Cézanne is a lawyer who practices almost exclusively in management-side WSIB law. She owns Charlebois Associates and Workplace Health and Safety Network. One company helps with WSIB claims management and appeals after a workplace injury or fatality, and the other tries to help employers prevent injuries in the first place.
She is a passionate advocate who fights tenaciously for her clients. Yet, her relentless pursuit of achieving her client’s objectives never compromises her professionalism and integrity.
Psychiatrist Dr. Jordon Charlebois helps our team manage and respond to all claims involving psychological injuries such as PTSD, MTBI and Chronic Pain. These claims are very challenging in a workers’ compensation context. Dr. Charlebois reviews offers of modified duties with psychological injury claims to ensure that workers can safely return to work while obtaining adequate treatment for a meaningful recovery. The efficacy of treatment and quality of assessments is also reviewed. Far too often, these claims at the WSIB are driven by psychologists who take workers off work entirely. They automatically consider that their diagnosis of PTSD is correct, sufficiently informed and equivalent to the worker being 100% occupationally disabled. That is almost always incorrect. Workers receiving effective treatment for PTSD should generally and reasonably be fully recovered from disabling symptoms of PTSD within six months with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In a supportive and accommodated work environment, this can be done while working.
There is no clinical or scientifically justified reason for the majority of psychological injury claims to languish for years. Prolonged lost time is without question, detrimental to the health and recovery of the employee, the employment relationship and the entire worker’s compensation system. Very often, there is very little or no Symptom or Performance Validity testing to substantiate the diagnosis and extent of the disability. It is surprising in an insurance scheme to see claims driven almost entirely by the subjective persistence of complaints. Valid and comprehensive collateral information is often absent in WSIB files having not been obtained or requested by the WSIB, and not provided to the third-party treatment providers. Hence, the quality of adjudicative decision-making is restrained by these limitations.
The DSM tells us that most people who do suffer objectively traumatic events, do not develop PTSD or any psychological conditions. This is evident in the “projected lifetime risk for PTSD using DSM-IV criteria at age 75 years is 8.7%. Twelve-month prevalence among U.S. adults is about 3.5%. Lower estimates are seen in Europe and most Asian, African, and Latin American countries, clustering around 0.5%-1.0%. …Rates of PTSD are higher among veterans and others whose vocation increases the risk of traumatic exposure (e.g., police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel). Highest rates (ranging from one-third to more than one-half of those exposed) are found among survivors of rape, military combat and captivity, and ethnically or politically motivated internment or genocide.” The DSM and DSM guides tell us that witnessing trauma is not the same as experiencing it. And witnessing trauma is likely to be more associated with the development of PTSD if the person suffering the trauma being witnessed is a family member, close friend, or child. Overall, the lifetime prevalence rates for correctly diagnosed PTSD around the world are very low. And of those correctly diagnosed with PTSD, an even smaller number are 100% occupationally disabled temporarily. This is especially so when the employer is offering highly accommodated and supportive modified duties.
Upon reviewing some of the prolonged treatment relationships, lasting for years with some WSIB claims, a different perspective is gained when one considers what would happen if the patients were not receiving treatment paid for, almost without scrutiny by the WSIB. It would seem reasonable to consider if the treatment contracts funded by the insurance scheme require any kind of alignment with the foundational statutory purposes of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
1 The purpose of this Act is to accomplish the following in a financially responsible and accountable manner:
injury arising out of and in the course of employment or who suffer from an
deceased workers. 1997, c. 16, Sched. A, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 67 (1); 2005, c. 5,
After completing his first degree, Ben worked for a Premier and two Cabinet Ministers in the Ontario government, including serving as an Advisor to the Attorney General.
Ben has played an essential role in numerous political campaigns and has worked with municipal, provincial, and federal politicians.
He is also active in both local politics and the non-profit sector. He has served on the Board of Directors of Young London and the West London Minor Hockey Association, and numerous political associations. He has volunteered as a researcher with the London Health & Homelessness Project in law school, and he coaches competitive minor hockey in his spare time. He has a special place in his heart for the local Epilepsy Support Centre, where he volunteered for years and is a strong supporter of Relay for Life and the ALS Society.
Employers charged with any regulatory offence or charges from the Ministry of Labour should have the very best and most competent trial counsel representing them. While it may seem like the path of least resistance and cost to settle out of court with the Crown, the long-term implications must always be thoroughly reviewed. Employers should consider what facts will be released by the Crown to the media and plastered all over the internet after a guilty plea. How annual premium rates will be affected? And whether or not you are required to report all fatalities in the bidding process for contracts? These could have severe long-term impacts on your business. Fatalities are often not the employer’s fault, yet the Ministry of Labour will dig into the employer’s training materials or documentation and find an absurd deficiency to form the basis of a charge. Due diligence does not require such perfection, only that the employer has taken every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of that worker.
If and when any of our clients are charged by the Ministry of Labour or any other Regulatory enforcement agency capable of initiating Regulatory and/or quasi-criminal offences, our trial counsel is Patrick J Ducharme.
Mr. Ducharme has a wealth of experience as a trial lawyer. His experience as a trial lawyer extends well beyond representing clients charged with Regulatory or quasi-criminal offences. As recently as November 20, 2021, he was awarded the G Arthur Martin Medal acknowledging his “significant contribution to the criminal justice system in Canada.” Once awarded a permanent trophy bearing the name of the recipient is added to the Law Society’s Hall of Fame at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, the Citadel of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Mr. Ducharme is the 33rd recipient of this award in Canada’s history. The two previous winners were Madam Justice McLachlin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Mr. Justice David Doherty, a leading member of the bench for the Ontario Court of Appeal. Attached is his curriculum vitae for your convenience of reference.
Mr. Ducharme has successfully represented employers with fatal claim incidents followed by Ministry of Labour charges and all manner of regulatory offences.
Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments investigate and enforce the rules and regulations of each regulated industry. The rules and regulations of each industry are intended to protect members of society, employers, and employees from harm by legislation penalizing blameworthy conduct.
Most prosecutions for Regulatory offences only require the prosecution to prove that a prohibited act or omission occurred in or by a regulated industry. Having established the act or omission, the responsibility falls to the employer/owner of the business to demonstrate that it exercised due diligence in its effort to prevent the act or omission and thus escape penalties ranging from incarceration to significant fines or both. Hence, the need for capable, talented trial lawyers to defend against any allegations of failure to meet one’s regulatory responsibilities at law.
Our trial counsel has demonstrated many times over that he is capable of successfully defending against such allegations. He is a long-term Professor of Law, having taught over 3000 law students in the areas of procedure and trial advocacy. He is the author of 7 books on procedure and advocacy. He has authored hundreds of papers in these areas of law and is a frequent speaker for the Law Society of Ontario, the Criminal Lawyers Association of Canada and at each law school in the Province of Ontario for over four decades.
Liu has acquired his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and a Master’s in economics from the University of Havana with a postgraduate degree in data management and modelling. He has 10 years of experience in data management and project coordination. His attention to detail and exceptional abilities with numbers are combined with passionate advocacy for our clients. He is an excellent asset in helping employers keep their costs, risks and liabilities as low as possible.
Liu conducts cost/benefits analysis to evaluate if it is financially feasible for our clients to move further in an appeal. He has recently been working in projection models to make statistical predictions based on past decisions evaluating the outcomes in the appeal process. This will help with strategic decision-making and assist our clients to save time and resources by focusing efforts in the most viable directions.