BOD Decision -2004/05/18-02 – Statutory Presumption and Diseases with Long Latency Periods
On May 18, 2004, the Board of Directors approved amendments to policy item #26.21 of the Rehabilitation Services & Claims Manual, Volumes I and II. This policy item addresses the presumption in section 6(3) of the Workers Compensation Act ("Act") that certain diseases are work-related.
Section 6(3) provides that where a worker employed in a process or industry listed in the second column of Schedule B of the Act contracts the disease listed in the first column, the disease is deemed to be due to the nature of the worker's employment, unless the contrary is proved.
For the presumption of work-relatedness to apply, section 6(3) requires that the worker be employed in the specified industry or process "at or immediately before the date of disablement" from the disease.
Policy item #26.21 explains, in part, how the Workers' Compensation Board determines whether a worker was employed in a specified industry or process immediately before the date of disablement. This policy has been changed to remove statements that expand the meaning of "immediately before" to cover gaps of several years between employment in the specified industry or process and the onset of a disease with a long latency period.
The amendments took effect on June 1, 2004 and apply to all decisions, including appellate decisions, made on or after that date.