Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 430 20
R. Nairn
  • Travel expenses (personal activity)
  • Health care (medical aid) (marijuana)
  • Health care (rent differential)

The worker suffered multiple injuries in a motor vehicle accident in November 2005, for which the Board granted the worker an 82% NEL award. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for medical marijuana, rent differential and certain travel expenses.

On the evidence, the worker had entitlement for medical marijuana. The Vice-Chair noted that the new Board policy on cannabis for medical purposes was not applicable to this appeal.
The worker requested payment for the difference in rent she was paying between her pre-accident, inaccessible apartment and the amount she paid in the accessible apartment to which she moved.
The Vice-Chair noted that, while the legislation and Board policy make it clear that the worker would have been entitled to modifications to her home to assist in facilitating independent living, there was no specific provision in the policy for the type of payment the worker was requesting. However, like in Decision No. 2511/06, the Vice-Chair was satisfied that the payment of this rent differential was warranted by the circumstances of the case and is a reasonable "measure" to help improve the quality of life of this severely impaired worker.
The Board policy on travel expenses would reimburse the worker for her taxi costs if necessary to get her to a medical appointment. However, the worker was not requesting reimbursement for those expenses but, rather, she requested reimbursement for taxi services for other general activities of daily living.
The Vice-Chair found that the worker was not entitled to reimbursement for the taxi services in question either as part of her personal care allowance or as a valid health care measure. Like the ARO, the Vice-Chair found that those expenses were more appropriately covered as part of the worker's independent living allowance. The appropriateness of the worker's independent living allowance was not an issue in this appeal. Accordingly, the worker was not entitled to the travel expenses.
The appeal was allowed in part.