Ont. Superior Court denies disability benefits due to lack of a causal link to 40-year-old accident

The plaintiff injured his while working as a maintenance mechanic for Canada Post

Ont. Superior Court denies disability benefits due to lack of a causal link to 40-year-old accident

In a recent personal injury case, the Ontario Superior Court upheld a decision denying disability benefits, concluding that there was no causal connection between the alleged injuries and a 1985 accident.

Dominico Chiocchio injured his right forearm in 1985, while working as a maintenance mechanic for Canada Post. The Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) recognized his entitlement to compensation, and he received temporary disability benefits until he returned to work in July 1986. Following his return, Chiocchio claimed additional injuries to his right wrist, shoulder, and elbow, as well as fibromyositis, under WSIB’s Chronic Pain Disability policy.

In 1988, Chiocchio sustained another workplace injury, resulting in a permanent right knee injury. Over the years, he has engaged in numerous claims, appeals, and reconsideration requests with WSIB and WSIAT. Past decisions pertinent to this case include a 1994 decision denying benefits for chronic pain disorder and temporary total disability, a 1996 decision denying benefits for alleged injuries to his right shoulder, elbow, and wrist from job duties, and a 2015 decision setting the arrears date for a permanent disability pension to August 27, 2002.

WSIAT dismissed Chiocchio’s appeal in 2018 due to insufficient evidence connecting the injuries to his job duties or accidents. After a successful reconsideration request, a full de novo hearing was conducted, resulting in the May 2020 decision, again dismissing his appeal. WSIAT found no causal connection between the alleged injuries and the 1985 accident, insufficient evidence of job-related injuries, and no entitlement to wage loss benefits for specific periods. Chiocchio requested a reconsideration of the May 2020 decision, which WSIAT denied in August 2021, concluding that his submissions were an attempt to re-argue previously addressed facts.

The Ontario Superior Court reviewed the WSIAT decisions under a reasonableness standard. Chiocchio argued, among other things, that WSIAT failed to properly evaluate the credibility of Canada Post’s evidence and witnesses. However, the court found the WSIAT decisions reasonable and well-supported by the evidence.

Canada Post and WSIAT argued that both decisions were thorough and justified, appropriately applying the relevant legislation and policies. They contended that the reconsideration decision adequately addressed all new submissions and documents provided by Chiocchio, which did not meet the threshold for reconsideration under WSIAT guidelines. Ultimately, the court found no basis to interfere with WSIAT's conclusions.

In its ruling, the court stated that even under a correctness standard, Chiocchio failed to demonstrate any error warranting judicial intervention. Thus, the application for judicial review was dismissed, affirming the decisions of WSIAT.

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