Injured workers heading to the Supreme Court

March 28, 2017
This Thursday (Mar. 30) injured workers will be in the gallery for the Supreme Court hearing on the appeal case Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (formerly CSST) v. Alain Caron [read summary here] in which the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) is an intervener.

The 2015 Quebec Court of Appeal decision [2015 QCCA 1048] held that, while Quebec’s Act respecting Industrial Accidents and Occupational Diseases placed no obligation on employers to offer suitable employment to a worker who has suffered a work-related injury, when an employee exercises their right to return to work the employer must engage in a process of reasonable accommodation in accordance with the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Further, it found that the Quebec’s Workers’ Health and Safety Commission (CSST) and Occupational Injuries Commission (CLP) had an obligation to examine whether the employer complied.

ONIWG as intervener
The ONIWG & IAVGO Community Legal Clinic Factum addresses, with reference to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the duty of workers’ compensation boards to fulfill what should be one of their key responsibilities: ensuring that injured workers’ human rights are respected at a crucial and vulnerable time as they return to work. As detailed in the factum, WSIB adjudicators are best placed to take an active role in stopping the discrimination too frequently experienced by workers re-entering the workplace. [read more]

As for chronic pain case hearing in 2002, Ontario’s injured workers feel their presence in the courtroom necessary in such an important case, and will be supported by legal clinics and other advocates with educational sessions on the case and procedure. A follow-up from people who were there is planned for the next Bright Lights meeting at IWC on April 6th.
This will be ONIWG’s 6th appearance before the Supreme Court as intervener. Previous cases in which ONIWG was an intervener:

– British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal) v. Fraser Health Authority, [2016] 1 SCR 587, 2016 SCC 25 (CanLII)
– Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, [2008] 2 SCR 362, 2008 SCC 39 (CanLII)
– McGill University Health Centre (Montreal General Hospital) v. Syndicat des employés de l’Hôpital général de Montréal, [2007] 1 SCR 161, 2007 SCC 4 (CanLII)
– Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin; Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Laseur, [2003] 2 SCR 504, 2003 SCC 54 (CanLII)
– Kovach v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), [2000] 1 SCR 55, 2000 SCC 3 (CanLII)

Related reading

Saint-Cyr, Yosie. 2015 Oct. 1. “More Onerous Duty to Accommodate Workplace Injuries.” Slaw
Bawden, Sean. 2016 Jan 25. “Workplace Accommodation is a Two-way Street …on Which Employees Can Get Run Over” CanLII Connects (re Nason v. Thunder Bay Orthopaedic Inc. 2015 ONSC 8097 decision]
Ontario Human Rights Commission. 2016. Discrimination Based on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate: Information for Employers. Toronto: OHRC
Birch, Dan. 2010 Dec. 6. “Rights and Wrongs” OHS Canada [The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario seems to be a more frequent stop for injured workers with accommodation concerns since changes to the provincial human rights system]

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