Alberta encourages a closer look at WCB's processes

Critics call for creation of tribunal to review long-standing contentious claims

The Alberta government will continue to press the Workers' Compensation Board to improve the fairness of its processes in light of a hostage-taking at the board's Edmonton offices, said Employment Minister Hector Goudreau.

A man, who said his WCB benefits were cut off after he injured his knee working as a carpenter, took nine people hostage on Oct. 21. The standoff ended peacefully 10 hours later.

Patrick Clayton, 38, faces 18 charges, including nine counts of unlawful confinement and six counts of pointing a firearm. His next court date is Nov. 13.

While Goudreau supports a review of the WCB, he said he's not advocating an overhaul. Instead, he spoke with the board's chairman and CEO to ensure the WCB is heading in the right direction and to look at what can be improved.

Liberal WCB critic Hugh MacDonald slammed the government for not creating a tribunal to review long-standing contentious claims — one of the 59 recommendations made by two government panels.

The province passed legislation to set up the tribunal in 2002 but there has been no action to open old cases, said MacDonald.

Goudreau said old decisions would only be reviewed if an injured worker presents new medical evidence.

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