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Man suffering chronic pain granted WCB appeal

Jessica Gray
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 18/06) - A decision to deny permanent benefits to a man diagnosed with chronic pain will return to the Workers Compensation Board appeals tribunal in March.

Supreme Court Justice Virginia Schuler ruled in favour of Ivan Valic in December, saying it is unfair of the board to treat those with chronic pain differently than those receiving benefits for other chronic afflictions. Those suffering from this type of pain only receive temporary compensation.

The ruling was also influenced by legislation in provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia that are specific to chronic pain.

Velic's lawyer James Posynick said his client is "quite pleased with the result."

"This (decision) may provide additional support financially and through rehabilitation for those suffering from this disease."

WCB Chair Denny Rodgers said the board examines claims based on chronic pain case by case.

"Chronic pain is a huge issue for lots of jurisdictions because it's hard to measure pain when giving benefits," he said.

Chronic pain has many causes according to the Mayo Clinic's website. Injury, disease, or psychological factors can all contribute. Medication and visits to pain clinics are common treatments.

The WCB has scheduled a meeting in February to discuss the policy and the possibility of appealing Schuler's ruling, which followed a five-year court battle.

Posynick said he and his client will return to court shortly to clarify the court orders with the WCB. Depending on the WCB's decision. Velic could see his case return to the Appeals Tribunal in the spring.