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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 1067 15
7/13/2015
S. Peckover

  • Earnings basis (social assistance program)
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (earnings basis) (non-permanent or irregular employment)

A construction worker started working for the employer on a short-term six-week contract on May 25, 2007. He was injured on June 13, 2007. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer regarding the earnings basis for long-term benefits.
The worker was receiving social assistance benefits for periods from May 2005 to October 2007. The worker submitted that his long-term benefits should be based on Board policy provisions for Ontario Works participants or that periods for which he received social assistance benefits should be excluded from the calculation.
Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 18-02-08, on determining average earnings in exceptional cases, provides that the earnings of workers who are placed with employers as part of the Ontario Works program are calculated according to the guidelines for learners. In this case, there were two letters on file from an administrator at Ontario Works but the record did not indicate whether the worker's jobs were placements through Ontario Works or were obtained on his own. Thus, there was not sufficient evidence to say definitively that the worker was an Ontario Works participant on an ongoing basis.
However, it was clear that the worker was receiving social assistance benefits for periods that he was not working. Document No. 18-02-04, on determining long-term average earnings for workers in non-permanent employment, provides that non-earning periods in which a worker was receiving social assistance benefits are factored out of the recalculation period.
The Vice-Chair applied Document No. 18-02-04 and concluded that the non-earning periods in which the worker was receiving social assistance benefits should be factored out of the recalculation period. The appeal was allowed.