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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 230 17
J. Dimovski

  • Casual employment
  • Right to sue
  • Volunteer
  • Worker (contract of service)

The defendants in a civil case applied to determine whether the plaintiff's right of action was taken away. The issue was whether the plaintiff was a worker or a volunteer at the time of an accident.
The plaintiff was a 17-year-old high school student. He had recently completed an unpaid student co-op placement with the defendant. The defendant called the plaintiff and asked him to help out on a job. The plaintiff agreed. He was injured while working for the defendant on that day.
While the plaintiff was not paid on the co-op placement, he had been paid for hours he worked beyond the placement. On the day of the accident, it was agreed that the plaintiff would be paid by cheque afterwards. The plaintiff submitted that he worked as a volunteer to get additional experience. The Vice-Chair accepted that the plaintiff wanted additional experience but found that he was a casual labourer performing work that was for the purposes of the defendant's industry.
Accordingly, the plaintiff was a worker in the course of employment at the time of the accident. His right of action was taken away.