Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1269 15
11/08/2015
J. Moore - B. Young - D. Broadbent
  • Work transition plan (suitability of program)
  • Work reintegration (relocation)
  • Loss of earnings {LOE} (deemed earnings) (relocation)

A truck driver was struck in the face in March 2008, when a chain snapped and crashed through the rear window of the truck. The Board granted the worker a 5% NEL award for post-traumatic generalized seizure disorder. He was unable to drive as a result of his injury. In 2009, the worker moved from the urban location where he had been living to a rural location. In 2011, the Board determined that work transition services were not feasible because the worker had moved to a location where there was no possibility of transporting himself to employment. In 2012, the Board based LOE benefits on deemed earnings at minimum wage as a light duty cleaner. The worker appealed.

The worker had wanted an SO in small engine repair. He indicated that there were employment opportunities in that SO in his local area. The Board, being of the view that the worker would have to be self-employed, was not willing to support such an SO.
The Panel found that an SO of light duty cleaner was not appropriate for the worker. The worker had a previous compensable ankle injury, for which he was receiving a 25% NEL award for chronic pain disability. He had medical restrictions against standing and repetitive lifting. Considering the previous injury and restrictions, work as a light duty cleaner was not appropriate.
The Panel found that the SO of small engine repair was appropriate for the worker. There was evidence that, with appropriate training, this SO would be achievable and that there was a reasonably good prospect of the worker obtaining employment in his local area. This SO was consistent with his restrictions associated with the previous ankle injury and with residual symptoms from the 2008 injury. The worker was entitled to WT services with the SO of small engine repair. As of 2014, the worker was able to drive, so that he was capable of driving to, and participating in, a WT program.
From 2012 to 2014, the Panel confirmed the LOE benefits based on deemed earnings at minimum wage. The worker had moved to the rural location, knowing that he was unable to drive and that there were no other reasonable transportation options to attend rehabilitation services or suitable employment. The inability to drive was related to his compensable condition but the decision to move was a personal one unrelated to his compensable condition. This case was not a matter of the Board expecting the worker to relocate from an rural home to an urban setting. Rather, it was the worker who relocated from an urban home to a rural setting, thus placing himself in a position where access to rehabilitation services was not available.
The appeal was allowed in part.