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Assaulted by Stranger, Bus Driver Wins WSIB Benefits: He did not “Participate in a Fight”

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The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal has awarded workers’ compensation benefits to a bus driver who was assaulted by a stranger in a parking lot on a paid break.

The worker  was returning to his bus from his car during his shift when the stranger asked for his car keys and subsequently assaulted him.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board had denied benefits to the worker.

The employer argued that the worker had participated in a fight, and WSIB policy denies benefits to workers injured as a result of participating in a fight as they have taken themselves out of the course of employment.  The WSIAT disagreed, finding that the worker did not participate in a fight: the worker and the stranger did not exchange blows, but rather the worker was unilaterally assaulted and made efforts to get away.

Finally, the WSIAT decided that the injury had been sustained in the course of employment.  The accident occurred during fixed working hours and while engaging in an activity  – retrieving his driver’s license and his lunch from his car during paid recovery time – reasonably incidental to employment.

Decision No. 1830/11, 2011 ONWSIAT 2353 (CanLII)