Understanding WSIB: Survivor Benefits

Welcome back to our series on understanding workers’ compensation claims in Ontario. This is the final post in the series, looking at something that’s a little different from others: a claim for survivor benefits. (You can find a list of the previously-covered topics in this series at the end of this post.)

When a worker dies at work or as a result of their job, the worker’s spouse, children or other dependants can make a claim for the following WSIB benefits.


Surviving spouses and dependent children receive a lump-sum payment as well as continuing monthly payments which are a percentage of the worker’s earnings. Find more info in the WSIB’s “Survivors Benefits Guide” and see current compensation amounts for survivors.

WSIB considers the spouse to be a person who was married to the deceased, or had been living together for at least one year before the death, or had entered into a cohabitation agreement. In some circumstances, spouses who are separated, or a former couple who had a child together and had lived together, may be eligible for benefits. When more than one person fits the definition of spouse, they will split the benefits.

WSIB considers children to be dependent if they are under 19 years old, under 30 and in school, or 19 or over but wholly dependent on the worker due to physical or mental impairment. These can be natural or legally adopted children or stepchildren who were financially dependent.

When there is no surviving spouse or children, other people may qualify as dependants.


WSIB will pay all reasonable expenses related to the funeral, burial/cremation, and transportation of the deceased’s body back home if he or she was working out of town. WSIB can pay these directly rather than survivors having to pay out of pocket.


WSIB will provide bereavement (grief counselling) for the surviving spouse and children for the first year following the worker’s death, provided by an experienced professional.

Another important service that WSIB offers is crisis intervention counselling. These counsellors can help you during the difficult time following a spouse’s workplace death, providing both emotional and practical support. They will help you with funeral arrangements and assist you in navigating the WSIB system, complete paperwork related to your WSIB and CPP forms, and coordinate other support and counselling. They can also help you get information on what’s happening with a workplace death investigation, and support you if a trial or inquest occurs.

Work Transition Support

If the deceased worker’s spouse wishes to re-enter the workforce, they can request work transition help from WSIB. This could include ESL training, education upgrading, skills training, formal training and training in job-search techniques.


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
Understanding WSIB: Occupational Diseases Part 1 and Part 2
Understanding WSIB: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss