The WSIAT has made two changes of note in the last few months: expansion of the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) process to single-party appeals and increased use of the Hamilton office for hearings.
The Tribunal has offered ADR for two-party appeals for many years. ADR is now available in single-party appeals, and will be useful in appeals which do not turn on credibility determinations. Most compensation rate (earnings basis) and non-economic loss appeals will fall in this category, Other cases may lend themselves to ADR depending on the state of the documentary reporting (usually medical reports). Interest in the ADR process can be conveyed to the Tribunal by checking the appropriate box on the Confirmation of Appeal form. If the Tribunal accepts the appeal for the ADR process, a Dispute Resolution Officer will be appointed. The Dispute Resolution Officer will have discussions with the worker and the worker's representative. Those discussions will be confidential. If an agreement is reached about a proposed resolution of the appeal, the Dispute Resolution Officer will prepare a written agreement. The agreement will then go a Vice-Chair of the Tribunal who will determine whether the agreement is consistent with the law and the evidence. If so, the agreement will become the determination of the Tribunal. If not or if no agreement is reached, the appeal will be returned to another Vice-Chair for hearing in the usual way.
The Tribunal has a permanent hearing centre in Hamilton at 119 King Street West, 14th floor. It has decided to discontinue its process of scheduling hearings in hotels in Kitchener, and instead to hold the hearings in Hamilton. The hearings begin at 9 a.m. as before.