Injured workers and the right to appeal

Principal Investigator: Robert Storey

The establishment of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT) in 1985 marked a new era for injured workers by introducing an independent appeals procedure (the name of the tribunal was changed to Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) in 1997). From its inception to the present, the WCAT/WSIAT has played a pivotal role in the adjudication process and in the development of compensation policy.

This project will investigate, first, the changing nature of the appeal processes (i.e., from informal, cooperative inquiry to an institutionalized and adversarial legal hearing), and, second, the impact WCAT/WSIAT decisions have had on injured workers and other major participants in the appeals process. For this project, a sample of individuals who have been involved with the WCAT/WSIAT either as adjudicators and/or as staff will be interviewed to obtain their views and understanding of the role of this organization in the appeals processes and the impact of changes in regulations and policy.

Detailed secondary data analysis will be undertaken via a case study analysis of decisions identified as being leading cases with regards to specific issues (e.g., chronic pain and stress) and in terms of decision making processes (e.g., those that have precipitated changes in the relationship between the WCAT/WSIAT and the workers' compensation board).

Research for this project will be conducted from 2009 to 2011 with results being published in the following period.

History & social/political movements

Phase 1 Projects

The injured workers' movement in Ontario 1900-2005

Medical science and practice within the Ontario Workers' Compensation Board, 1960-1995

Phase 2 Projects

Injured workers and the labour movement

Injured workers and the right to appeal