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How to contest a CNESST decision

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In Quebec, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) renders decisions on workers’ claims for work accidents and occupational diseases.

It is entirely possible to contest a decision you deem unsatisfactory. The contestation can come from the injured worker, the employer or a representative of one of the 2 parties.

Me Bégin, a lawyer for work accident victims, explains everything you need to know before starting the process.

What to do when the CNESST renders its decision

After reviewing the case, the CNESST renders its decision and sends the employer and employee a letter. The letter includes the decision and the reasons for the decision, and informs the parties of their right to contest the decision.

There are 2 types of recourses available if either party deems the decision unsatisfactory:

  1. Administrative review
  2. Reconsideration of the decision

 

1. Administrative review

Administrative review involves asking the CNESST to check whether the case was assessed and handled according to the regulations currently in effect. It’s a quick, easy way to contest the decision. It involves filling out and sending a form to the CNESST explaining the reasons for the contestation.

  • Procedure to follow: The application form can be found in French on the CNESST website. It can be sent online or printed and sent by mail. Along with your reasons for contesting the decision, you will need to include the CNESST file number and a copy of the decision.
  • Deadline: You must send the application form to the CNESST within 30 days of receiving the decision.

Once you have submitted your application for administrative review, the CNESST’s Direction de la révision administrative will take over the case and render a new decision in writing. Processing times vary—the decision will generally be rendered several weeks to several months after the application.

If the new decision is unsatisfactory, you may contest it before Quebec’s Tribunal administratif du travail. You have 45 days from the date you receive the CNESST’s new decision to contest it.

 

2. Reconsideration of a decision

Reconsideration of a decision enables the CNESST to render a decision a second time to correct an error or make a more informed choice in light of new information.

When a party contests a decision in this manner, reconsideration is not always granted. Therefore, it is used less often than administrative review, but is still a viable option for contesting a decision.

  • Procedure to follow: Applications for reconsideration of a decision must be sent to the party’s local CNESST office.
  • Deadline: The party has 90 days after finding out about the decision to ask the CNESST for a reconsideration.

 

Temporary assignment

You can contest a temporary assignment regardless of the medical professional’s opinion if you believe that:

  • You are not capable of carrying out the work that has been assigned
  • The assigned tasks endanger your physical safety due to your illness or injury
  • The work is not conducive to rehabilitation

 

How to contest a temporary assignment

In order to contest a temporary assignment, you’ll need to contact your employer and their health and safety committee or safety representative.

They will review the request and make a decision with input from the doctor in charge of the company’s health services. If there is no such doctor, the responsibility will fall to the public health director for the region where the company is located.

If there is no health and safety committee or safety representative, you can send your application to the local CNESST office. A decision will be rendered within 20 days of the application.

 

Bégin Avocat can help you contest a CNESST decision

If you are dissatisfied with a decision rendered by the CNESST, we strongly recommend meeting with a lawyer who specializes in labour law to assess the best way to handle your case.

Me Bégin is available to discuss your case, provide advice and represent you before the CNESST or the Tribunal administratif du travail.

Don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form below or call the firm at 514 509-7852.

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