The application by a widow of a deceased worker for judicial review of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s decision refusing to set aside an amount payable to the widow under s. 83(5) of the Workers’ Compensation Act was dismissed for delay

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Workers Compensation Boards – Workers compensation – Benefits – Judicial review – Delay

Holowachuk v. Saskatchewan (Workers’ Compensation Board), [2009] S.J. No. 109, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, February 12, 2009, R.C. Mills J.

A widow (“Holowachuk”) applied for judicial review of the Board’s decision refusing to set aside an amount payable to her as the widow of the deceased worker under s. 83(5) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. A number of issues were considered by the Court, including whether Holowachuk unduly delayed bringing her application, the grounds on which the Court was entitled to review the Board’s decision and whether the Board’s decision met the standard of review required. The Court dismissed the application on the basis of undue delay and held that there was no necessity to deal with the other issues. The lapse of time between the decision in September 18, 2006 and Holowachuk’s application for review was two years. Her contention that she continued to attempt to negotiate a change to the Board’s position before making the application was not borne out by the evidence. Holowachuk did not provide any information on her personal circumstances outside of her belief that she had been under duress when she signed the original agreement, which was not relevant. The content of the Board’s decision was consistent with the agreement and with the position it had been taking in respect of Holowachuk since the very first application for benefits. The Court found that Holowachuk, although self-represented, was well versed in the legal issues for over six years before the Board’s initial decisions and did not need a further two years to think further about them. The Court held that a delay of two years in the circumstances without any explanation was undue and the application was dismissed on that basis.

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