Information about Ontario's workers compensation board:
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board - WSIB
200 Front Street West,
Toronto ON M5V 3J1
Telephone: (416) 344-1000
Fax: (416) 344-4684,
Why WSIB instead of WCB???
In Ontario, the Ontario Government through Bill C99 and the enactment of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act R.S.O. 1997 created the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board - WSIB, as well as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal - WSIAT.
These two organizations replaced the Ontario Workers Compensation Board and the Ontario Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal.
This never changed the Office of the Workers Advisor - OWA, which is a free service for injured workers that are not unionized for WSIB and WSIAT appeals, in Ontario.
Three major changes from the old WCB Act to the new WSIA are:
1. Instatement of Time Limits on Appeals
Previously in Ontario, when injured workers did not agree with a decision of the WCB, they could appeal at anytime.
With the passing of the WSIA this imposed a time limit on WSIB adjudicated (first level decisions) to 30 days. This also imposed a time limit on any previous WCB decisions prior to Jan. 1/98 to 30 days as well so effective Feb 1/98 any prior decisions could not be appealed.
While this may seemed administratively to make sense, form the perspective of the Constitution it is extremely questionable, but that is another argument.
It should be noted that the law makes clear the time limits for appeal are NOT absolute!
So do be afraid if you have missed your time limit for appeal.
You can simply ask the WSIB appeals office (second stage in the WSIB decision process) to waive the 30 day time limit. You will need to provide a convincing reason for example your employer lead you to believe that there was no right of appeal, you obtained representation and they backed out on you and never filed the appeal in time.
If you are not ready to appeal, but do not want to miss the appeal deadline simply send a letter or leave a voice message with the decision maker saying you are intending on appealing and provide the specific of the decision.
2. Forced Return to Work Program:
This section of the new WSIA law applies to workers before who were hurt before and after Jan. 1/98.
The problem is the "accommodation"
- Who determines what is suitable for the injured worker in regards to work related disabilities?
- How are these defined and by whom?
- If a worker feels it is unsafe for them person to perform the work is it held against them?
When you look at some of these questions, it is clear that injured workers have been stripped of their basic fundamental Human Rights, Charter Rights and Constitutional Rights.
The ideology was simplistic – get injured workers back to work and save money. Unfortunately, no one bothered to address the 'what if's' of the 'human factor', or worse yet, maybe they did and disregarded it in favour of saving money!.
Did you know claim suppression is a seriously real problem with employers?
There was a recent study conducted for the WSIB and it found that more than 25% of claims were intentionally suppressed by employers. In the same study It claimed that considerably more than 10% of claims are intentionally suppressed by injured workers.
A similar study on claim suppression of the Manitoba workers compensation system was done as well with just as alarming statistics, which can be found here!
Influencing factors for claim suppression:
While no one admits it, a likely influencing factor is the forced return to work program.
Employers have to pay workers for work accommodation, as opposed to the regular work they do. Most employers do not like this and are opposed to accommodating work related disbaitlies, which explains why the claim suppression rates are so high, for the claims that have been documented.
Did you know a recent study released in 2015, by McMaster University raised concern over the increased level of opioid pain medication and low back injuries?
One author of the study says “those who received opioids may have been worse off — that is why they received opioids — and that may be the reason for delay in claim resolution. On the other hand, adverse effects of opioids on mental and physical function could be the reason” Jason Busse, assistant professor of anesthesia and researcher with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care at McMaster University. He goes on to imply that the cause is the WSIB trying to save costs he says “the Ontario WSIB has increased their claim denial rate, decreased benefits to injured workers, reduced WSIB staff, and raised employer premiums. These approaches do not address optimal management of disabled workers”.
While there has been nothing definitive as of yet, it is clear that claim delays and the lack of willingness for the WSIB to treat injured workers fairly, is causing adverse affects not just from the injuries, but from the treatment, as a result of extremely long WSIB claim decisions. This is unquestionably a violation of injured workers constitutionally protected rights!
3. Reduction of Benefits Paid from 90% of Net Income to 85% of Net Income:
While some have little or no concern with this, especially with a considerable amount of legitimate injured workers being denied claims. They would rather have 85%, than nothing.
The reality is, if you take the worker and workplace accident, out of the phrase. Then replace it with “victim of an accident”. Then would it be right to say that a victim should not be punished with a reduction of 10% or 15% of their earnings for an accident that was not their fault?
Some would say this is “Cruel” others would say this is “Unusual Punishment”. Most would agree that this is not fair and ironically the Charter of Rights and Freedoms agrees, when it says the following on the subject:
"Treatment or punishment
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or
Not to mention Section 7 of the Charter "Right of Security of Person" would also provide for a considerable good argument, as well.
Injured workers residing in the province of Ontario, similar to the rest of Canada, are statute barred from suing their employers for work related injuries/diseases.
Instead they must file for workers compensation benefits,
with the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board - WSIB.
On January 1, 1998,
the Ontario Workers Compensation Board - WCB, became the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board - WSIB
The Ontario's Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal became the Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal - WSIAT
Why they did this no one will ever know!
Information about the Province of Ontario:
Geographical Location: West of Quebec; East of Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin; South of Hudson Bay, James Bay, North of New York.
Population: 14 million
Flower: Trillium grandiflorum
Interesting: Home to Canada's Capital - Ottawa, largest population in Canada with more than 40% of the total country's population.
Yours to discover
Information about Ontario's workers compensation appeals tribunal:
Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal - WSIAT
505 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 2P2
Tel: 416-314-8800 or 1-888-618-8846,
The Tribunal is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.