17 February 2017

Court of Appeal allows class action lawsuit to proceed against Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court decision and allowed a major class action lawsuit against the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to proceed.

The law suit alleges that the Board perpetrated a misfeasance in public office when it illegally denied workers their full entitlement to benefits.

Secret policy

The plaintiff claims that the Board implemented a secret policy to cut benefits based on a worker's pre-existing condition, even where the condition had never shown symptoms or caused impairment before the accident. 

The Court of Appeal rejected the Board's argument that the legislature had ousted the court's jurisdiction to review the allegations of misfeasance and negligence leveled against it.

Appeal

The law suit must still be certified as a class action, although the Board may appeal the Court of Appeal decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.    

Welcomed

Speaking after the Court of Appeal issued the decision, Richard A Fink, Fink & Bornstein, the lawyer who brought the lawsuit, said: "We welcome the decision of the Court of Appeal and look forward to moving the action forward. This case is about protecting the vulnerable – injured workers.

“It is about holding the Board accountable for decisions that forced injured workers into lengthy and costly legal battles to win back benefits that they never should have been denied in the first place!"