Alberta Fair Practices OfficeAlberta Fair Practices Office

What Fairness Means

The Fair Practices Office looks at fairness similar to the way other ombudsman offices look at fairness.

When we look for fairness, we are making sure that people are being heard and treated with respect and courtesy, and that rules and processes are being properly followed.

We have two types of fairness reviews:

  • Procedural Fairness
  • Behavioural Fairness

Procedural Fairness

In a review of procedural fairness, we look at how a decision was made, not the decision itself.

This is an important difference. We do not comment on the decision itself as part of the review. Disagreement with a decision does not necessarily mean that the process leading up to the decision was not fair.

A fairness review does not replace an appeal process and does not guarantee a particular outcome. The Fair Practices Commissioner cannot overturn a decision or replace a decision with a new one.

A procedural fairness review will make sure that the decision-maker exercised their authority properly, with consistency in their process and appropriate communication.

In this type of review, we look at:

  • The timeliness of the decision, including things such as:
    • Was the decision made within the timelines that were specified?
    • Were there any unreasonable delays in the process?
  • Communication of the decision, including things such as:
    • Did the decision-maker communicate the decision to you?
    • Did the decision-maker provide reasons for the decision?
    • Were you and other relevant parties kept informed during the process?
  • The overall decision-making process, including things such as:
    • Were you aware that the decision was going to be made?
    • Were you given a chance to provide input into the process?
    • Did you have an opportunity to correct or respond to information?
    • Was relevant information ignored or overlooked?
    • Was there bias in the decision-making?

Behavioural Fairness of the Decision-Maker

In a review of behavioural fairness, we look at how a worker or employer was treated by the decision-maker.

A concern about behavioural fairness can happen at any time, even if the decision-maker has not made a formal decision. Behavioural fairness is similar to providing good customer service.

In a behavioural Fairness Review, we want to make sure that a decision-maker is interacting with workers and employers honestly, professionally, and respectfully.

One of the things we look at is the WCB’s Code of Rights and Conduct. The Code identifies the rights of workers and employers (or their representatives) when they interact with the WCB.