In recent days there has been increased media coverage about the potential WSIB strike. Employees of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario may go on strike if their demands are not met.
If in fact the WSIB does go on strike, this could have a huge impact on employers and injured workers that rely on the benefits they provide.
What is the Ontario WSIB?
They are an insurance company that provides wage replacement and medical benefits in the event a worker is injured at work. This insurance is purchased by the employer.
By having WSIB coverage, an employer is protected from lawsuit in the event one of their workers is injured while at work.
Why would employees of the Ontario WSIB strike?
According to an article by Global news: “Ontario WSIB workers threaten strike as deadline looms” the reasons WSIB employees are looking to strike are for:
- More money
- More resources
- More training
Truthfully, this should come as no surprise for Ontario businesses. There has been a decline in the customer service provided by WSIB in recent years.
It not only has affected injured workers, but also employers in managing claims and helping return injured workers back safely and quickly.
Each case manager or adjudicator (sometimes referred to as an entitlement specialist), has a caseload. A case load is made up of individual WCB claims. Each claim represents an Ontario injured worker.
According to the global news article, WSIB case manager currently hold a case load that’s doubled from 70 to 150 claims. This means one person is looking after approximately 150 injured people.
It’s not clear how much more money the WSIB employees are asking for or resources. There were some more specifics given regarding the want for training.
What are some issues with the Ontario WSIB?
If going on strike will mean WSIB employees will be able to provide better service to employers and injured workers then I’m cautiously supportive of it.
As a former WCB case manager myself, I know how difficult it can be to manage a case load. To help other people and have the resources to do so. The toll it can have on a case manager mentally to help someone else when you yourself need help and support.
Because of this decline in service, employers across Ontario and Canada have been forced to take on the burden of properly managing WSIB claims. Employers that have less training and access to resources than WSIB.
In the end, who suffers? The injured worker and the employer.
The complaints I personally have heard and had are common with anyone having to deal with WSIB. They are:
- Phone calls that are not returned for days or weeks (if at all)
- Chasing case managers to make timely decisions
- Delayed referrals to treatment programs to promote recovery
These are but a short list of the trials faced by companies and their employees dealing with WSIB Ontario.
How does a WSIB strike affect Ontario business?
My hope is that it will have a positive effect. That the WSIB finds ways to improve resources and training of it’s employees.
When the people who are charged with helping injured workers and Ontario business know how to do their jobs properly and have the resources to do so, everyone will benefit.
This happens because the injured workers can get the treatment they need quickly. This can help them recover from their injury faster which reduces the negative impact on them, their families, and the employer.
Businesses who are already struggling with labour shortages can get their key employees back quickly which can reduce the impact it has on morale, production, and profits.
Ontario employers would be able to get timely responses to inquiries relating to a WSIB claim which will help them manage the injured worker better.
How can Ontario businesses protect themselves and their employees from a WSIB strike?
In the last few years our world has been dealing with uncertainty. Since COVID, anxiety and worry are ever increasing. The demand for social services and mental health resources are constantly at a shortage.
For a business to protect itself it needs to regain certainty. I believe that regardless of what WSIB does with this strike, this uncertainty will continue for some time in the future.
To get certainty, you need to find your own resources and get trained in the system and how it works.
Which is why I created Workers Comp Simplified. To provide WSIB training teaching Ontario businesses how to manage and appeal WSIB claims properly. In doing so, you ensure that you’re doing the right thing for you and your injured workers.
Whether it’s an online course, in-person, or corporate training, the principles we teach will are from the employer perspective.
Within the first 30 days employers will know such things as:
- How to create a WSIB claims management program
- How to respond to a work place injury.
- How to help injured workers get the treatment they need
- How to provide modified duties to injured workers
- What to say and do when speaking with WSIB
If you want to explore how we can help you or your company with our WSIB claims management & appeals training, then contact me directly and send me a message. I’d be happy to go over options with
To see what WSIB training would work for you:
Power comes from knowledge. Certainty comes from knowing what action to take when and how it will affect you and your company.
Injured workers will build trust with their company because they see that they are taken care of.
The biggest concern a company or injured worker have when it comes to a WSIB claim is: “will I be treated fairly?”
Our clients have seen the benefits. It’s not just savings on WSIB premiums or safety statistics. It’s the relationship that’s built with it’s employees. The reduction in conflict and issues between injured worker and management.
When a company takes control of their WSIB claims, the injured employee can benefit from getting the right treatment faster. They can be at work in a modified capacity which reduces the financial impact and overall reliance on WSIB.
How to discuss the WSIB strike with my company?
Aside from our WSIB training, you will want to discuss with your company what to do if the strike actually happens.
Here are a few things I recommend:
- Find out what active claims you have or could have
- Confirm what the current plan is
- Review your WSIB claim response plan (what you will do in case of any new claims during the strike)
- Share with your senior management and anyone involved with a WSIB claim how you will manage current and future claims
- Make sure you speak with your injured workers and let them know what the company is prepared to do
Communication during chaos is key. If you are the one responsible for the management of WSIB claims for your company, you want everyone to know you have a plan. You want to make sure they feel comfortable coming to you with questions. Most importantly you want to remove any uncertainty your injured workers may have. Let them know this is something you will be working on together to get through.
If you want help with any of this or have questions then get in touch with me directly by clicking here.
I truly hope WSIB Ontario figures this out. The better training they can provide their employees the better decisions will be made faster. This saves time, money, and mental stress for all those involved. The WSIB employee, the company, and the injured worker.