To help people fight their respective workers compensation baords and tribunals, I have setup this section of the website to
provide injured workers with information about representing themselves at each level of the workers compensation appeal process.
I have also included the process within the Court system as well.
PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of this section and in fact the entire website is NOT to give legal advice
but to provide you with legal information about how all the legal systems work.
I might create a set of webspages whcih combine all the systems where I will speak of each system.
Alternatively, I might create a separate page/section for each jurisdiction.
Once I have started creating everything and determine which is less confusing, then that is the way I will go.
As I live in Ontario and know the existing system, I will start with Ontario first
and then move across the country, where I will disucss each system and explain how one can represent themselves.
I should mention that while the systems of appeal maybe slightly different, the way you make your arguments are all the same.
The difference is what form or style do you use and who or where do you send it, as well as time limits.
I have provided a simple chart, which I will expand on later when I get into more detail, including explain the type or level of “burden of proof” and who is it that must establish it.
Often SRLs state their arguments and refer to evidence, sometimes without stating the facts, referring to law & board policy.
This is the important connections.
Even more is that SRLs believe once they have convinced themselves of their arguments then they do not have to do no further convincing of anyone. Others should jsut accept what the SRL has stated.
To avoid this always assume you are being treated as a liar and work to prove everything, especially the conneciton between the evidence and the facts and the connect between the fatcs and the law & policies.
As each Province/Territory is different, I will provide specific information for each region of Canada, starting with Ontario and then working west and east across Canada. Perhaps, maybe someday I will expand and provide it for other countries as well.
Representing yourself is an extremely difficult thing!
You must learn the process, procedures and formulate convincing legal arguments!
All the while dealing with institutional prejudices against SRLs!
I would strongly suggest, if you are able to get a representative, then do it.
You may not realize it but just doing that, will provide you with a much better chance of success.
That said, I know what it is like to be in a difficult position of not being able to afford a representative
or wait for a long time for a free service you might get.
This is why I started this website.
A right to represent oneself is a protected right, across Canada and in most other common-law countries.
Unfortunately, in most regions across Canada, there is little help or even any information for people that represent themselves.
This is commonly believed to be because an injured worker can hire a representative or they can use a free representative available to them. However, there is an assumption made that one can afford to pay for representation whether a lawyer, paralegal or agent.
If we can't, then we are told there are free options available to us.
The problem with the free options is that they often come with massive delays.
In my own experience I was advised by several free services that I would have to wait anywhere from two to five years for them to consider representing me or not. To me and most, having to wait even two years is not a service of any kind.
Therefore, in most cases, people end up representing themselves, or sadly in many cases they give up!
A great place for general information on representing yourself is a website created by a group out of the University of Windsor Law School and headed by Professor Julie MacFarlane. Their group is called the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP).
Their website is https://representingyourselfcanada.com
This group has done amazing work in the advancement of Self Represented Litigants – SRLs.
They have performed many studies on the effects of SRLs within the justice system, across Canada.
While the majority of their information and research focuses on Canada's Court justcie system, it is still a great place to learn from.
My Arguement on Why Boards & Tribunals Ought to Provide Services to SRLs
By this I mena thta the Boards and tribunals do not provide any ionformaiotn or asisatnce to individuals who represent themsleves.
While no board or tribunal, that I know of offers help for SRLs, one could argue it has been mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
If I can explain there are two points to understand.
First, that the Supreme Court of Canada has long recognized that tribunals and boards are a court of competent jurisdiction.
Second, the Canadian Judicial Council on December 12, 2006, created principles for the Courts, Court Administrators, and Lawyers, to follow when interacting with SRLs.
You can see the CJC’s press release here
You can also download a complete copy of the CJC Principles here
Within the CJC Principles, are requirements that Judges, and Court Administrators should follow.
Judges and court administrators should meet the needs of self-represented persons for information, referral, simplicity and assistance.
Forms, rules and procedures should be developed which are understandable to and easily accessed by self-represented persons.
To the extent possible, judges and court administrators should develop packages for self-represented persons and standardized court forms.
Now, many would say these are principles and are not mandated so the judges and courts do not have to follow them at all, and they would be correct! However, in 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada dealt with a matter of an SRL and in the case of Pintea V. Johns 2017 SCC 23. The Supreme Court of Canada set aside the lower’s court’s decision against the SRL. The Supreme Court of Canada also endorsed the CJC principles. This sort of made the principles into law, not like a written law or precedence, but it creates great influence on a court or appellate court when you reference it.
Now if you refer to my first point that the Supreme Court of Canada said that tribunals are in effect courts of competent jurisdiction then one could easily argue the CJC principles apply to administrative tribunals, just as it does courts.
Additionally there are many benefits to the boards, tribunals, and society as a whole, in providing assistance to SRLs.