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WSIB to abolish policy that slashed benefits for thousands

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to review some 4,500 claims made by injured workers whose compensation may have been unfairly cut due to controversial guidelines.

The provincial workers’ compensation board will reverse a controversial policy that slashed benefits by blaming injuries on “pre-existing conditions,” even if they had no physical impact on workers before they got hurt on the job, the Star has learned.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will also review 4,500 claims made by workers whose compensation may have been unfairly reduced as a result of the policy.

Implemented in 2012, the policy represented a significant — and some argued illegal — departure from the founding tenets of the workers’ compensation system in Canada: the so-called thin-skull principle, which says workers cannot be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition that caused no symptoms before a workplace accident.

The issue was also the subject of a class action lawsuit filed in 2014 by Toronto lawyers Richard Fink and Alan McConnell. The suit argued that injured workers were being “denied the full extent of benefits to which they were entitled” as a result of a “secret policy” to “aggressively reduce” the lump sums awarded to people with work-related permanent injuries.

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