Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for December 6, 2012

‘Injured’ man led active lifestyle, probe found

A former surveyor’s assistant is again being ordered to pay back $600,000 in a long-standing workers’ compensation case.

By Ashley Joannou on December 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

A former surveyor’s assistant is again being ordered to pay back $600,000 in a long-standing workers’ compensation case.

The second Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal to hear the case of Ashley Byblow has concluded the former Yukoner committed fraud.

Byblow’s case dates back to August 1994, when the then-25-year-old man had seasonal employment as a surveyor’s assistant.

He slid down a steep gravel hill, injuring his head, jaw, left knee, hip and wrist, the documents say.

He initially returned to work months later. But in June 2001, the case was reopened, and Byblow was found to be unemployable due to a head injury.

Byblow’s case has been through a lengthy string of hearings and court cases.

Different doctors have disagreed over the level of his impairment. Some have accused him of exaggerating his condition to receive compensation.

In May 2009, two investigative specialists hired by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board travelled to Westbank, B.C., where Byblow now lives, to conduct surveillance.

Based upon their report, the director concluded the Yukoner had been providing false and misleading information.

Byblow appealed the decision, and the first appeal tribunal disagreed with the fraud charge.

Instead, it found that the compensation board should never have reinstated Byblow’s claim.

Despite being cleared of the fraud accusations, Byblow was still required to pay back most of the money, the tribunal ruled.

But earlier this year, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale ordered that the tribunal’s decision be quashed and a new hearing be held.

The judge criticized the first tribunal members for not clearly explaining how they could order the money paid back, especially if Byblow was found not to have committed fraud.

Veale also criticizes the tribunal for gathering more information on the case from the Canadian Revenue Agency after the hearing had already taken place.

Quashing the decision meant the new tribunal had to look at all of the evidence from the beginning.

In its decision, released Wednesday, the latest tribunal found that Byblow did commit fraud.

The tribunal points to a number of head injuries Byblow sustained both before and after the 1994 fall, which, it says, were not disclosed to the doctors in a timely and accurate manner.

Byblow claims to not having been able to stand higher than the second rung of a ladder without someone steadying him, but an album of vacation photos shows otherwise, the tribunal said.

The photo journal chronicles a 24-day trip to the UK.

In it, Byblow describes golfing at St. Andrews and climbing multiple tourist sites, including the narrow spiral staircases at York Minister Tower.

The records also show he was able to return to work, the tribunal ruled.

Shortly after the incident, Byblow played ball, was a volunteer firefighter, played basketball, drove a car, rode his motorcycle and went back to some work.

He was able to travel extensively and do a number of things he told medical professionals he could not do.

He also authored a professional travel book.

“We question why the appellant would provide misleading information to the board and medical professionals. The most obvious answer in this case would be for personal gain,” the appeal tribunal writes in its decision.

“Before the 1994 incident, the worker was making less than $8 an hour at part-time, seasonal jobs.

“When the incident took place, he had worked a total of 8.5 days on a temporary basis as a surveyor’s helper at $17 an hour.

“This was the highest wage rate the worker had ever received. On the basis of these earnings, he was paid compensation benefits of $91.07 per day (tax-free) from Aug. 3 to Dec. 31, 1994.”

In the end, the tribunal ruled Byblow could keep the money he was given for those 150 days.

However, he is required to pay back the $593,970.20, in benefits he received from Jan. 1, 1995 until Nov. 30, 2009.

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Yukon

Dec 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

OUCH!

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