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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 1246 14
9/30/2014
S. Martel

  • Chronic pain
  • Future economic loss {FEL} (deemed earnings) (employability)
  • Psychotraumatic disability

The worker suffered a wrist injury in 1997. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for psychotraumatic disability and denying a full FEL award. An injury is best compensated under the Board's chronic pain disability policy if the character of the disability is most closely associated with pain which cannot be attributed to an organic cause. An injury is best compensated under the Board's psychotraumatic disability policy if the character of the disability is most closely associated with a psychological condition. They should not be viewed as alternatives; the criteria for entitlement are quite different. The fact that a worker has not claimed entitlement for chronic pain disability is not sufficient reason to grant entitlement for psychotraumatic disability as an alternative. In this case, the evidence did not meet entitlement criteria for psychotraumatic disability. The main disabling condition was pain. Psychiatric diagnoses became evident only many years after the original injury. There were also significant non-compensable factors contributing to the worker's psychological symptoms. The worker did not have entitlement for psychotraumatic disability. Considering the worker's physical restrictions, age and lack of academic or transferable skills, the worker was unemployable and, therefore, entitled to full LOE benefits. The appeal was allowed in part.