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February 2, 2009

Illegal Use of CPP Funds by Alberta WCB

"Auditor General Sheila Fraser responds to allegations that ". . . contributions to Canada Pension Plan are being used as a slush fund by Workers Compensation Boards of Canada to illegally provide disability payments to disabled workers . . . "

This is the answer I received from Ms. Fraser. Although I did not expect her to answer my letter I would have to give her my thanks and the respect she deserves. No doubt she is a very busy woman and to take the time to answer a letter is very commendable, especially when I have requested various answers to my questions from people such as the Premier, Minister in charge of WCB, Minister in charge of the AISH program. Nary a peep from those suckers. So now people, it is up to you to contact your MP and question why the money we have been sending or had been sending to  CPP is being used to subsidize workers compensation systems for work related injuries, deaths and occupational diseases.

Gerry Miller

Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for your email of 23 January 2009 regarding use of the funds collected through the Canada Pension Plan.

I regret to inform you that we are unable to assist you in this matter. Many of the issues you raise relate to policy decisions made by the Government of Canada. Under the legislation that governs our work, we do not evaluate the merits of government policies. Our role is to tell Parliament how well its decisions are being implemented.

You may wish to contact your Member of Parliament to further discuss your concerns as he is best positioned to review the process and answer your questions.

Even though we cannot help you, I appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to me about your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila Fraser, FCA
Auditor General | Vérificatrice générale
Office of the Auditor General of Canada | Bureau du vérificateur général du Canada
C.D. Howe Building, 240 Sparks Street, West Tower | Édifice C.D. Howe, 240, rue Sparks, tour ouest
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0G6
Telephone | Téléphone 613-992-2512
Facsimile | Télécopieur 613-957-4023
Teletypewriter | Téléimprimeur 613-954-8042

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerry Miller
Sent: January 23, 2009 4:57 PM

Subject: CPP disability pensions

My complaint to the Auditor Generals (Ms. Fraser and Mr. Dunn) is not frivolous or vexatious as it expresses a real concern of all Canadian taxpayers as to why their contributions to Canada Pension Plan are being used as a slush fund by Workers Compensation Boards of Canada to illegally provide disability payments to disabled workers that are wholly or in part due to compensable work related causes. The contributions I and my fellow Canadians made to CPP from 1966 through to the present were not intended to be used to pay for compensable disability payments that are the sole responsibility of Workers Compensation Boards throughout Canada who clearly have reneged on their fiduciary duty to provide compensation for work related permanent disabilities. It is and never has been the responsibility of CPP contributors or taxpayers to provide any compensation to disabled workers out of the moneys collected by the Federal Government from workers and their employers to pay any portion of moneys in the Canada Pension Plan to be used by Workers Compensation Boards for disabilities that are due to work related and compensable causes. It is an undisputed fact that the Alberta Workers Compensation Board clawed back all moneys received from claimants to offset any of their liabilities with the full co-operation of Services Canada who willingly gave this money to the claimant who through clawbacks reluctantly were forced by WCB to give this money to them to offset any earning losses they would have had to pay. This practice in Alberta continued up to June 1, 1996 when it ceased. With Canada Pension Plan providing indirect payment to Workers Compensation Boards who were using this money to offset earning losses, it is little wonder that the contributions from mandatory payroll deductions had to be increased dramatically to pay for the unfunded liability that was predicted.

Is it not about time that the Auditor General (Fraser) along with her counterpart in Alberta (Dunn) launch a full scale investigation as to the illegal use of these pension and tax moneys and force all Workers Compensation Boards to pay all this money back. As well, Mr. Dunn who is the Auditor General in Alberta must force the Alberta WCB to pay the Government back for AISH benefits that were and are provided for work related disabilities that are the sole responsibility of the "Board"

I am not a worker advocate, have never filed a workers compensation claim. I am a taxpayer who has contributed to the Canada Pension Plan for 35 years and did so willingly. I also willingly paid increased premiums to CPP to ensure that there was sufficient funds to cover future pensioners who will be receiving CPP pension benefits as well as disability benefits, however I and my fellow Canadians are not prepared to pay disability benefits to disabled workers whose disabilities were caused by compensable work related causes that are the sole responsibility of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada. Services Canada should have never paid this money which went indirectly from the claimant into the coffers of Workers Compensation Boards and used to offset their legal obligations to pay disabled workers for work related disabilities. No one can deny that this did happen and is still happening as I have found out by becoming involved in assisting a gentleman in what is a 36 year old claim that WCB refuses to pay any earning losses. Unfortunately both CPP and AISH are paying wholly the amount due to a total disability which WCB refuses to admit is a total disability because they do not recognize a total disability when there is compensable and non compensable factors contributing to a total disability such as does CPP and AISH. I agree with WCB that they should not have to pay for any non compensable factors relative to a disability. The same reasoning then has to be used by CPP and AISH who must then determine what portion of the total disability is compensable and apportion that part that is the sole responsibility of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada. What is fair for WCB must also be fair to CPP and AISH. That being the case, then why are CPP and AISH paying for benefits that are work related disabilities either wholly or in part?

It has long been recognized by the Courts that it is the responsibility of employers to screen prospective employees before hiring them. Any employer who hires a worker with any pre-existing medical condition thus takes full responsibility for hiring an individual who has pre-existing medical problems. This responsibility is in turn passed onto the insurance carrier (WCB) who assume responsibility for compensable work related injuries, deaths or diseases as well as any aggravation of a pre-existing medical condition due to the work or work environment. All disability insurance carriers other than WCB provide disability or death benefits regardless of whether the injury, death or disease was caused by work. What is the point of having a mandatory niche type disability insurance carrier who only "may" provides benefits that have to be specifically work related. Without full coverage as is provided by private disability insurance companies, a disabled worker becomes a charge on family, friends and society. Not becoming a charge on family friends and society was the whole reason behind the formation of workers compensation boards. So what have we accomplished in one hundred years since the Meredith Principles were adopted in Ontario. The answer is of course nothing.

The "Board" has become so powerful over the course of the last hundred years that they dictate to Governments, Provincially and Federally as well as the Courts without any fear of any sort of reprisal from the Governments or the Courts who have a hands off approach rather than to stand up to them. The media is terrified of attacking them or covering stories to expose the corrupt practices that have caused more suicides amongst disabled workers in one year then an accumulative total of the deaths of our armed forces in Afghanistan. We send our young soldiers over to Afghanistan to fight oppression and yet the Governments fail to curtail the oppression by Workers Compensation Boards that would be considered to be terrorism within Canada against poor defenseless workers who are caught up in a system that is hostile towards them. Workers Compensation Boards in Canada were the result of Governments meddling in forcing employers and workers into a system that is causing hundreds of deaths by suicides caused by a body that is supposed to assist injured and disabled workers. Instead worker are forced into a system, so complex that even WCB does not understand their own mandate.

I am presently in the process of assisting a disabled worker in Alberta via the appeals process to receive earning loss benefits for total disability that is supported by his primary care physicians for his work related benefits that he is entitled to. Although his primary care doctors have determined that he is totally disabled form working at any job, he has been denied total disability benefits due to a few WCB contract doctors (spin doctors and hired guns) who suggest he is capable of sedentary work but do not indicate what type of work would be involved. Herein lies the problem. He has been on CPP disability benefits since 1993 and was accepted on AISH last year. His acceptance for total disability by CPP and AISH are mainly the result of compensable work related disabilities that began in 1973 with a spinal injury that required emergency surgery. The surgery was unsuccessful and left him with severe complications to his legs and feet as well as chronic back pain. WCB would not assist him and he was forced to work which resulted in more injuries, more claims for back injuries and surgery was not a viable option. He was 24 years old at the time and is now approaching 60, having lived a life of destitution, food banks, CPP and most recently AISH. He was not aware that AISH benefits were higher than CPP disability benefits and also was not aware that AISH also pays for all medical care, including prescription medications, eyeglasses, dental etc. AISH recipients also receive up to a maximum of $650.00 a month rental subsidy besides the $1088.00 they receive in Government assistance. CPP disability pays the maximum disability pension he receives with AISH making up the difference which totals $1088.00. WCB pays nothing for any earning losses despite the fact he has not worked since 1993. His total disability is also supported by a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist who have stated that he is homicidal and suicidal due to his treatment by WCB and is unemployable. Are you paying any attention Mr. Stelmach? Mr. Stelmach like many politicians talk through both sides of their mouths with their brains in neutral . After Mr. Stelmach's election victory, he was quoted as saying" Society is judged by how we treat our less fortunate citizens (elderly and handicapped) Talk is cheap, Eddie. Either walk the walk or keep your mouth shut.

While perusing his WCB files, I came across a statement from a Case Manager (Gladys Hough) which I found deeply disturbing. I can photocopy Ms. Hough's) reply to why WCB does not recognize total disability even though CPP and AISH have recognized that he is totally disabled. According to the Case Manager CPP disability and AISH accept total disability regardless of whether the disability is based on compensable (work related) or non compensable disabilities while WCB only recognizes compensable disabilities. That being the case, then it would be fair to conclude that CPP and AISH are paying disabled individuals for work related disabilities that should be apportioned or paid wholly by Workers Compensation Boards.

How difficult is it to determine whether an individual is totally disabled. It is not difficult at all. The ability to work factors in a persons mental and physical conditions, their age, education and prior work experiences. In order to qualify for CPP disability all or most all of these factors have to be present. Common sense and logic would not allow a claim acceptance due to only on age. The same would be true for education and prior work experience. The most important factor is whether a medical condition, mental or physical is severe and prolonged. If a medical condition is severe and prolonged, that does not mean that you do not have the ability to work. Even if you have terminal cancer does not mean that you will be automatically accepted for CPP a well known CPP disability lawyer in Calgary advised me. The other factors then enter the picture such as a persons age, education and prior work experience. If you meet all the criteria then comes the terms regular gainful employment. This does not mean that if you are not capable of working 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week that you would qualify for CPP disability benefits as I was told. If the person happens to be a high earner, if they were able to work 8 hours a week at $200.00 an hour, this would be considered to be regular gainful employment. It is extremely difficult to have a claim for total disability accepted by CPP and that is the way it should be. Having said that I would have to say that I have no idea how WCB determines total disability. What factors are they using in determining a person's ability to work? Speaking to WCB Case Managers is a total waste of time as they don't have a clue how to determine a persons ability to work. The WCB Medical Advisor's also don't have a clue how to determine a persons ability to work.

I believe that this becomes a Federal matter where moneys from CPP deductions are illegally being used to provide disability payments to support disabled workers for that portion of work related disabilities that are supposed to be paid for by Provincial Workers Compensation Boards. For example; If CPP accepts a claim for total disability and a portion of the disability is due to work related factors, Social Development Canada has no business taking money from the fund to pay WCB's share of the total disability. Why would any one pay 100% of a disability when 70 or 80% of the disability was due to a compensable work related disability? I'm sure Social Development Canada has medical experts who have the ability to apportion WCB's share of a total disability and convert that share to a monetary value. Beginning in 2009, maximum CPP disability payments are $1105.99. If WCB's portion happens to be 50%, CPP disability should pay half and WCB must pay the other half. The process would be quite simple and would go back to 1966. I believe that WCB's would be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars which is only fair. Why should CPP or AISH pay the full amount of disability payments to an individual if any portion of the pension is due to work related disabilities?

It would be fair to suggest that hundreds of millions of dollars of moneys collected from employees and employers are and have been paid in CPP disability payments that were and are the sole responsibility of Workers Compensation Boards throughout Canada. Please explain why Social Development Canada and Provincial Income Support programs like AISH are using taxpayers moneys to pay for work related compensable disabilities. If WCB have the right to refuse to pay the apportionate  share of the CPP disability payment that is only compensable by virtue of being work related, then Social Development Canada has the right and obligation to taxpayers to refuse to pay any portion of the CPP disability payment that is due to a work related compensable disability. That portion has to be the sole responsibility of WCB.

The same problem exists with AISH. Why should taxpayers pay taxes to support disabled workers due to a compensable work related disability? When providing AISH benefits, the Alberta Government has no business providing AISH benefits due to a compensable work related disability. This payment must be apportioned and that portion that has been determined to be a compensable work related disability must be paid for by WCB.

The whole idea of the formation of workers compensation systems was to ensure that disabled workers do not become a charge on family, friends and society. If that is the case why then are family, friends and society through Federal Government plans such as CPP and Provincial plans such as AISH being forced to pay through taxation and payroll deductions to provide disability payments to individuals who have a whole or a portion of their disabilities caused by work related disabilities. The whole idea of workers compensation is rather meaningless if Workers Compensation Boards can legitimately download disabled workers unto Federal and Provincial disability programs. If these programs provide disability payments to disabled workers and workers compensation programs do not, then there is really no reason to force employers to fund a system that do not pay anything to disabled workers.

There seems to be this misguided idea that WCB does more than provide financial assistance. WCB profess to offer vocational rehabilitation, medical assistance etc. which they do not. Tell this to a disabled unskilled manual laborer with a grade 7 education who is told that despite very stringent work restrictions such as no lifting over 5 pounds, no stooping, bending, twisting, no walking beyond one block, no climbing stairs, no climbing ladders, cannot stand or sit for extended periods that they are employable. They then suggest that the worker is responsible for finding an employer who will hire them. The issue then involves WCB doctors who claim that the worker is employable while the worker's primary care doctor of 15 years adamantly states that the worker is unemployable, fills out their AISH forms and CPP forms, CPP and AISH both accept total disability with the whole or part of the whole disability due to work related disabilities. It seems rather odd that Services Canada are forced by the Courts to accept real world employment scenarios (Vanelli to name one of the decisions) while WCB can deem a worker as being employable in some phantom, hypothetical job that there is no demand for as well as the fact that no employer can be forced to hire a disabled worker who is no longer able to be competitively employed. Both the Federal Governments and Provincial Governments have this hands off mentality when dealing with Workers Compensation Boards who despite every Government appointed Commission have found that injured and disabled workers are being treated unfairly. Governments then make vague promises to address these concerns such as the Alberta Government (Friedman Report) and sweep all of the findings under the rug. This remain that way until some homicidal worker who has had enough decides to kill numerous people and then commits suicide. Our zombie like politicians who snooze through any attempts by people like myself to prevent such episodes suddenly wake up, albeit far too long after the mayhem a disgruntled worker has caused, perform an investigation, make a few recommendations that are never carried out and then sweep everything under the rug again until the same scenario repeats itself.

Something must be done to address this intolerable situation. Employers do not want WCB, especially when they can pay less for disability premiums for better coverage. They also do not have to deal with a bloated bureaucracy that have absolute power to do whatever they choose to do without any checks or balances. Workers also do not want WCB simply because they have no guarantee their claim will be accepted and if it is they are forced to fight for their entitlements and in most cases are left abandoned to fend for themselves. A claimant in the private system does not have to prove causation as private carriers provide disability or death benefits regardless of whether the injury, death or disease arose out of and occurred in the course of employment. In my humble opinion, dinosaurs became extinct thousands of years ago so why then are WCB systems not extinct especially when private insurers started to provide disability benefits that are better, less costly and without having to prove causation which for a claimant is impossible.

Gerry Miller
4315 Greenview Drive NE
Calgary, Alberta
T2E 5R3
Phone 403 277 9127

P.S. I do not expect a reply to this letter as in the past when I have requested Public or Judicial Inquiries to the blatant fraud by Workers Compensation Boards, my requests have fell on deaf ears.

I would request an audit be done by the Federal Auditor General as well as the Provincial Auditors to determine how many person who are on AISH and or CPP disability benefits are disabled workers. When this is determined, then the CPP disability benefits and or AISH benefits must be apportioned as to whether there are compensable and non compensable factors involved. Once this is determined, then WCB must be mandated to pay that portion of the disability payments that are their sole responsibility

Gerry Miller.

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