What is the Fair Practices Office (FPO)?
The FPO is established by section 108.1(3) of The Workers Compensation Act (the "Act"). The Act requires the WCB to have a Fair Practice Office and authorizes the Board of Directors to establish the role and mandate of the FPO. The Board has done so in Policy 21.90, Fair Practices Office (the "Policy").
The FPO is required to report to the Board of Directors on issues of procedural fairness at the WCB.
What is the role of the FPO?
The FPO is an impartial, organizational ombudsman who works to ensure that the WCB's practices are fair. The FPO is concerned with fairness and is focused on reviewing situations in which individuals are concerned about an act, omission or unfair practice of the WCB.
What types of issues does the FPO address?
The FPO deals with issues of procedural fairness. In other words, the FPO impartially reviews practices and procedures of the WCB to make sure they are fair. The FPO reviews procedural fairness with reference to the following factors:
- Did the party have a reasonable opportunity to state or present his or her case?
- Was there an opportunity for the party to challenge or dispute information that was presented to the decision-maker?
- Was the decision-maker impartial?
- Did the decision-maker provide adequate, understandable reasons for his or her decision?
How does the FPO work?
The FPO is primarily focused on reviewing complaints made by individuals affected by WCB decisions. This will often be a worker, an employer, or an external health care provider.
The FPO may also launch investigations into systemic problems on their own initiative, in situations where there appears to be a pattern of unfair or unreasonable practice.
Whether prompted by a complaint or undertaken on their own initiative, the FPO is authorized to make recommendations for improvement to WCB practices and procedures.
What are the limits of the FPO's jurisdiction?
The FPO does not have jurisdiction to comment on or change a substantive decision of the WCB. The FPO is not a decision-maker under the Act.
The FPO is not an avenue for workers or employers to appeal a specific decision related to their case. The WCB has a separate appeals process for reviewing such decisions.
Disagreement with a WCB decision, absent of a procedural concern about fairness, does not give the FPO jurisdiction to investigate.
How do I make a complaint to the FPO?
Complaints to the FPO should be restricted to unfair or unreasonable treatment experienced while engaged in the WCB's processes. If your concern is with a specific decision, you should speak to staff handling your claim and, if necessary, appeal the decision following the WCB process for appeals.
If you feel that the practices and procedures used by the WCB were unfair or unreasonable, you can contact the FPO:
- Telephone (204) 954 4467 or Toll Free 1-855-954-4321
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: Fair Practices Office, 333 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4W3