Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1169 20 I2
R. McCutcheon - D. Thomson - M. Tzaferis
  • Evidence (expert) (scope)
  • Hearing (observers)
  • Intervenors
  • Procedure (interim decision)
  • Procedure (leading case strategy)
  • Standing (Board)
  • Evidence (expert) (qualification)

This interim decision concerned one of four appeals being heard together that raise similar issues with respect to benefits received by workers injured while employed through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). The four cases are being heard together by this Panel to adopt a leading case approach to the issues.

The Panel decided in this interim decision that: a) the WSIB will be given an opportunity to participate as amicus curiae in these proceedings, subject to guidelines set out by the Panel in this decision; b) the Panel will hear testimony from one expert witness to provide background information about how the SAWP operates and the socio-cultural environment of migrant agricultural workers; and, c) the Panel will permit the request to have approximately 50 observers attend on the final day of the hearing, if an appropriate technological solution can be arranged, which does not detract from or undermine the seriousness of the proceedings.
The Panel noted that the Tribunal is not subject to the open court principle and does not typically have large numbers of observers at hearings. The Tribunal also does not usually allow for public observers at hearings, although a request for a significant number of observers was addressed in the Pension Assessment Appeals Leading Case Second Interim Report (P.A.A.L.C.2) (1986), 7 W.C.A.T.R. 389. The Panel concluded that it was appropriate to grant the request for observers in this case, taking into account specific factors that are set out in this decision.