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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 736 13
4/9/2014
B. Kalvin - M. Trudeau - A. Grande

  • Encephalopathy (toxic)

The worker worked for a company that produced paints, lacquers, glue and other similar products. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for chronic toxic encephalopathy. The worker started working for the company in 1968. His condition became manifest in 2005. He stopped working in 2008. The Board found that the worker had a total of 10 years of significant exposure to solvents, from 1968 to 1975 and from 1982 to 1985, but that the exposure was insufficient to meet the required threshold of 15 to 30 years of significant exposure. The Panel accepted the opinion of a Tribunal medical assessor that the worker was suffering from chronic toxic encephalopathy and that high solvent exposure for 10 years would likely be sufficient to cause the worker's neurological condition. The significant exposure occurred many years before the condition became manifest. If the worker's exposure had ceased in 1985, the emergence of cognitive symptoms 20 years later would have suggested some other cause for the condition. However, the worker continued to have exposure after 1985, but at a lower level. Medical records indicated that there was improvement in the worker's symptoms after he stopped working in 2008. This would support the claim that the worker was suffering from chronic toxic encephalopathy, because other idiopathic degenerative impairment would not have been expected to improve. The appeal was allowed.