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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 556 13
4/18/2013
E. Smith - B. Young - M. Ferrari

  • Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin's)
  • Smoking (second-hand smoke)

The worker started working at a casino in 1998. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2007, at age 43. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The worker related her condition to exposure to second-hand smoke from 1998 until 2006, when the casino became smoke-free.
The Board obtained a review of the epidemiology by a respirologist. This was the only expert evidence that addressed the issue in the appeal. He was of the view that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that second-hand smoke was causative of the worker's cancer. The epidemiology suggests a low relative risk with respect to the relationship between second-hand smoke and cancers other than lung cancer (or possibly nasal or maxillary sinus cancer).
The Panel noted that there is no Board policy directly addressing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Panel considered it relevant to bear in mind criteria used by the Board to address other exposures. There is a well recognized relationship between lung cancer and exposure to asbestos. Board policy for lung cancer in asbestos workers requires 10 years of clear and adequate exposure and a 10-year latency period between first exposure and diagnosis.
The Panel concluded that there was insufficient probative evidence of a relationship between the worker's exposure and her cancer. The appeal was dismissed.