Document name
Occupational Disease
Document number
PRO 04/2017

Effective date: October 1, 2017

Application: All Occupational Disease injuries on or after the effective date.

Policy subject: Decision making - Injuries


To establish guidelines for occupational disease injuries.


Policy section content
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POL 04/2017, Injuries – Occupational Disease provides guidelines for when the WCB considers a disease or disorder to be an occupational disease. The following procedure, along with the attached appendices, outlines how Operations staff determine if a disease or disorder is an occupational disease.


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  1. To ensure the most up-to-date occupational disease information is being applied, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will periodically review the appendices for occupational diseases.
  2. The CMO will consult with Saskatchewan’s Chief Occupational Medical Officer regarding the most current available research and review literature around emerging occupational issues. The policies and the appendices for occupational diseases will be updated, as required.
  3. WCB Medical Officers review current literature when providing opinions on occupational disease claims.

Claim Decisions

  1. Operations staff will review claims on a case-by-case basis when considering if a disease or disorder arose out of and in the course of employment.
  2. Operations staff will fully develop each claim to determine if a disease or disorder arose out of an in the course of employment and will consider the following:
    1. The worker’s employment history and when exposure at work may have occurred. This includes, but is not limited to, confirming:
      1. The worker’s current and previous employers and industries of employment.
      2. The type of work or job duties required for employment and that may have resulted in exposure to a harmful substance.
      3. When and where the worker performed duties for employment.
    2. Non-work related factors that may have affected the disease or disorder. This includes considering the degree of both work and non-work related exposure.
    3. All relevant medical information and confirmation of the worker’s diagnosis. This includes considering the latency, progression, nature of the disease and if any non-work related factors may have contributed to the disease or disorder.
    4. Any additional guidelines provided through the attached appendices.
  3. Operations staff will make a decision that a disease or disorder was the result of exposure to a harmful substance during employment after weighing all of the available information. If evidence in support of an issue is approximately equal, the WCB will resolve the issue in favour of the worker (POL 02/2019, Decision Making).
  4. If there is any doubt as to the cause of the disease, Operations staff will consult with a WCB Medical Officer before denial of a claim.
  5. If Operations staff determine that a pre-existing condition has been accelerated or aggravated due to exposure or because of a disease or disorder, POL 12/2017, Pre-Existing Conditions – Aggravation or Acceleration will apply.
  6. All decisions are subject to review when additional medical, scientific or other information is received.
  7. If an accepted occupational disease results in a measurable permanent functional impairment, Medical and Health Care Services will determine if the worker is eligible for a Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) award (POL 23/2010, Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) – General).

Policy references

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Legislative Authority

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The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013
Sections 2(1)(r), 2(1)(aa), 20, 23, 49

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Document History

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(1)    January 1, 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013.
(2)    August 8, 2004, updated through ADM 03/2004 to reflect that guides concerning certain occupational diseases are to be attached to the procedure in compliance with 2001 Committee of Review recommendation 7.04.
(3)    POL and PRO 11/2003, Injuries – Occupational Disease (effective December 1, 2003 to September 30, 2017).
(4)    POL and PRO 07/1999, Injuries – Occupational Disease (effective February 1, 1999 to November 30, 2003).
(5)    Board Order 40/78, Noise Induced Hearing Loss (effective November 27, 1978). 

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