Finding WSIAT Decisions
All WSIAT decisions can be found on our WSIAT Decision Search page, on the WSIAT’s website.
The WSIAT Decision Search provides free access to WSIAT decisions and allows users to search for decisions using keywords and summaries, and other parameters, such as release date. In addition, since 2010, the WSIAT has published a selection of noteworthy decisions on its website. This service is designed to provide information about key decisions on medical, legal and procedural issues in a timely and accessible manner. For more information and tips on searching for WSIAT decisions in the WSIAT Decision Database, please see the WSIAT Decision Database Search Tipsheet.
WSIAT decisions are also available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website. CanLII provides free access to decisions made by Canadian courts and tribunals, as well as consolidated statutes and regulations. CanLII allows users to search the full text of WSIAT decisions. For more information and tips on searching for WSIAT decisions on CanLII, please see the WSIAT Tipsheet: Finding WSIAT Decisions on CanLII.
WSIAT decisions are also available from LexisNexis (Quicklaw) and Thomson Reuters (WestlawNext Canada), which are fee-based services.
The Librarians at the Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library (OWTL) may also assist you with searching for WSIAT decisions and other research. Library services are available by email; please contact the OWTL librarians at email@example.com. The OWTL’s collection is open to the public, but no library materials may be borrowed or removed. The OWTL is located at the WSIAT’s Toronto location, and is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OWTL premises are closed for in-person visits/research until further notice.
WSIAT Decision Numbers
WSIAT decisions are named using numbers. A WSIAT decision number is composed of three elements: a root number, the year the case was first heard, and a suffix (if appropriate). For example, Decision No. 3247/18R has a root number of 3247, was first heard in 2018, and has an R suffix because it is a reconsideration decision.
The year a case is first heard is not always the same year the decision is released. For example, if a case is first heard in 2018 but the decision is released in 2019, the decision number will still have 18 as the year mark.
A suffix represents the type of decision. These are the suffixes commonly used in WSIAT decision numbers:
|E||extension of time to appeal|
|R||reconsideration or clarification|
Not all decisions are assigned a letter suffix. Most final decisions – also called decisions on the merits – are not assigned a suffix.
Some decision numbers have the same root number and year mark, but are distinguished from each by their letter suffix. For example, Decisions No. 1876/17I, 1876/17IR, 1876/17, 1876/17R and 1876/17R2 reflect the interim, interim-reconsideration, final, first reconsideration and second reconsideration decisions made in the same appeal.
Every WSIAT decision is assigned a set of keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that reflect the subject matter of a decision. For example, Decision No. 123/03I has the keyword “adjournment (additional medical evidence).” This keyword was selected because adjudicators wrote Decision No. 123/03I after adjourning the hearing so WSIAT staff could obtain additional medical evidence.
Keywords are a useful tool to find relevant decisions. For example, if you are looking for decisions that considered whether an injured worker was entitled to a wheelchair, you can search using the keyword “Health care (appliances or apparatus) (wheelchair).” Using this keyword will help you avoid decisions that include the word “wheelchair,” but entitlement to a wheelchair was not an issue under appeal.
You can find keywords by going to the WSIAT Decision Search page and clicking on “Find Keywords.”
As of 2019, the WSIAT has released more than 80,000 decisions. Approximately 30 percent of these decisions – more than 24,000 – have been summarized by WSIAT counsel. The WSIAT’s decision summaries provide a succinct overview of the background information, the issues under appeal, and the key findings made by WSIAT adjudicators. On CanLII these summaries are included in the decision text, appearing at the beginning.
If you are having difficulties finding a decision, you can consult the WSIAT Decision Database Search Tipsheet or the WSIAT Tipsheet: Finding WSIAT Decisions on CanLII. Additionally, CanLII has a useful guide on performing decision searches on its website. You can also contact the librarians at the Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library who are available to answer your questions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OWTL premises are closed to the public until further notice. However, library services are available by email; please contact the OWTL librarians at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Privacy and Personal Information
The WSIAT has a duty to protect the privacy of individuals. In addition, providing the identities of employers or workers is not necessary for ensuring that the public understands the reasons for WSIAT decisions or the principles of workplace safety and insurance law. For these reasons, the WSIAT generally anonymizes the names of parties and witnesses, and removes WSIAT and WSIB claim numbers. Information that could indirectly reveal the identities of parties or witnesses – such as the names of family, friends, co-workers and supervisors – is also anonymized.
However, the WSIAT does not anonymize all personal information. WSIAT decisions name interpreters and experts providing evidence, such as doctors and specialists. Representatives appearing in their professional capacity are also named. In right to sue (section 31) decisions, the parties (applicant, respondent and interested parties) are not anonymized because the civil case is already a matter of public record.