Alberta Fair Practices OfficeAlberta Fair Practices Office

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FPO – General

Navigate the System Branch

Fairness Review Branch

Employer Appeals Advisor Branch

Worker Appeals Advisor Branch

FPO - General

How do I get a copy of my FPO file?

To receive a copy of your FPO file you may make a FOIP request by contacting the FOIP office at 780-644-2397 or by visiting the links below:

How do I provide feedback on WCB policies and procedures?

You may contact the WCB to provide feedback on its polices and procedures: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/about-wcb/contact-us.html.

Do I have a right to FPO services?

The Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) does not provide a right to FPO services.  The FPO retains discretion to refuse or withdraw services.

If one branch of the FPO refuses service, does it mean that all branches will do the same?

No. Refusal of services from one branch does not mean an individual cannot receive services from another branch.

Does the FPO have Zero Tolerance Policy?

Yes. The Zero Tolerance Policy can be found here.

What is the cost for FPO services?

There is no charge for FPO services to injured workers and their dependents, or for employers.

My first language is not English, can the FPO still assist with my issue?

Yes. Translation and interpretation service is available to all WCB claimants.

Will the FPO assist with all levels of appeal?

Yes. The FPO provides assistance through all levels of appeal within the WCB system including Customer Service, the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body (DRDRB) and the Appeals Commission (AC). 

What kind of issues does the FPO not look into?

The FPO cannot:

  • Make decisions about compensation, entitlements or benefits.
  • Change decisions of the WCB, AC or MPO (Medical Panels Office).
  • Make, change or set aside a policy of the WCB, AC or MPO.
  • Address human resources issues that are not a result of a work related accident.
  • Address concerns which are unrelated to a workplace injury.
  • Provide legal advice.

Can I ask the FPO to make a change to the legislation?

No. The FPO cannot make, change or set aside the Act or any of the related regulations. Section 159(1) of the amended Act calls for a review of the Act and related regulations in 2021 and every five years there after. 

If you have concerns or ideas about changes you would like to see to the Act or regulations, you can contact the Minister of Labour and Immigration or reach out to your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).

To Contact the Minister - You can write to the Minister of Labour and Immigration.  This can be done via the Government of Alberta website at: https://www.alberta.ca/contact.cfm.

To Contact your MLA - You can contact your MLA.  Contact information for all MLA’s in Alberta is located at: https://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=mla_home.

Can I make a complaint about the former WCB Office of the Appeals Advisor (OAA) to the FPO?

No. The OAA was a WCB department which ceased to exist when the Fair Practices Office Regulation came into force on December 1, 2018 and the FPO opened its doors. 

If you have a complaint about OAA services provided before December 1, 2018, you may wish to contact the Alberta Ombudsman.

Why can the FPO only ‘request’ information from the WCB, the AC or the MPO?

The Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) does not provide authority for the FPO to compel our system partners to provide information.

The Act does have provisions which allow for information sharing with the WCB, AC and MPO.

Where can I go if I disagree with a decision made by the FPO regarding my request for services?

If you have a complaint about the services of, or decision made by, any FPO employee, you may raise you concerns with the specific branch manager.

If all avenues within the FPO have been exhausted and your issue pertaining to the FPO was not resolved to your satisfaction, you may contact the Alberta Ombudsman.   

The Fairness Review Branch cannot review the actions of another branch of the FPO.

Who has the burden of proof in WCB claims?

The FPO cannot determine workers’ or employers’ rights or obligations when dealing with the WCB, AC or MPO.  Specifically, the determination of the burden of proof is a function of the legislature and the Courts. It is, therefore, unnecessary for the Fair Practices Office to take on this same function.

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Navigate the System Branch

How long before I am contacted by an Appeal Advisor or Fairness Review Officer?

FPO service standard is 10 business days for initial contact with a client, after the completed consent or authorization form is received.

Can a referral be made for services not related to my WCB claim?

No. Referral services are made with respect to needs arising from a workplace injury resulting in a WCB claim.

Can the FPO guarantee that services will be received from a third party agency when an external referral is made?

No. The FPO cannot guarantee that services will be provided by third party agencies.

Applications are reviewed by each third party agency to determine client eligibility based on its own approval criteria.

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Fairness Review Branch

 What are the time limits for a fairness review?

The Fairness Review Branch (FRB) has a 24 month time limit for submitting a complaint.  

What can the Fairness Review Branch do?

The FRB may review behavioural fairness –  refers to how a party was treated, which includes respect, communication and dignity - and procedural fairness – refers to the processes leading up to a decision, which includes timeliness, communication and whether processes are consistent with legislation, regulation and policy or procedure.

A fairness review does not include a review of a decision, only the processes leading up to the decisions.

Can the Fairness Review Branch overturn decisions or make a new decision? 

No.  A fairness review is not a form of appeal. The FRB cannot overturn a decision or make a new decision.

What is the relationship between the Fairness Review Branch and the Alberta Ombudsman? 

The authority of the Ombudsman is different from the authority of the FRB. A complainant must pursue all means of appeal or review before the Ombudsman will consider a complaint related to the WCB, Appeals Commission or the Medical Panel Office.

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Employer Appeals Advisor Branch

Who can access Employer Appeals Advisor services?

Employer Appeals Advisor provides support, consultation and advice to all employers who need help with reviews and appeals. 

Can the FPO be my authorized representative?

Yes. Once the fully completed and signed consent form is received from the employer the FPO becomes the authorized representative for the appeal.

Can I rescind my authorization to the FPO?

Yes. Authorizations to the FPO must be rescinded in writing and are effective on the date the notice to rescind is received by the FPO.

What are my rights and responsibilities as an employer with respect to an injured worker?

Information about your rights and responsibilities as an employer can be found in the Employer Handbook located at https://wcb.ab.ca/claims/ .

Are we covered by the WCB if our employee did not follow our company’s safety policies and caused the work place accident to happen? 

Yes. The Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board assumes liability for the injury in work-related circumstances despite the presence of fault on the part of the worker or employer. 

The Workers’ Compensation Board said I am obligated to bring back my worker who has been off on a lost-time claim and they are now fit for modified duties. Is this true?

Yes. Effective September 1, 2018, employers have an obligation to reinstate workers in early and safe return to work. Breaching this obligation can result in penalties.

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Worker Appeals Advisor Branch

Can I have more than one representative acting on my behalf?

No. A worker can only authorize one representative to act on their behalf throughout the appeal process.

Can the FPO be my authorized representative?

Yes. Once the fully completed and signed consent form is received from the worker or their dependent the FPO becomes the authorized representative for the appeal.

Can I rescind my authorization to the FPO?

Yes. Authorizations to the FPO must be rescinded in writing and is effective on the date the notice to rescind is received by the FPO.

What are my rights and responsibilities as an injured worker?

Information about your rights and responsibilities as an injured worker can be found in the Worker Handbook located at https://wcb.ab.ca/claims/ .

Can the FPO help me to have my claim denied or rejected by the WCB?

No. FPO assistance on appeal issues is related to WCB benefits.  The FPO does not assist injured workers or their dependent(s) with having a claim or benefits denied.

How do I continue the appeal process started by a worker who has died?

The FPO cannot discuss a deceased worker’s file with anyone other than the personal representative (PR) /executor of the estate.  Upon being notified of the death of a worker, the FPO will contact the estate of the deceased worker inviting the personal representative to contact us.

What documents do I need to confirm that I am the personal representative or executor of a deceased worker? 

The estate will have to provide the following documents to the FPO to continue the appeal process started by a deceased worker:

  • a certified copy of the Will, along with written confirmation (a notarised letter or a statutory declaration) that the named personal representative is acting on behalf of the estate; or
  • certified copy of the grant of probate (if probate was granted); or
  • if there was no Will, a certified copy of the grant of administration.

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