Most employers and employees have heard of workers compensation but very few really understand how the workers compensation program is structured in Canada. At the onset, it is very important to keep in mind that workers’ compensation is not a nationally administered program. It is actually a number of separate disability insurance programs run by each provincial or territorial government. Each provincial workers’ compensation board is responsible for compensating workers within their jurisdiction for any lost income as a result of a disability directly caused by a job related accident or illness.
So who is covered?
There really isn’t an answer that applies to all provinces in regards to the question of who is covered. Every province has established criteria for the participation of employers within their provincial legislation. In certain industries, participation of the employer is a requirement while in others, participating in the workers’ compensation program is optional. To find out if your industry is part of the mandatory participation list you can reference provincial statutes here or contact your local WSIB office for assistance.
What types of disabilities are covered?
Any benefits payable under the workers’ compensation program are only applicable to employees who have lost income due to an illness or injury that happened in the workplace. It is important to differentiate this from any other disability plan, individually owned or employer provided. For an injury or illness to be covered under workers compensation, the injury or illness must have been caused while the employee was performing their work duties or as a result of something in the employee’s workplace related to the physical requirements of their job.
As an example, let’s say that Mark Booth and Patricia Kucherawy both work for Fergusson Industries, an employer who is either required to or chooses to participate in their provincial workers’ compensation program. Last Friday, Mark was filing documents and a box of old paperwork fell off a shelf and broke one of Mark’s legs. That same day Patricia was forced to go home due to symptoms of a severe case of the flu that she had contracted from a co-worker. Both Mark and Patricia are forced to take time off, however, only Mark will be eligible for workers’ compensation because he sustained injuries while performing the duties directly related to the operation of the business. Patricia on the other hand is not eligible for compensation because her loss of time and income was not due to a work related injury or an illness directly related to the physical requirements of her job.
Disabilities or injuries under workers compensation can be temporary or permanent, and can also be total or partial. If the injury or illness results in a partial disability, then pro-rated benefits may be paid to the employee.
For more information regarding your workers’ compensation disability benefits in Ontario, please see the Ontario WSIB contact details below.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
200 Front Street West
Toronto ON M5V 3J1
Telephone: (416) 344-1000 or Toll-Free: 1-800-387-5540
Ontario Toll-free 1-800-387-0750
Fax: (416) 344-4684
For assistance in securing individually owned disability benefits, please reach out to me directly and I will guide you through the process of choosing the right product for your needs.