Document name
Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) – General
Document number
PRO 23/2010

Effective date: September 1, 2010

Application: All (re) assessments for PFI or disfigurement on or after the effective date.

Policy subject: Permanent functional impairment (PFI)


To establish guidelines for assessing Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) awards.


Policy section content
Section detail
  1. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved POL 23/2010, Permanent Functional Impairment – General.
  2. The following procedure provides guidelines for assessing Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) awards.


Policy section content
Section detail
  1. Medical Services will provide PFI evaluations based on the most current edition of The American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides).
  2. Where medical reports in the claimant’s file are inadequate to determine a PFI rating, Medical Services will first request that updated medical, including recent examination results, be provided by the attending caregiver(s). If updated medical reports are still inadequate to evaluate the permanent impairment, Medical Services will request that an examination be arranged by either:
    1. a WCB accredited community caregiver familiar with conducting injury related physical or mental health examinations; or
    2. a WCB consultant.

      In all cases, the whole person impairment will be reviewed and rated by an experienced WCB consultant trained in the use of the AMA Guides.

  3. For disfigurement evaluation, the worker may be requested to provide color photographs of the affected areas. All reasonable costs associated with providing these photographs will be reimbursed to the worker.
  4. Payment of a PFI award is based on a percentage rating applied to the maximum award. As per points 3 and 4 of POL 23/2010, PFI – General, the amount payable is determined by the thresholds in effect at the time of the determination of the award.
  5. In a situation where a worker suffers multiple injuries from a single incident, the WCB consultant will apply the AMA Guides’ Combined Values Chart (CVC) to rate the impact of the injuries on the overall whole person impairment (WPI).
  6. Workers with a PFI rating of 10 per cent or greater are to be considered for the Independence Allowance. PFI awards for hearing loss will not be eligible. POL 31/2016, Allowance – Independence will apply.
  7. In cases of progressive impairment due to disease or repetitive trauma (e.g., progressive post traumatic osteoarthritis or post-surgical fibrosis), each stage of development of the impairment will not be compensated. These situations are to be handled as increases to the original injury rather than as new injuries. As a result, the difference between the former rating and the recent rating will be calculated according to the established legislation at the time of assessment.
  8. Where a rating falls within the minimum range and a minimum lump sum award is provided, no further award shall be paid until the condition exceeds the minimum percentage applicable.
  9. The lump sum award is to be expressed to the worker in terms of both dollars and percentage.
  10. Workers are to be informed as to how their PFI award has been calculated and that the amount they receive may differ from others with the same PFI. The amount payable is dependent on the legislation in effect when a decision is made to pay an award. This also applies in cases of a minimum award, where workers with apparently more, or less, functional impairment may have received different amounts.
  11. The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will review POL 23/2010, PFI – General, and this procedure on an annual basis to ensure the correct edition of the AMA Guides is being used to determine PFI awards.

Policy references

Policy reference content

Section heading

Legislative Authority

Section detail

The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013

19(1), 20, 66, 76(1), 81, 93

Page/document title
01 January 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013

Section heading

Document History

Section detail

PRO 05/2007 PFI - General
PRO 10/2007 Disfigurement Awards
March 2018. Policy and procedure review completed. No changes required.

January 1, 2014. Reference updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013.

December 2012. Policy and procedure review completed. No changes required.

POL and PRO 05/2007, PFI – General (effective May 1, 2007 to August 31, 2010).

POL and PRO 10/2007, Disfigurement Awards (effective September 1, 2007 to August 31, 2010).

POL 13/2010, PFI – Occupational Disease (was to be effective February 3, 2012 but not implemented as superseded September 1, 2010)

Section heading


Call to action
Two people signing documents
Two people signing documents

Looking for the full policy manual?

Click here to download the WCB’s current Policy and Procedure Manual.

Call to action button
Download full manual