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Navigating Workers’ Compensation

Winning Cases at the WSIB and WSIAT: A skills training session


This workshop will provide an overview of the WSIB appeal process from receipt of an adverse WSIB decision through to a hearing at the WSIAT. Experienced advocates will provide helpful advice on crafting an effective advocacy strategy and marshalling persuasive evidence before WSIB Appeals Resolution Officers (AROs) and the WSIAT. You will also have an opportunity to learn oral advocacy skills, such as making opening statements and cross-examining witnesses, directly from the experts.

  • Reviewing the new WSIB appeal process: When a worker or employer receives an unfavourable WSIB decision what steps must be taken to appeal the decision? What are the timelines for each step in the process? At what point in the process should a representative (e.g. counsel, union representative) get involved? Under what circumstances will the WSIB extend the statutory deadline for filing an objection to the decision? What types of cases has the WSIB decided are best resolved through a hearing in writing? When is the WSIB ordering oral hearings? In what circumstances should representatives push for oral hearings? When is it advisable to request a reconsideration of an ARO decision and when is it best to appeal to the WSIAT without asking for reconsideration?
  • Pre-hearing preparation: How should representatives identify, sort and prioritize issues during an initial meeting with a client regarding a WSIB appeal matter? What are the policies and procedures for pre-hearing disclosure and summonses at the WSIB level and at the WSIAT level? What steps should a representative take to obtain relevant evidence, find relevant case law, select a remedy to seek, and prepare to meet the other side's case? How should a representative prepare a client and other witnesses for an oral hearing?
  • Medical evidence: How can a representative make the best use of the medical information already on file? What are some techniques for challenging medical evidence already on file? How can a representative use new evidence to overcome the weight given to Board doctors' opinions? Should worker representatives always attempt to obtain evidence from specialists or should they rely on the evidence of the worker's treating health care professionals?
  • At the hearing: What are some tips for successful written advocacy? What are the procedures for an oral hearing before an ARO? What are the procedures at the WSIAT? What are the essential features of effective opening statements? What are the best ways to effectively question your own witnesses and to cross-examine the other side's witnesses? When and how should expert witnesses be used? When is written evidence from experts sufficient?
  • Human rights and Charter issues: What are the procedures at the ARO level for raising an argument based on the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? What impact has WSIAT Decision No. 2157/09 had on appeals at the ARO level? What effect has the decision had at WSIAT hearings?
  • Final arguments: How should you build a theory of the case into your final argument? How can you present alternative arguments without weakening your theory of the case? What are some strategies for addressing witness credibility in your closing statement? How can representatives make the best use of law and policy in their arguments at each level of appeal?


 
 
 
 

Interested?

E-mail Roshien Asanta or call (416) 977-6618 for more information. We can help to tailor a Customized Training package for you.



Sample Schedule



9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.

 INTRODUCTION  Introductions and Overview of the Workshop


Today’s workshop will highlight the major steps of hearing preparation and execution in an interactive fashion designed to promote learning, encourage participation, and have fun. We will follow one case study throughout the day so as to lend coherence to discussion.

There will be brief discussions of the major steps, followed by role play dramatizations (worker and employer side), and concluding with group and panel discussion.

9:20 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

 PART 1  Hearing Preparation: Mock Client Interviews


10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

 PART 2  Group and Panel Discussion


  • Pre-appeal and pre-hearing preparation
  • Documentary evidence production (medical reports, online studies, etc.)
  • Differences in WSIB and WSIAT appeal processes

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

MORNING BREAK


10:45 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.

 PART 3  The Hearing: Mock Opening Statements


11:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 PART 4  Group and Panel Discussion


  • Preliminary issues
  • Value of an opening statement

12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

LUNCH


12:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

 PART 5  Panel Discussion: Witness Examinations – Who should testify?


  • Subpoenas and interpreters
  • Expert evidence
  • Differences between direct and cross questioning

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 PART 6  The Hearing: Mock Examination of the Worker


2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

AFTERNOON BREAK


2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 PART 7  The Hearing: Mock Submissions


3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 CONCLUSION  Group and Panel Discussion – Final Thoughts


  • Importance of the submission
  • Written vs. oral submissions
  • Complex legal issues
  • Post-hearing processes


Additional Information


MATERIALS
Includes materials, with case summaries and analyses, prepared by Lancaster's legal staff.