If you have ever hurt yourself while at work, you know that it affects not only your personal life but also your job and how much you get paid each month. This situation can be stressful to deal with and leaves many workers wondering how they will pay their bills since they are injured and can’t work.
Luckily, there is the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Canada, whose job is to look into workplace accidents and ensure that the employee gets proper compensation. You might be thinking; if I get hurt on a job, who pays my WSIB?
Who Pays WSIB?
When an injured worker meets all the requirements laid out by the Workers’ Compensation Act, the person responsible for paying WSIB is their employer. The employer legally has to continue paying for the employee’s benefits for one year after the date of the initial injury.
Although you will not receive your full wage on WSIB, “workplace insurance pays workers 85% of their take-home pay if they cannot work because of work-related injury or illness” (WSIB).
For example, if an employee makes $4000 (net) a month but then injures themself by falling off of a ladder at work, they would be entitled to ~$3400 a month from WSIB.
WSIB will review the employee’s wages over the last 4 weeks and work off that number unless there is an objection from either the worker or employer.
If there is an objection or if the employee’s wage fluctuates each month, then WSIB will take an average of the last 12 months of income and provide 85% of that number as compensation. If the employer does not pay the employee’s benefits or is found to be non-compliant in any other way, they can face fines and be penalized.
Suppose you are an independent contractor or self-employed entity. In that case, you are not automatically entitled to WSIB, and you would have to apply for it on your own.
In addition, a self-employed worker is not necessarily automatically insured under the company they are contracted for, even if that is the only company they are working with.
What is the Workers Compensation Act?
The Workers’ Compensation Act is critical to WSIB. The Workers’ Compensation Act is a program that protects employees from the financial hardships associated with work-related injuries and occupational diseases (Canada).
Essentially, it is a form of insurance that provides wages to the injured worker in return for not suing the employer. The Workers’ Compensation Act basically outlines the guidelines that must be followed when dealing with a workplace injury, and the WSIB enforces these rules.
Workers’ Compensation programs can vary from province to province. Still, their role is the same throughout Canada: to protect employees from financial hardships incurred due to an injury at work.
Do you have to file a claim with the WSIB to receive compensation?
If you only required first aid, did not take any time off from work, and your payment was not affected as a result of your injury, then you do not need to file a claim with WSIB.
However, if you are left unable to work, had to seek treatment from a medical professional, or have had your wages affected, then filing a claim with WSIB is recommended so they can determine your eligibility and start providing you with compensation.
Both employers and employees are responsible for filing a claim. For example, an employer must report a workplace injury to WSIB within three days of learning about it if the employee cannot work, has experienced wage cuts, or had to visit a medical professional (Settlement).
An employee should file a claim as soon as possible, but they have up to six months to report the workplace accident to WSIB.
Can you appeal a decision made by the WSIB?
Both the employer and employee have the right to appeal a decision made by the WSIB. Something to consider is that if either party files an appeal to the WSIB, it could mean that your employer is given a copy of your file.
Although legally, the file cannot contain the medical records specifying the worker’s disability or illness, the employer would still receive everything else in your file.
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment, just as it is the responsibility of the employee to follow all safety protocols. Unfortunately, however, accidents still happen.
That’s why programs such as the Workers’ Compensation Act and boards such as the WSIB exist today. Their main goal is to provide the injured worker with the support and compensation they need to get themselves back into the workplace as soon as it is safe to do so.