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WORKERS’ COMPENSATION - Benefits - Entitlement to benefits - Legislation - Interpretation - Appeals and judicial review

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 9:02 AM  

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Petition by Zechel for judicial review of a Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal decision that she was not entitled to workers compensation. Zechel was an Air Canada flight attendant who lived in Manitoba, whose employment was based in British Columbia (BC) and who was injured, possibly in international air space, while returning to BC. The Tribunal concluded that, because she did not live in BC, she did not meet the requirements of s. 8(1)(b) of the Workers Compensation Act (Act).

HELD: Petition allowed. The Tribunal’s decision was patently unreasonable. A careful reading of s. 8 of the Act revealed that the Legislature intended that coverage would be provided where a worker who was normally employed in BC was temporarily transferred by the employer to another jurisdiction and injured while working outside the province. The Legislature intended to extend coverage to a worker whose temporary day-to-day job function was not sufficiently connected to the province. The Tribunal failed to consider s. 8 within the context of the legislation as a whole, including ss. 5 and 5.1, and its object. The Tribunal’s literal interpretation of s. 8 led to the absurd result of no coverage for Zechel and hundreds of flight crew members like her. The matter was remitted to the Tribunal for rehearing.

Air Canada v. British Columbia (Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal), [2017] B.C.J. No. 1808, British Columbia Supreme Court, September 12, 2017. TLD-October162017006