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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 2087 13
2/19/2014
J. Lang - B. Wheeler - J. Crocker

  • Availability for employment (relocation)
  • Merits and justice
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (work reintegration) (relocation)

A factory labourer suffered a shoulder injury in 2007, for which he was granted a 4% NEL award. The Board based LOE benefits on deemed earnings as a customer service clerk. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying full LOE benefits. The worker lived in a small town in northwestern Ontario. The employer closed the factory a few months after the worker's accident. The Board identified a suitable occupation as a customer service clerk. The worker was capable of performing such work but the town was isolated and economically depressed. There was no work available in the local labour market. Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 19-03-11, on work reintegration – relocation services, states that relocation is a work reintegration option that may be considered when a suitable occupation is not available in the local labour market. It further provides that work transition services will be closed on LOE benefits based on deemed earnings if a worker chooses not to relocate. The worker's wife was an invalid who suffered from lupus and had numerous hip fractures. He made extensive renovations to his house to accommodate his wife's walker. She required special medical care and had a support network of friends and neighbours to assist her. The Board policy states that relocation is an option that may be considered. The Panel concluded, considering the facts and circumstances of the case and considering the merits and justice provisions, that it was not reasonable to expect the worker to relocate in search of a minimum wage job. The appeal was allowed.