Reflections on workers' compensation and occupational health and safety

Terence G. Ison

Terrence Ison's distinguished academic career has spanned the last six decades. From 1968 to 1980, Ison served as a professor of law at Queen’s University. From 1973 to 1976, while on leave from Queen’s, he served as chair of the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. From 1980 to1995, he was a professor of law at Osgood Hall Law School, where he is now a professor emeritus. Throughout his career, he has continued to dedicate himself to teaching law.

Ison is the author of several key publications on workers' compensation in Canada, including Workers’ Compensation in Canada (1983) and Compensation Systems for Injury and Disease: The Policy Choices (1994). He has also published numerous scholarly articles, comments and reports on critical issues related to workers’ compensation law in Ontario and other jurisdictions. As recently as 2011, he participated as an expert stakeholder in the technical consultations of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario's funding review. In 2012, Ison received the Ontario Bar Association Ron Ellis Award for outstanding contributions and achievements in workers’ compensation law.


This presentation explains how and why workers' compensation systems in Canada have deteriorated over the last 35 years, with an emphasis on the significance of experience rating. Other topics include the problems with workers’ compensation board doctors (including their difficulty in distinguishing questions of medicine from questions of law), the practice of actuaries, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).