Yesterday, me and some friends were talking about the concept of Habeas Corpus, and it’s true meaning in Law and WCB, Workers Comp. Board in Canada. I just want to further add to these topics some points that never got to see the light.:wink:

I had being on the phone with a friend talking fairly late into the evening last night. We started off talking about my encounters with suing and the litigation of various finance institutions over their mistakes of over charging me and refusing to admit their wrong then their lessons on actually challenging me to pay for their mistake. Then we went into the concept of Workers Compensation known as the WCB here in British Columbia.

First off, I want to define what Habeas Corpus is and how it is applied in Canada. This is one of the most heard of phrases on Hollywood both from the big and small screens, and something that the American’s are probably far too common with than Canadians. For whatever reason, based on my life experiences, this term never really comes up in general conversations when talking about the Criminal Code or Civil law. Mainly because we have so much legislation that deals with Habeas Corpus, that the term is generalized.

“Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)” Habeas corpus Ha”be*as corpus L. you may have the body. A writ having for its object to bring a party before a court or judge; especially, one to inquire into the cause of a person’s imprisonment or detention by another, with the view to protect the right to personal liberty; also, one to bring a prisoner into court to testify in a pending trial. –Bouvier.

In the Criminal Code, Habeas Corpus can be found in: Appeal, CC 784(3), (4), (5). Arrest or detention CA 10(c). Availability: –>Defect in from CC 782 –>Review of warrant of committal, CC 782. On re-application without fresh evidence, CC 784 (3). Order for further detention, CC 775. Presence of accused mandatory on application, CC 650.01 (3) (a) (iii), 774.1. Protection of judicial officer, CC 783 Rules of court, CC 482 (3) (c ). Want of proof of enactment not ground, CC 781.

So for example, Part XIV of the Criminal Code, we have S. 482 (3) (c ), that deals with the rules of court in it’s right in criminal matters. In R v. Storgoff, [1945] 3 D.L.R. 673 at 733, [1945] S.C.R. 526, 84 C.C.C I, Estey J. The writ of habeas corpus is available to any subject or imprisoned, not to hear and determine the case upon the evidence, but to immediately and in a summary way test the validity of his detention or imprisonment. It matters not whether the basis for the detention or imprisonment be criminal or civil law.

In Canada, this term goes even further with the concept of Heabus Corpus Ad Subjiciendum: An order that a person arrested be brought into a court or before a judge to determine if the imprisonment is lawful. (the Dictionary of Canadian Law: Carswell)

So yes, to my dear friend who we spoke last night, this is the legalese that Lawyers like to refer to as the court’s right to hold a person, but also is the concept that an impartial judge must view the reasons why that person is held and determine the lawfulness of his incarceration. I would say that it is cutting the definition quite close by saying that the only purpose of this is to get that person’s body into the court room, regardless if the mind is there or not, may be too much of an understatement. The courts have many tools in which to draw upon in dealing with someone who wishes not to answer the Crown’s questions or simply lie on the stand. I guess in retrospect, if they have your body, they have your time. But Habeas Corpus is not to detain that person but test the reason why that is being detained.

Workers Compensation Board, British Columbia:

WCB is not there to protect you, the employee, but rather to protect your employer from you, when you get hurt or injured during work. It does not matter how much you debate the fact, WCB does not stand by your side and makes sure your safe from harm in the workplace, it is only there as a government body that pays you insurance if you cannot work because of injury.

Like most insurance company around the world, the WCB is a no-fault legislated government run organization that handles all relationships between the Employer and Employee. You could try and pass information of wrong doing to the WCB about your employer, but chances are, they will just phone your employer up and ask that they had a call from an disgruntled employee about their work.

WCB is only a reactive force, not a preventive one. They claim that they are taking steps to creating safer workplaces, however, in order for them to do that, they would need to vigorously police every work site in British Columbia. Too costly and the employer would dispute this to the bitter end on many grounds. They do not like having outsiders on their work floors policing them. They get the employer to comply with costly insurance premiums that are born directly upon the employer. The more WCB claims a corporation has, the higher those premiums are. That is the incentive of employer complying with WCB rules. Oh, there are fines and penalties, but in my experience they are far and few between, remember, they are their to protect them form you.

If you ever had to deal with an insurance company before, you should be acquainted with a form or paragraph/clause; that you signed that states you cannot sue the wrongdoer once the insurance company has compensated you for any damage caused. Well, this is the exact same principle that WCB works under. They pay you out; so you cannot sue your employer for their wrongdoing.


  1. When I click on comments on the right side of the page “Comments RSS 2.0” all I get is HTML code…… Other then that it looks good..

Post Navigation