Effective date: December 1, 2023
Application: All customers.
Policy subject: General
To outline the Board’s legislative authority to establish policy directives.
Policy directives are policy and procedure documents that form the basis of decisions made or actions performed under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”). Policy directives clarify the meaning and application of the Act and supporting regulations while ensuring overall compliance with the Act. They ensure consistent interpretation and provide guidance when the legislation allows discretionary decision making.
• Policies are the decision-making framework authorized by the Board Members (Board) throughout the year to interpret legislation and regulation.
• Procedures are authorized by WCB's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and support policies by providing specific instructions for day-to-day tasks or functions required to implement policy.
1. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Board Members, as appointed under Section 9 of the Act, are responsible for the governance and proper administration of matters governed by the Act (POL 18/2021, Governance Policy).
2. The Act recognizes the authority of the Board to develop policy directives (Sections 2(1)(ee), 18 and 23). These directives may be in respect to any matter or thing that is governed by the Act and that the Board considers necessary and appropriate (Section 18(5.1)).
3. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations setting out guidelines for the making of decisions by the board, and a regulation made pursuant to this subsection supersedes any policy directive of the Board that conflicts with it (Section 187(2)).
4. The Board is required to make policy directives available to the public in a manner that the Board considers necessary (Section 19(2)).
5. The Board shall make its decisions on the real merits and justice of each case and is not bound to follow any legal precedent, but may consider its policy directives (Section 23).
1. The Board delegates its powers and functions to its staff through policy directives. Policy directives, as authorized by the Board and CEO, are developed to:
1. Ensure a consistent interpretation of legislation and regulations.
2. Provide direction to guide present and future actions and decisions.
3. Ensure a fair and reasonable decision-making process.
4. Support quality, consistency and accountability in the provision of workers’ compensation services.
2. The development of policy directives is a formal process within the WCB, with specific processes and sign-offs designed to ensure organization-wide consultation and collaboration in the drafting and revision of policies and procedures.
3. Policy development is guided by the following principals and core values:
1. Transparency for customers and WCB staff while ensuring other factors such as confidentiality and privacy.
2. Adaptive to current and changing circumstances.
3. Understandable using clear language guidelines.
4. Horizontally-integrated across numerous WCB departments and areas of responsibility.
5. Results-focused that progresses towards objectives or desired results that can be measured.
6. Evidence-based, reliable, verifiable evidence that supports the analysis of the issues and solutions and measures the effectiveness of the selected approach.
7. Implementable given the tools and resources available.
4. Policy directives are regularly evaluated in order to ensure clarity, relevancy and fairness in how they are applied.
Effective Date and Application
5. All policies and procedures have both an effective date and an application statement. Taken together, these identify when, how and to whom or what a policy directive will apply.
Access to Policy Directives
6. All current policy directives, other than administrative documents, are published electronically on WCB’s website.
7. Upon request, the WCB will provide paper copies of individual policy directives during business hours in the reception areas of the Regina and Saskatoon offices.
8. To provide customers with timely access to new and updated policy directives, the WCB offers a free policy notification subscription service. Subscribers are notified by email when new or updated policies are posted to WCB’s website.
9. The website is updated within 30 days of the effective date of each new or revised policy and procedure.
10. Decisions made or actions performed by WCB staff must be consistent with the provisions of the Act and Regulations, policy directives, and the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.
11. There may be rare or exceptional circumstances where the Act and policy directives do not apply to a particular case. In these circumstances, a decision will be made on its own particular facts, in accordance with the general provisions of the Act and the merits and justice of each case (POL 02/2019, Decision Making).
12. The obligation to determine each case on the basis of merits and justice does not authorize staff to disregard the relevant provisions of the Act or any policy. There must be compliance with the Act and with policies, if they apply to a particular case.
13. The Board and CEO recognize the need to extend authority to the Assistant Director of Legal and Policy to make non-substantive housekeeping changes to policy directives as necessary, for changes that are purely administrative in nature, without going through the policy development and full approval process to ensure a timely response.
14. Changes to policy directives that exceed this authority must be approved through either the policy development process or through signatory authorization by a Vice President (administrative practice), the CEO (procedure) or Board (policy).
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