Pre-existing conditions policy – looking to deny, not allow
The WSIB has fundamentally changed the original mandate of Ontario’s system – to compensate for injury. With this new policy, which came into effect November 2014, the Board can now deny benefits by blaming disabilities on age-related “degeneration” and pre-existing conditions rather than the work injury – even if these have not affected workers’ ability to do the job.
- the accepted standard causation test of whether the work was a “significant contributing factor” in the development of the condition (workplace injury need only be a significant but not the sole factor), and
- the “thin skull rule” (take the worker as you find him/her – a worker should not be penalized because she had a pre-existing condition that did not affect her capacity to do her job but made her susceptible to greater injury than another worker).
THE WSIB will review the policy in 2017.
- Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups. 2017 Sep. Workers’ Comp Is a Right: We Demand Stop Cutting Benefits Based on Pre-existing Conditions.
- Mojtehedzadeh, Sara. 2017 Feb. 14. “Class Action Against WSIB Claiming Unfair Benefit Cuts Given Go-ahead.” Toronto Star
- Burke, Ashley. 2016 Oct. 27. “WSIB’s ‘Devastating’ Compensation Policy All About Board’s Bottom Line, Lawyers Charge: Some Injured Workers Have had Benefits Cut by Half Since Pre-existing Conditions Policy Came into Effect.” CBC News Ottawa
- Ellis, Ron. 2015 Oct. 13. “Cost-averse Adjudication and the Hijacking of the Thin-Skull Rule.” Administrative Justice in Workers’ Compensation
- IWO Backgrounder. 2014, Nov. New WSIB Benefits Policies – what led to the current cutbacks
- Injured Workers’ Consultants. 2014, Apr. 30. Submissions on WSIB Draft Policies. Toronto: IWC