Oral hearings improve the quality of decision-making. For many injured workers, there is also satisfaction and relief at being able to explain in their own words what really happened.
At least I have talked to someone from the Board and he was listening to me. That makes me feel settled that at last my situation is understood.”
Under the new Appeals Services Division guidelines there are 31 types of issue that will not receive an oral hearing (except in exceptional circumstances) and a small number of issues for which the worker may be allowed an oral hearing after providing written detailed submissions supporting the request.
The justice of an oral hearing should be available to all
An oral hearing has value in reaching a fair and just result. It is an important opportunity for:
- the injured worker to be heard and face a senior Board decision maker (often the first time an in-person meeting has taken place)
- the injured worker to have his/her case properly considered and appreciated in a dynamic interaction
- gaining an understanding of a claim far more effectively and probably more efficiently than reliance on analysis of the paper file alon
- uncovering misunderstandings (that may have snowballed through the memos and medical reports), clarifying circumstances and correcting mistakes, in a setting where both the injured worker and appeals officer can look at the file together