The past several years have been frustrating to both workers and their representatives over the past few years. Changes in policies, adjudicative practices and the overall direction at the Workplace Safety Insurance Board has lead to a substantial increase in denial of benefits, inappropriate reconsideration of decisions and inconsistent decision making. To add to the frustration oral hearings are frowned upon leading to an abhorrent flaw in the administration of justice when it comes to matters pertaining to Workplace Safety and Insurance Law at the Board level.
The flood of negative decisions has now lead to the rise in cases opened and appealed to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. In fact in a recent Letter from the Tribunal it stated:
Despite difficult fiscal times and lack of adjudicative resources the Chair and administration at the Tribunal have done a commendable job in maintaining the integrity of the appeals process and have been mindful of the rights of appellants to a fair hearing. They have continued with oral hearings. The Tribunal has taken the position that: “parties should have an opportunity to tell their stories and, for that reason, the Appeals Tribunal process allows the introduction of new evidence, testimony and new submissions at the Tribunal.”
There is light at the end of the tunnel for workers whose benefits have been denied or reduced at the Board level. Patience is key and well worth the wait to have an opportunity to tell your story and have a fair review of all of the evidence.