Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions
- Parties (of record)
- Parties (interest of worker) (transfer of costs)
The worker was a truck driver who was injured in a motor vehicle accident in the United States. The worker was sleeping in the bunk of the tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer was being driven by a co-worker, and was stopped for a school bus when it was struck by another truck that failed to stop. The employer requested a cost transfer pursuant to Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 15-01-06, on third party motor vehicle accident claims costs, which provides relief in certain claims involving negligent third parties. However, the Board found that it did not have jurisdiction to consider external law and that, accordingly, the policy could not be applied to accidents occurring outside of Ontario. The employer appealed. In this decision, the Vice-Chair considered the worker's status to participate in the appeal. There are four possible grounds for a party to be granted standing at a Tribunal hearing: as a party of record; by virtue of a direct financial interest; because of a significant interest (usually a less direct financial interest); the Tribunal exercises its discretion to grant standing. A party of interest is not defined in the WSIA but there are provisions entitling a party of record to notice of proceedings and to a copy of the decision. Generally, this will mean that a party of record may also participate in the appeal. However, Tribunal decisions have found that even a party of record does not have the right to participate unless the party has an interest in the outcome of the appeal. In this case, the worker does not have a direct financial interest in the employer's appeal. A successful appeal will not affect the worker's benefits. Any findings about the employer's request for a transfer of costs will not have any impact on the worker. The worker also had no other significant interest in participating in the appeal. The worker had no direct or indirect financial interest. There would be no possible gain to the worker other than satisfaction or righting a wrong, upholding a principle or winning a contest. There have been situations in which the Tribunal exercises discretion to allow participation of a party as an intervenor. However, the worker's participation as an intervenor was not necessary and would not be helpful to the decision-making process. The Vice-Chair concluded that the worker was not entitled to participate in the employer's appeal.