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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 2343 16
9/26/2016
S. Netten

  • Earnings basis (apprentice)
  • Earnings basis (escalation)

An apprentice mechanic suffered a back injury in 1966, for which he was granted a 10% pension, later increased to 15% in 1997, to 20% in 1998 and to 25% in 2002. In 2010, entitlement was extended to the knees, and the pension was increased to 55%. In 2011, the worker underwent knee replacement surgery. The Board accepted that the worker was temporarily totally disabled in 2011 but did not pay temporary benefits because the worker's pension exceed what he would have received in temporary total disability benefits.
The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer regarding the earnings basis for calculation of the pension and temporary benefits.
The Board had been paying benefits based on actual pre-accident earnings as an apprentice. In 2003, the Board revised the earnings basis using average earnings of a mechanic in 1966. To determine the average earnings of a mechanic in 1966, the Board used figures from Statistics Canada for 1991 or $28,900 (the earliest figures available) and then deflated that amount based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, resulting in estimated wages in 1966 of $6,100. The Vice-Chair found this to be a reasonable approach. It exceeded the maximum earnings in 1966 of $6,000. The Board correctly based all benefits on the maximum of $6,000.
From 1966 to 1974, the Act did not allow for increases to the earnings basis, for either pension or temporary benefits. In 1974, the Act was amended to provide a substantial increase to the amounts payable for pensions and temporary benefits. Another amendment in 1975, provided further increase to the amounts payable for pensions and temporary benefits. From 1975 to 1985, the Act continued to be amended on an ad hoc based to provide increases to pension payments, but there was not corresponding increases for temporary benefits. Thus, by 1985, the worker's pension was based on $328 gross weekly but the temporary benefits remained at the 1975 level of $154.
After 1985, there was a one-time indexing factor followed by an annual indexing factor. This applied to both pensions and temporary benefits.
The Vice-Chair found that the Board correctly applied all these earnings basis increases to the worker's pension and temporary benefits. It correctly did not pay temporary benefits in 2011, as the worker's pension exceeded the value of his temporary benefits at that time.
The appeal was dismissed.