1.0 This Practice Direction:
- explains the process for assigning Vice-Chairs and Panels to hearings.
2.1 The Tribunal Chair assigns hearings to Vice-Chairs to decide matters under the Act (Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, section 174 (2)). Vice-Chairs decide most cases.
2.2 If the Tribunal Chair considers it appropriate in the circumstances, the Chair may assign a Panel to hear a matter. The Panel shall consist of a Vice-Chair, a Member representing workers and a Member representing employers. (Section 174(3) of the Act)
2.3 The Tribunal Chair may also hear cases, either sitting alone or as the Chair of a Panel.
3.0 Panel Assignments
3.1 In deciding whether to assign a Panel, the Tribunal Chair gives particular consideration to whether the case involves:
- medical/scientific issues which have important implications for the workplace insurance system
- novel legal interpretations, particularly under new legislation
- significant credibility findings which require a “jury-like” determination
- issues where Tribunal case law is still developing and a need exists for a particularly well-reasoned decision reflecting both employer and worker perspectives
- new hearing techniques or procedures; and/or
- significant financial consequences for the Insurance Fund, particularly where only one party is participating.
4.0 Requests for Panel Assignments
4.1 If an appellant wants to ask for a Panel to hear his or her appeal or application, s/he should make a written request at least eight weeks prior to the hearing date. The request must contain reasons and should consider the factors in 3.1.
4.2 The appellant must send the request to the Appeals Administrator and send a copy of the request to all parties participating in the hearing.
4.3 The Tribunal Chair will review the request and make a decision. The Appeals Administrator will advise the parties in writing of the Tribunal Chair’s decision.
4.4 If an appellant has not requested that a Panel hear his or her appeal or application, s/he may learn whether a Panel or Vice-Chair has been assigned by contacting the Tribunal within four weeks of the scheduled hearing. The Tribunal will not disclose the identity of the Panel or Vice-Chair before the hearing unless the Panel or Vice-Chair has made a pre-hearing ruling.
4.5 Occasionally unforeseen circumstances may prevent a Member from appearing at a hearing. After considering the parties’ views, the Tribunal Chair may authorize the Vice Chair to proceed to hear the matter alone.
4.6 A request for a Panel should not be made at the hearing. The Act does not give a Vice-Chair the authority to grant such a request.
Effective date: July 1, 2014
Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
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