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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 2180 17
7/26/2017
J. Smith - D. Thomson - M. Ferrari

  • Chance event
  • Hemorrhage (subarachnoid)
  • Presumptions (entitlement)

A caretaker suffered a sudden onset of headache, nausea and numbness while lifting garbage cans. She was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the subarachnoid hemorrhage. A chance event has come to be interpreted as a discrete event associated with an immediate onset of symptoms, even if the event involved the performance of a worker's regular duties. The circumstances of this case meet the definition of a chance event. Accordingly, the presumption in s. 13 of the WSIA applies that the accident arose out of employment, unless rebutted. Medical evidence indicated that there are two possible ways for a subarachnoid hemorrhage to be work-related: a sudden rise in the worker's blood pressure or a ruptured aneurysm resulted from such a rise in blood pressure; an injury to the vertebral artery causing the layers of the artery to separate. Neither of those work-related mechanisms was present in this case. The presumption that the accident arose out of employment was rebutted. The worker did not have entitlement for the subarachnoid hemorrhage. The appeal was dismissed.