WSIB reassigns worker’s claim following inquiries into concerns about the adjudicator’s impartiality

A worker and his representative complained to the Commission about the treatment the worker received from his adjudicator. According to the worker, the adjudicator was hostile and demeaning in her communication with him. The worker’s representative confirmed that the adjudicator was personal in her comments and did not appear to be open-minded and impartial. Since the worker was suffering from physical as well as psychological injuries, the representative was concerned that the adjudicator’s behaviour was having a serious impact on the worker’s health.

In the review, the Commission found that the adjudicator’s documentation in the file appeared to have a negative personal tone. As well, requests made to internal WSIB consultants were not written in an objective manner. It appeared that new evidence and information submitted by the representative had not been reviewed objectively. Some memos indicated the outcome before the adjudicator had received expert advice.

Since the representative had already raised her concerns with the adjudicator’s manager and had written to the director, the Commission’s specialist met with the assistant director, who was responding on behalf of the director. During the meeting, the Best Approaches document on adjudication practices was compared with the adjudicator’s requests for internal consultations and the problematic memos were identified.

At a follow-up meeting, the assistant director said that the claim had been assigned to a new team to reinstate the worker’s confidence in the claims-handling process. In addition, the assistant director was going to ask the managers to review the Best Approaches document with their teams.