Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

The following is a list of common terms that appear on this website as well as in workers' compensation publications, decision letters, policies of the "board" etc.

The list is for general purposes only. Please refer to  the Find an Advisor or Advocate feature to contact a CAWAA member for help in understanding any term(s) you may need clarification on. 

The Act: The Workers’ Compensation Act.

Accommodation: Any change or adaptation to the work, hours of work, work duties or workplace, and includes the provision of equipment or assistive devices.

Aggravation: When you have been hurt on the job, and the work that you are doing makes your injury worse, either on a temporary basis or permanent basis. This can also include an irritation of an underlying condition that becomes disabling due to the work you are doing.

Alternate duties: These are non-pre-injury duties within the worker’s functional abilities.

Alternative work: A different job or bundle of duties (not the pre-injury job or duties) that is suitable and provided to accommodate a worker who has temporary or permanent functional restrictions as a result of the injury. 

Allow: This is where WCB agrees with someone requesting a review or an appeal of an issue covered by a decision or order under review or appeal, and approves that person’s requested change to the decision. 

Appellant: The party who initiates a review or appeal. This can be the worker, a dependent, or the employer. 

Assessment: Through a premium called an assessment, employers pay the entire cost of workers’ compensation.

Assistive devices: These include aids and attachments, specifically designed for the worker and/or required by the worker to perform job-related activities.

Benefit of Doubt: Where the evidence for and against an issue is evenly balanced, the decision favours the client.

Cancel: Means that WCB disagrees with the determinations made on every issue covered by a decision under review or appeal and has determined that the decision should be set aside without a new or changed decision being provided in its place. Cancellations are normally only ordered with respect to prevention issues.

Claim: Name for your compensation file.

Compensable: WCB decides that your injury or disease was caused by your work, and that you are entitled to benefits as a result.

Disability: The inability to perform certain activities, due to functional impairment.

Disallowed: This is where a claim is refused altogether, on the grounds that the worker is not covered by the legislation; activity that caused injury not part of his work; or injury suffered not caused by the work.

Disclosure: This is a copy of your WCB Claim file, including medical reports, correspondence, administrative logs and other information regarding your claim, as well as past reviews and appeals.

Dependents: Persons supported by the worker at the time of death, where death is the result of work injury or occupational disease. Including, but not limited to, family members.

Earning Capacity: The amount the WCB determines that the worker is capable of earning after accounting for the limitations due to the injury. This can be the amount the worker is actually earning, or a higher estimated amount.

Earnings Replacement: Any payment calculated to make up the difference between earning capacity before injury and after injury.

Ease back:  This is a gradual return to pre-injury hours of work achieved by increasing the number of hours worked over a defined time-frame agreed upon by the workplace parties and utilizing the functional abilities information relating to the worker. While the pre-injury hours of work vary, the pre-injury duties are the same. 

Effective date: The start date of the permanent part of your disability award (usually the day after your wage loss claim ends).

Entitlement: Your rights to benefits as they are listed in the Workers’ Compensation Act and or WCB policy.

Evidence: All the facts, medical opinions and statements that are available to assist in making a decision on your claim.

Health care benefits: Reimbursement or payment for the services of doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, etc., or for such things as medicine, hearing aids, slings, casts, splints, or special shoes. 

Hearing: When the Board convenes a face-to-face (or video conference) meeting and listens to your request for appeal and your presentation of evidence. 

Implementation: When WCB acts on, or puts into effect, a decision.

Issue: The question(s) that need to be resolved regarding a decision letter from WCB.

Jurisdiction: The power, right or authority given by the Workers’ Compensation Act to the Board to interpret and apply law or policy.

Limitations in Working: Specific work activities that the worker cannot perform due to functional impairment from injury. 

Merit: A determination of whether there is a likelihood of success in a compensation matter.

Modifications: These are changes to job schedule, equipment, organization of work and/or facilities.

Modified work: This occurs when changing the duties of the pre-injury job to accommodate the worker’s functional restrictions as a result of the injury. Modified work includes altering or removing some duties while the worker is still primarily in his or her pre-injury position.

No Time Loss: This is an accepted claim where no time was taken off after the day of injury. 

Objective Findings: These are verifiable indications of injury or disease that have been measured or observed by a medical professional usually through diagnostic testing. 

Overpayment: This is where the worker receives payment for a longer period or at a higher rate than entitled to. Any amount that has been wrongly paid out to a claimant is considered an overpayment.

PFI (Permanent Functional Impairment): A permanent functional impairment (PFI) happens when there is a permanent loss of physical or mental abilities because of a work injury. Examples include the loss of a finger or permanent brain damage.

Policy: The written rules of WCB. These rules are used to interpret specific sections of the Act to individual cases.

Proof: The effect of evidence, the establishment of a fact by evidence. The Act does not require absolute proof, but it does require that the WCB choose the most likely possibility.

Reconsideration: To change a decision made by a WCB Officer or an appellant body. In order to ask for reconsideration you will need new evidence or show the decision was a mistake of evidence or law.

Remedy: The benefits or action you are asking from WCB, should you be successful in your review/appeal.

Representative: A lawyer, union member or other knowledgeable person who will help you organize your review or appeal and advocate on your behalf.

Respondent: The person who is responding to the review or appeal. If you are requesting a review or appealing a decision, you are the appellant and WCB is the respondent.  

Review: A mechanism provided through the legislation for disputing a decision provided by WCB. 

Submissions: When you present your arguments on law, policy or facts regarding your case, either in person or in writing.

Suitable Work: Work that the employee is considered capable of performing, after allowing for remaining work limitations from injury.

Suspension (of benefits): Payment from WCB will stop if a worker is unavailable for treatment of the work injury. This can be due to personal circumstances or illness unrelated to work. When the worker is available or has had the treatment, payment may begin again. 

Time Loss: Accepted claim where a worker had to take time off work after the day of injury.

Travel Expenses: Workers can claim for travel expenses to attend medical treatment, etc, if the expenses exceed normal travel expenses to go to work.

Vocational rehabilitation: Aid to lessen or eliminate a disability caused by a work-related injury, and to help you get back to work. Examples of vocational rehabilitation are: counseling, vocational assessment and planning, job readiness/skill development, and job placement assistance.

Wage loss benefits: Should you lose time away from work due to disability caused from your work injury, WCB will pay wage loss replacement benefits. How wage loss is calculated or issues is subject to each individual jurisdiction.