questions or think you have been treated unfairly, you can contact the FPO by phone, mail, fax or e-mail.
- Upon receiving your inquiry or complaint, the Intake and Inquiry Officer in the FPO reviews the file information and answers questions regarding the issue. This may include contacting the WCB staff member who has authority to deal directly with the issue. Often, the question can be answered the same day. Approximately 75 % of all inquiries are resolved at this level.
- If the inquiry or complaint is more complex and requires a detailed investigation, the inquiry is referred to the Fair Practices Officer. The current Fair Practices Officer is Dana Stutsky.
The Fair Practices Officer will review all available claim or employer files and research policy and procedure. This may take considerable time depending on the complexity of the issues in question. The Officer may then make recommendations to the appropriate WCB department manager for corrective actions. If these recommendations are declined at the management level and the Officer is not satisfied with the reasons given, the matter may be presented to the CEO and ultimately the Board Chairman for review with the Board Members. The recommendations of the Officer are not binding.
Even if all of these steps have been followed, there may still be disagreement about a decision that has been made. At any time during the process you can exercise other options:
- Workers can contact the Office of the Worker’s Advocate.
- Employers and workers can file formal appeals to be dealt with by the WCB Appeals Committee or the Board Members.
For issues involving the conduct or decision of the Board Members, employers and workers can contact Ombudsman Saskatchewan.