Chapter 13: Written Submissions
- 13.1 Filing Submissions
- 13.2 New Evidence Obtained by the Panel
- 13.3 Avoidance of Third Party Personal Information and Identifiers (14)
WCAT considers an appeal proceeding by written submissions by reviewing the Board’s record along with any other written evidence and argument the parties submitted, and any further evidence the panel obtained (see 11).
13.1 Filing Submissions
In order for WCAT to issue its decision within 180 days of receiving the Board’s records, the following guidelines will apply.
13.1.1 Submission Process
- WCAT will give the appellant 21 days to provide a submission (which may include evidence not previously submitted) in addition to the information contained in their notice of appeal.
- Within the 21‑day period, the appellant may request additional time, with reasons. If the appellant neither files a submission nor requests more time within the 21‑day period, they lose the right to provide a submission and their notice of appeal will be considered as their submission, subject to WCAT’s discretion to accept late submissions (13.1.4).
- The appellant may request additional time of 14 days or less, by telephone or in writing without making a request to extend the time for decision under section 306(6).
- The appellant may request additional time of up to 45 days in writing. Requests for additional time of more than 14 days will be considered as requests for delay under section 306(5)(b), and such requests must provide reasons. Reasons for which WCAT may give additional time include:
- complexity of the issues under appeal;
- need to seek additional medical or other evidence;
- need to interview witnesses and provides adequate reasons for requiring more time to do so;
- need to seek representation;
- personal or family health problems, bereavement, or other emergencies;
- pre-arranged vacation; or,
- current labour relations dispute which severely limits opportunity to participate.
- The maximum additional time for submissions that WCAT will give at the appellant’s request is 45 days [s. 306(6)]. Any additional time runs from the end of the initial 21‑day period for submissions.
- WCAT will give the respondent 21 days to provide a submission.
- If the chair has not extended the time for decision under section 306(6), the respondent may, within the 21 day period, request additional time of up to 14 days by telephone or in writing.
- If the chair has extended the time for decision under section 306(6) WCAT will give the respondent additional time upon request, and the chair will extend the time for decision by the same amount. The respondent must specify the amount of additional time they are requesting but need not provide reasons. The maximum additional time that WCAT will give to the respondent can be no greater than the amount of additional time WCAT gave to the appellant under section 306(6) [s.306(7)]
- Whether or not the appellant provided a submission, any submission from the respondent will be disclosed to the appellant with 14 days for rebuttal.
- WCAT cannot give additional time for rebuttal. The appellant should not submit additional evidence on rebuttal. If the appellant submits additional evidence on rebuttal, WCAT will decide whether to accept the evidence, and determine the procedure for disclosure of the material to the other party. The appellant who submitted additional evidence on rebuttal will not normally be given a final opportunity to respond.
- If WCAT gives additional time for submissions, WCAT may set a new decision due date (17.1.1).
- Where a submission is sent to WCAT by fax, it is not necessary to send the original document by mail. Where the party also sends the original document, WCAT will note the fax received date on the original document and destroy the fax.
- There is no need to forward to WCAT a copy of records in the Board’s file as WCAT received a copy of the documents as part of disclosure.
13.1.3 Submissions Complete
- WCAT will consider submissions complete where:
- WCAT does not receive a submission from the appellant by the most recent deadline WCAT provided for written submissions and there is no respondent participating;
- whether or not the appellant provided a submission, WCAT does not receive a submission from the respondent by the deadline;
- WCAT has received the appellant’s rebuttal to the respondent’s submission or the appellant did not file a rebuttal by the deadline.
- Where neither party provides submissions, WCAT will consider the appeal based on the notice of appeal and the Board’s record.
13.1.4 Late or Unsolicited Submissions
- WCAT will generally not accept late or unsolicited submissions and/or evidence after the deadline has passed. A party unable to meet a WCAT deadline for submissions should request an extension before the deadline has passed.
- In deciding whether to accept a late or unsolicited submission or evidence, WCAT will consider its relevance, and why it was not provided earlier.
- If WCAT decides to accept a late or unsolicited submission or evidence, WCAT will decide the procedure for disclosure to the other party, and their response. The party who provided the late or unsolicited submission or evidence will normally not be given an opportunity to respond.
- If WCAT decides to accept a late or unsolicited submission or evidence, WCAT may set a new decision due date.
13.2 New Evidence Obtained by the Panel
- Where the panel obtains further evidence or views relevant new evidence or information on the Board file that was placed there after the date of last disclosure or updated disclosure to the parties, the panel will disclose that evidence to the parties for comment.
- The panel will decide the procedure and due dates to be set for obtaining comments on the new evidence or information. Normally the evidence will first be disclosed to the appellant and their representative. The new evidence together with the appellant’s response will then be disclosed to the respondent and their representative. The respondent’s submission will then be forwarded to the appellant for final response. Alternatively, the panel may disclose the new evidence to both parties and invite responses from both parties at the same time, and then give each party an opportunity to respond to the other.
13.3 Avoidance of Third Party Personal Information and Identifiers (15)
To protect the privacy of third parties, that is, persons who are not the appellant or the respondent or an identified witness, submissions should not contain personal information such as names or file numbers of the workers’ compensation claims of other workers. Instead, parties should cite Review Division and WCAT decision numbers which are accessible on the internet.
If WCAT receives a submission that contains personal information of this sort, WCAT may ask the party to provide written consents from the other persons, or an edited copy of the submission which does not contain personal information. In that event, WCAT will mark the submission as excluded and will keep it separate from the appeal documentation pending receipt of either the necessary consents or an edited copy. Upon receipt of an edited copy, WCAT will destroy the original submission or return it to the party. Alternatively, WCAT may accept the submission but remove the personal information and advise the parties this has been done. WCAT will disclose the edited copy to the parties.
If the party does not provide consents or an edited copy, WCAT will determine the appropriate disposition of the submission containing personal information. Whether or not WCAT accepts an excluded submission, the personal information must be removed before WCAT places the submission on the Board file. If WCAT does not accept the submission and it is not practicable to remove the personal information, WCAT will return the submission to the party.