Changing Interpretation or policy
WSIB policy says that, if a worker must be escorted to health care appointments, it pays a standard fee and any approved travel and related expenses. Mr. P, who has needed to be escorted to health care and WSIB-arranged appointments since 2005, received less than the usual amount for escort expenses. He called the WSIB and the nurse consultant told him he was entitled only to an hourly rate of $10.25, not the daily rate of $82 he had been receiving. He then received a letter saying payment of a daily escort fee was incorrect and payment was based on the amount of time the escort assisted the worker. He contacted the Commission.
The Commission spoke to the manager about the change in payment. She confirmed there was no change to the policy, but there was a correction in the interpretation of the policy. She agreed, however, that the nurse consultant failed to notify Mr. P before making the change. The WSIB would pay the full amount retroactive to one week from the date they told Mr. P about the change.
Mr. P still thought the change was unfair. He sent a letter to the nurse consultant attaching pages from the Guide to Independent Living, which he had received from the WSIB in 2009. The guide said, “Escort fees are paid at a daily rate. This is a set amount established by the WSIB.”
The Commission also spoke to the assistant director, who confirmed that the change resulted from a closer review of the policy. However, as the Guide to Independent Living said the escort fee is paid at a daily rate, she would investigate further. A week later she told the Commission the WSIB would return to paying workers in the serious injury program the full daily rate for escort fees.