What does COVID-19 mean for WSIB?

Ontario residents find themselves in strange and unfamiliar times. A state of emergency has been declared by the Province of Ontario to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

For people in the workers compensation system, this may be a particularly stressful time. After all, pain and disability don’t stop just because most offices are closing to enable social distancing.

The WSIB has issued some important information on how the board is operating in light of our new reality. Here are the key details for workers:

  • WSIB staff are still working, but offices are closed to the public. Get help from staff online on by phone at 1-800-387-0750, Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The board asks callers to be prepared for the possibility of longer wait times.
  • Wage loss benefit payments will continue and Loss of Earning benefits are up to date.
  • In the event that you can’t attend or are uncomfortable about attending claim-related appointments, cancelled appointments will not affect entitlement to benefits or services. WSIB is asking people to cancel appointments directly with the applicable person or organization. The board also encourages people to ask whether virtual options are available that would enable scheduled appointments to take place safely.

Other good-to-know information about COVID-19 and WSIB:

  • If your workplace shuts down temporarily, you will continue to receive the same benefits you were receiving at the time of your employer’s shut-down.
  • If you think you have contracted COVID-19 at work, you may file a claim. Cases will be examined on a case-by-case basis, and to be allowed, evidence must show that your risk of contracting disease through work is greater than the risk of the general public, and that your work significantly contributed to the illness. Learn how WSIB will adjudicate COVID-19 claims here.
  • There is no WSIB coverage for workers who are symptom-free when quarantined or sent home from work as a precaution; if symptoms or illness subsequently develop, the worker may become eligible.

The province and many municipalities throughout the province have declared a state of emergency, and this may have implications for workers who volunteer their skills during the pandemic.  These declarations are important for several reasons.  First, they demonstrate to the public that the situation must be taken seriously. Second, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, volunteers summoned by the municipality or province can be protected with WSIB coverage.

Turn to authoritative, trusted sources for news and health information during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as: