Ontario WSIB entitlements have changed in light of COVID-19. We’ve received your questions and want to give you access to answers right here. If you want to know more,
While WSIB offices are closed during the mandatory shut down, staff remain available to help manage new claims and ensure all loss-of-earnings (LOE) benefits are up to date. It’s also great to know that you will continue to receive the same WSIB benefits even if your workplace shuts down temporarily due to COVID. According to the WSIB website, your benefits will remain as is “until you have recovered from your injury or illness or your employer reopens and has work that is safe and suitable for you.”
WSIB Financial Relief Package
In response to COVID-19, the Government of Ontario is offering a financial relief package worth up to $1.9B with all Ontario businesses covered by workplace insurance automatically eligible. This package is meant to support businesses and protect coverage.
Importantly, “costs associated with COVID-19 related claims will not be allocated at an employer or class level…and there will be no change in premium rates for 2020.” For more information, you can see the announcement and details here.
Q & A
Q: If workers contracts COVID-19 during the course of their employment, are they eligible to make a claim under WSIB?
A: The short answer to this question is YES, however, as with any WSIB claim, they will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and based on the merits, facts and circumstances of each case.
Q: How will WSIB determine the work-relatedness of the illness (COVID-19).
A: The WSIB will initially look for two things:
a) Whether the worker’s job puts them at greater risk than the general public;
b) Whether there is satisfactory evidence that the worker’s COVID-19 condition has been confirmed.
If both of these considerations are present, WSIB will consider it persuasive evidence that the worker’s employment made a significant contribution to their illness.
Q: What do I need to consider and/or ask the worker when gathering evidence for the WSIB claim investigation?
A: Using the guideline for entitlement outlined by WSIB is a good place to start.
For example, if we look to answer whether there is a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 in the course of the employee’s work, we would first want to ensure that we are providing factual information about the work environment, job tasks, use of PPE and work processes.
Also, if the worker has a confirmed positive test, is the incubation period compatible with the timeframe it is believed the worker would have been exposed to the illness in the workplace.
Q: Are worker’s who were required to quarantine or were sent home on a precautionary basis and are symptom-free eligible to make a claim under WSIB?
A: If a worker is symptom-free, they would NOT be eligible for WSIB benefits. However, in the event that they develop symptoms or illness while in quarantine, they MAY be eligible for WSIB benefits, but as with any claim, this decision would be based on the investigation and adjudicators decision.
Q: I’m a business owner and don’t have enough HR support to investigate a worker’s claim. What can I do?
A: We understand how daunting and time-consuming workplace investigations can be. Our team of HR experts is available to partner with you and help you manage these questions or other questions you may have related to your workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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