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Guidelines for Teleconference and Videoconference Hearing Expenses

Throughout COVID-19 the WSIAT has remained committed to providing service to its stakeholders. Since March 2020, alternative hearing methods, including teleconference, videoconference, or written hearings have been offered as an alternative to in-person hearings to prevent undue delay in matters being resolved. While in-person hearings resumed at the WSIAT on a limited basis in mid-August 2020, as long as public health restrictions remain in place, the WSIAT will continue to focus on alternative hearing methods to provide ongoing access to justice.

In light of the increase in the number of hearings proceeding by teleconference and videoconference, the WSIAT has developed a new “Hearing Expense for Teleconference and Videoconference Claim” form (paper version, e-file version) which is available on the WSIAT’s website. This form specifically allows injured workers and their witnesses, as well as survivors of deceased workers and their witnesses, to seek payment for eligible expenses arising from teleconference and videoconference hearings.

Background

Under section 133 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, the WSIAT may pay reasonable allowances to certain individuals, including workers and their witnesses and survivors of deceased workers and their witnesses.

Eligible individuals can claim expenses related to in-person hearings by completing and submitting the “Hearing Expense Claim” form (paper version, e-file version).

Expenses related to teleconference and videoconference hearings can be claimed by submitting the new “Hearing Expense for Teleconference and Videoconference Claim” form (paper version, e-file version).

To be reimbursed, individuals must complete the appropriate expense form and send it to the WSIAT along with receipts. Forms and related supporting documents can be filed with the WSIAT by mail, fax or e-filing.

For more information about claiming payment for expenses, please see the Practice Direction: Fees and Expenses.

What Types of Teleconference and Videoconference Hearing Expenses will the WSIAT Pay?

The WSIAT will provide reimbursement for three main types of expenses related to teleconference and videoconference hearings.

  1. Telephone: The WSIAT will reimburse workers and their witnesses, and the survivors of deceased workers and their witnesses, for actual telephone charges related to attending either a teleconference or a videoconference hearing.
  2. Internet/Data: The WSIAT will reimburse eligible individuals in the amount of $5.50 per hour for actual internet or data expenses related to participating in a videoconference hearing. To claim these expenses, individuals must confirm that they do not have access to unlimited high speed wired or wireless internet.
  3. Additional Expenses, Including Equipment. The WSIAT will also consider other claims for payment of reasonable expenses related to attending a teleconference or videoconference hearing.
    Payment for equipment, including webcams, will be provided up to a maximum cost of $50.

The WSIAT will consider other requests for payment of hearing-related expenses on an individual basis. Receipts must be provided to claim all expenses.

Questions about hearing expenses can be directed to the WSIAT’s Remote Call Centre at 416-436-8378.

We thank you for your ongoing co-operation and patience as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances.