WSIB dropped court case after its own overpayment error brought to light

Complainant: Worker’s representative

Problem: WSIB tried to recover overpayments contrary to its own policy.

Resolution: WSIB dropped court action and stopped pursuing injured worker.

The WSIB launched a court action against an injured worker who was behind in repaying an overpayment in benefits. The worker’s representative contacted the Commission to say the worker had no obligation to repay because the overpayment was the WSIB’s mistake.

The WSIB’s policy prevents it from trying to recover overpayments made because of an appeal, a reconsideration of an earlier decision, or an administrative error. In this case, the representative believed that the WSIB had made an administrative error.

The worker had severe depression, did not have money to make the payments, could not afford a lawyer, and was worried about the court proceedings.

The deciding issue was whether the worker could have been aware that the benefits he received were incorrect. After reviewing the case at the Commission’s request, the manager determined the benefits were non-recoverable. The manager explained the new decision to the worker’s representative, and provided a letter for the worker to take to court stating the WSIB was no longer pursuing the collection of the overpayment.