Navigating WSIB | Author: Jordan Reiner
Lecker & Associates do not provide WSIB Claim services. This blog offers general information that will help you understand the WSIB better. If you are not able to navigate the processes of claims and appeals yourself, consider hiring a paralegal service that specialize in WSIB claims to take your matter forward.
WSIB Claims – What is WSIB?
It stands for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, also known as Workers’ Comp. This is an agency of the Ontario Government. The WSIB provides “no fault” compensation for employees who get injured at work. Supposedly, this is quick and easy access to income protection for those employees who require time off to recover. But ask injured workers about their WSIB claims, and a very different picture emerges. The majority discover, to their dismay, that filing WSIB claims and receiving benefits are neither quick nor easy.
So let’s look at the WSIB a bit more closely. Your employer funds the WSIB by paying premiums that are dependent on the size of their payroll. With these premiums they purchase a shield from all liabilities that arise if you are injured at a workplace accident. As a result, your employer is protected from being sued by you. This is often referred to as the “historic tradeoff”. Workers trade the right to sue in exchange for access to income replacement and other benefits.
Over the years, employees have found all too often, that this trade off has not worked to their benefit.
The WSIB generally operates like any other insurance company. It is not in their best interest to pay out your benefits. And this results in harsh cost-cutting policies that often take priority over employee rights.
In addition to all of that, filing a claim with the WSIB can affect the premiums your employer pays. The WSIB penalizes your employer for each day you are off from your job. It is no wonder that both the WSIB and your employer want you back at work as soon as possible. And therein lays the problem.
A Tough Situation to Face on Your Own
As an injured worker, you can expect a lot of pressure, even bullying from the WSIB to return to work. And when you do, your employer may dutifully “accommodate” you with modified duties that might be demeaning and sometimes expose you to a risk for re-injury. The directive to return back to work should rightfully belong to your physician. But that is not how the WSIB sees it.
Even more egregious are those employers who do not have any use for you after your injury. They set you up for failure on purpose by offering you alternative jobs that they know you cannot excel at. And this provides them with a reason to fire you.
All of this can be a tough situation to face on your own, especially when you are not well. This is why some injured workers simply give up their claims because the process is too onerous and the fight is simply so hard.
The Toronto Star recently reported that as a direct result of these policies, 46% of WSIB claimants were living on the poverty line five years after their accident.
These are shocking statistics!
If you are one such employee, it will be helpful for you to know this: While your employer may be impervious to litigation, the WSIB is not. Lecker & Associates does not provide WSIB Claim services. If you are not able to navigate the processes of claims and appeals yourself, consider hiring a paralegal service that specialize in WSIB claims to take this forward for you.
However, our team of Toronto employment lawyers can assist you in very specific situations; if your employer is making the workplace toxic to pressure you into quitting, or if they have terminated you within 6 months of returning from your sick leave, it may be worth your while to contact us for an assessment.
Within that time frame, the law places the burden on your employer to prove that your dismissal was for reasons other than your sick leave. For the most egregious cases, we have secured settlements of up to 2 years salary and, in some cases, courts have fined employers an additional 12 months pay.
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