The suspension of limitation periods and procedural timelines at the WSIAT will end on September 14, 2020. On this date, all parties will be subject to the limitation periods in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) and expected to comply with the procedural timelines in the WSIAT’s Practice Directions.
Limitation periods and procedural timelines that expired during the suspension period – March 16, 2020 to September 11, 2020 – will resume on September 14, 2020. The revised deadlines will reflect the amount of time that remained in the time limit on March 16, 2020.
On March 20, 2020, the Government of Ontario made an order suspending limitation periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, retroactive to March 16, 2020. Procedural time periods were also suspended, subject to the discretion of the individual court or tribunal. Following this order, the WSIAT announced that it would accept Notice of Appeal forms filed outside of the six-month time period set out in section 125(2) of the WSIA. The WSIAT also made the decision not to strictly apply the Practice Direction: Disclosure, Witnesses, and the Three Week Rule during the duration of the emergency, and to use its discretion to reasonably extend timelines for procedural steps.
On June 6, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced that it was amending the order suspending limitation and procedural time periods. Effective June 5, 2020, the suspension of limitation and procedural time periods is no longer tied to the duration of the emergency. For more information, please see Ontario Regulations 73/20, 106/20, 457/20 and 458/20.
What Happens after September 14, 2020?
As of September 14, 2020, all parties will be subject to the limitation periods and procedural timelines set out in the WSIA and the WSIAT’s Practice Directions, including the six-month time limit for providing a Notice of Appeal and the three-week rule for submitting evidence. After September 14, 2020, parties who do not meet the six-month time limit must make a request for a time extension if they do not provide their Notice of Appeal on time – please see the WSIAT’s Practice Direction: Time Extension Applications. Parties who do not meet other procedural time limits must also ask for an extension which will be addressed in accordance with the WSIAT’s usual procedures.
Limitation periods and timelines that expired between March 16, 2020 and September 14, 2020 will resume on September 14, 2020. The revised deadlines will reflect the amount of time that remained in the time limit on March 16, 2020. For example:
- A party objects to an Appeals Resolution Officer decision dated April 3, 2020. The party now has six months from September 14, 2020 to submit a notice of appeal to the WSIAT. The deadline to file the appeal to the WSIAT would be March 14, 2021.
- A party had a Confirmation of Appeal (COA) deadline of July 16, 2020. On March 16, 2020 the party had 4 months to file the COA. The party now has four months from September 14, 2020 to submit their COA to the WSIAT. The deadline to file the COA would be January 14, 2021.
Beginning with hearings scheduled for the week of October 5, 2020, parties must also again provide evidence and confirm witnesses in accordance with the WSIAT’s “three week rule” set out in the Practice Direction: Disclosure, Witnesses, and the Three Week Rule.
It is the responsibility of all parties to calculate and meet their revised time limits or procedural deadlines. Information about how the WSIAT calculates time generally is set out in the WSIAT’s Practice Direction: Calculation of Time. The WSIAT also plans to send letters to parties with active appeals at the WSIAT, advising of the new deadline, if they are subject to a deadline that expired between March 16, 2020 and September 11, 2020.
If you have any questions or concerns about meeting a deadline or any other issue, please contact the WSIAT Call Centre.