Understanding WSIB: Occupational Diseases (Part 1)

Welcome back to our series on understanding workers’ compensation claims in Ontario. Today, we’re looking at occupational diseases. (You can find a list of the previously-covered topics in this series at the end of this post.)

Sadly, thousands of Ontario workers have and continue to be affected by serious and often fatal occupational diseases: their jobs made them sick. A quick look at the known occupational disease clusters in Ontario is sobering.

What are Occupational Diseases?

According to the Ontario Office of the Worker Adviser, occupational diseases include:

  • a disease resulting from exposure to a substance relating to a particular process, trade, or occupation in an industry
  • a disease peculiar to, or characteristic of, a particular industrial process, trade or occupation
  • a medical condition that in the opinion of the WSIB requires you to be removed from exposure to a substance because the condition may lead to an occupational disease, or
  • a disease as prescribed in Schedule 3 or 4 of the Regulations to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (more on that coming up in Part 2 of this post)

When it comes to occupational disease, some of the most dangerous types of jobs in our province are found in the mining, nickel, asbestos industries, as well as foundries and smelter works. Some high profile occupational disease clusters you may have heard of include the Peterborough GE workers, rubber workers, McIntyre Powder mining workers, and Neelon Casting workers. But workers in any industry may be affected by an occupational disease.

The Occupational Disease Surveillance Program tracks what’s happening in Ontario by type of illness and by worker group. Through their interactive tool, you can explore which types of disease are most prevalent in which industries and learn what key occupational exposures are in each sector.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we’ll explore the scheduled diseases and why they are important.


See our previous posts in this series here:
Understanding WSIB: What Types of Injury or Illness Can I Claim For?
Understanding WSIB: Accidents
Understanding WSIB: Disablements
Understanding WSIB: Psychological Conditions