N.B. court overturns ruling on disabled worker | National Union of Public and General Employees

N.B. court overturns ruling on disabled worker

Original ruling helped worker buy barrier-free home following workplace accident. WorkSafeNB asked to take case to Supreme Court of Canada.

Fredericton (19 March 2009) - The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling by the province's Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission awarding an injured worker money for a barrier-free home.

Tammy Gray was left with a leg that does not function normally after an accident in 2004. The commission's earlier ruling allowed Gray money to buy a home that would allow her to navigate more easily in a scooter.

However, her employer appealed the decision, ruling that an elected member of the legislature had interfered improperly in the case by appearing on Gray's behalf before the commission, now known as WorkSafeNB. The appeal court judge said MLAs should almost never take such a stand because it could be seen as political interference in the tribunal's work.

Critics say the court's interpretation goes too far. Gray is asking WorkSafeNB to take her case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The commission originally provided her with a scooter and a van to carry it, plus a lump sum of $25,000 for permanent physical impairment. Gray then sought financial assistance of less than $100,000 to purchase a barrier-free house from the commission.

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