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20.16.1 Purpose and authority for rehabilitation of incapacitated persons

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Rehabilitation is intended to be of benefit to the client and restore the client's earning capacity to the maximum extent possible. While rehabilitation may also be accessed to enhance the client's quality of life, (i.e. in addition to return-to-work objectives) rehabilitation is primarily intended to return the client to the working community, and thus mitigate the Commonwealth's liability to pay compensation, i.e. incapacity payments in particular.

Where a Section 36 assessment demonstrates that a rehabilitation program would be of assistance, Section 37 of the SRCA also applies. Subsection 37(1) says:

37(1) A rehabilitation authority may make a determination that an employee who has suffered an injury resulting in an incapacity for work or an impairment may make arrangements with an approved program provider for the provision of a rehabilitation program for the employee.

Although in practice most programs and their content are initiated during negotiations with the client, those programs are not voluntary or at the discretion of the client and a rehabilitation coordinator may impose a program unilaterally. Thus, following from a S36 assessment prompted by receipt of weekly payments, acceptance of the S37 rehabilitation program becomes in effect a condition of continuing to receive those payments.