Alberta Advisor Office Alberta Advisor Office

Understanding Hearings

Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body (DRDRB) Hearings

If one or more of your issues of appeal has not been resolved at level one (WCB Customer Service), the WCB supervisor will forward the unresolved appeal issues to the DRDRB.

The DRDRB is an internal WCB review body and is made up of Resolution Specialists, who make decisions at this level. Typically, the assigned Resolution Specialist will contact your Advisor to confirm the specific issue(s) of appeal.

Next, in consultation with your Advisor, you will choose whether to have the DRDRB review via an in-person meeting, teleconference/video conference, or have your appeal decided on a documentary basis.  Documentary reviews are where the Resolution Specialist makes their decision based on their review of documents already on your claim.

The DRDRB review is scheduled when all participating parties can attend. These meetings are informal, and typically take one hour at most. An interpreter is available if you or your Advisor request one. Be aware that both the worker and employer are allowed to participate, and these meetings are not recorded. Before the meeting, your Advisor will explain what you can expect from the DRDRB review.

If you choose an in-person or teleconference review, your Advisor will participate with you and provide oral (and sometimes written) submissions. The Resolution Specialist may ask you questions about your appeal issue(s). You will have plenty of opportunities to provide information you believe is relevant to your issue(s) of appeal.

Once the review is complete, the Resolution Specialist will send you a written decision, usually within a few weeks.

Appeals Commission (AC) Hearings

If you do not agree with the DRDRB’s decision, your Advisor can appeal to the AC (which is independent of WCB) by submitting a Notice of Appeal. The AC is the final level of appeal. 

In the Notice of Appeal, in consultation with your Advisor, you will choose the AC hearing format (an in-person meeting, teleconference, videoconference), or documentary review. Normally, the AC will contact your Advisor to schedule the hearing. It will be scheduled when all participating parties can attend unless you choose to have your appeal decided on a documentary basis. A documentary review means the AC makes their decision based on reviewing the documents in your case’s Appeal Documents Package (ADP).

Before the Hearing

The AC will prepare the ADP, which contains the key documents on your claim. Your Advisor will share the ADP with you before the hearing for you to review. The assigned AC panel that hears and decides your appeal, will also have a copy of the ADP. If you or your Advisor notice that any important and relevant documents are missing, you can provide them to the AC before or at the hearing.

Your Advisor will explain what you can expect at an AC hearing and will provide you and the AC with their written submissions for your appeal issue(s). Be aware that both the worker and employer are allowed to participate.

All participants should arrive at the appointed time (either 9am or 1pm) by telephone, video, or in-person at the AC.  You will be given instructions in advance about how to attend the hearing. You will be greeted in the lobby (actual or virtual). 

All AC hearings are recorded. You will need to sign a Privacy Agreement before the hearing agreeing not to record the hearing yourself. There is administrative support during the hearing for monitoring the recording equipment and making copies of documents if needed.

At the Hearing

AC hearings are informal. They are not intended to resemble court proceedings. There is no requirement to dress formally or stand when the panel enters.  You will not be ‘sworn in’ when you speak. The Hearing Panel consists of one Hearing Chair and two Commissioners. The panel will introduce themselves. The Hearing Chair will explain the powers of the AC, and outline the process. The panel will also ask if there are any procedural concerns before the hearing.

When the hearing starts, the panel will first confirm the issues of appeal with all of the parties. Next, the panel typically asks your Advisor to begin by making their arguments. If there is a respondent present, they will then be allowed to make their arguments. A respondent is a party who disagrees with the appeal.

After arguments are presented, the panel will often take a quick break to discuss what they have heard, and to see if any members have questions. They will then take turns asking questions, and all participants will have an opportunity to respond.

After questions have been answered, the panel asks the participants for concluding arguments. This is the opportunity to give any final comments or raise any points you may have forgotten to share earlier. You will have plenty of time to speak during the hearing. Finally, the panel will deliver a few concluding remarks, and explain what to expect regarding their decision.

After the Hearing

The hearing panel’s written decision will usually be mailed to you and your Advisor in six to eight weeks.