Report to the Congress from the Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents

Ontario Workers' Compensation Law

In 1984, the Province of Ontario, Canada, created a statutory Industrial Disease Standards Panel to advise the provincial Worker's Compensation Board on industrial disease matters, with particular reference to issues of causation.1 The panel consists of up to nine members appointed by the Provincial Executive, and to be drawn from the public, the scientific community, and technical and professional walks of life.2 In practice, members have had business, labor, academic, and medical affiliations.3 Members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who also names the members to serve as Chairman and Vice-Chairman.4 In turn, the statutory panel may appoint (and so far apparently always has done so) specialist panels in epidemiology, toxicology, and clinical medicine.5 The Workers' Compensation Board refers issues to the panel, and the panel, taking into account the views of the scientific specialist panel(s), develops a consensus and issues a written report to the Workers' Board.6 The Board publishes the panel's recommendations in the Ontario Gazette and invites public comments thereon, for which at least 60 days are provided .7 The Board also must publish notice whether it intends to accept, amend, or reject the findings of the panel and must explain its reasons in certain instances.8 The scope of the report includes causation issues and eligibility criteria, which are then used by the Claims Adjudication Branch of the Board to process claims; the apparent effect of satisfying the eligibility criteria is to create a de facto presumption of causation.9 Evidently, the panel has thus far not addressed occupational radiation exposures except for uranium miners; the units of exposure used in that context are working-level months of alpha particle exposure to radon gas and radon “daughter products,” that is, isotopes in the radioactive decay chain of radon


One feature that is worth emphasizing is that the statutory standards panel is politically appointed and diverse in composition, giving it certain perceived advantages over a pure science panel, yet it retains the ability to make use of the consensus scientific view of a separate specialist panel and has always done so to date.


  1. Workers' Compensation Amendment Act, 1994 (No. 2). Ch. 58.

  2. Revised Statutes of Ontario, Chapter 539, (86p.(2).

  3. Industrial Disease Standards Panel, Annual Reports. 1986-87 and 1987-88.

  4. §86p.(3).

  5. §86p.(8).

  6. §86p.(10) and Annual Report 1986-87, supra, at 10.

  7. §86p.(11).

  8. §86p.(13),(14) arid 1986-87 Annual Report at 10.

  9. 1986-87 Annual Report at 5-7.

Appendix E « Index » Appendix G