Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 154 21
08/03/2021
S. Ryan
  • Procedure (early resolution) (process)
  • Loss of earnings {LOE} (lay-off) (short-term)

This appeal was referred to the Tribunal's Early Intervention Program (EIP). The issue on appeal was entitlement to LOE benefits following a temporary work disruption on January 4, 2018.

The Vice-Chair in this decision explained in some detail the EIP program at the Tribunal.
Section 130 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) provides that the Tribunal may provide mediation services in such circumstances as it considers appropriate. Section 131(2) provides that the Tribunal shall determine its own practice and procedure in relation to applications, proceedings and mediation. The objective of the EIP, which began in early 2018, was to resolve suitable appeals without a full oral or written hearing, following a long history of early intervention initiatives at the Tribunal as demonstrated in Decision No. 276/97.
The EIP is staffed by Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs), who review files earlier in the pre-hearing process and determine whether particular appeals can be resolved without the need for a full oral or written hearing. If suitable for EIP and the parties agree to participate, a DRO conducts an ADR case discussion in a single-party appeal or mediation in a two-party appeal, with the goal of reaching an agreement on the outcome of the appeal. The DRO must be satisfied that the outcome is consistent with the WSIA and Board policy, and is reasonably supported by the documentary evidence.
Participation in the EIP is voluntary, without prejudice and strictly confidential. The details of discussions between the parties and DRO in cases that fail to produce a resolution will not be disclosed to the Vice-Chair or Panel who will ultimately adjudicate the appeal.
The Vice-Chair noted the benefits of EIP as follows:
Consistency with the principle of "proportionality" in the adjudicative process
More direct participation or ownership of the parties in the outcome of the appeal
Removal the uncertainty of the outcome in traditional adjudication
Preserving a positive relationship between worker and employer (mediation)
Protecting vulnerable witnesses from the stress of testifying in an oral hearing
Reducing expenditure of time and resources for the parties and the Tribunal.
The Vice-Chair accepted the agreed resolution of the parties in this appeal, finding that the worker was entitled to full LOE benefits following the temporary work disruption from January 4 to April 6, 2018. The worker withdrew the issue of LOE entitlement from April 6, 2018.