This article was updated in October 2023 to include information about the changes to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) accident reporting policy.
Change #1: New Timeline for Accident Reporting
The Ontario WSIB has amended the accident reporting policy for employers from 7 business days to 3 business days upon learning of an accident. In other words, there’s no longer a “grace” period beyond the 3-day statutory requirement in the WSIA. The change became effective on September 29, 2023.
The WSIA requires employers to notify the WSIB within three days of learning of an accident if the worker seeks health-care or results in them not being able to earn full wages. The updated Policy sets out that the “Business days are defined as Monday to Friday, and do not include statutory holidays. If, however, a worker is injured and returns to modified work at regular pay without seeking health-care, the reporting obligation would not generally begin until the eighth calendar day and the WSIB must receive an employer’s report within three business days after the eighth calendar day.”
Why the change to the accident reporting policy?
According to the WSIB …"When we introduced the policies, the majority of businesses relied on the postal system to submit accident reports. The seven-business daytime-period was in case of postal delays between when a business submitted the accident report and when we received it. Since the vast majority of businesses no longer submit accident reports by mail, the seven-business daytime-period is no longer needed.”
Alight’s recommendation for employers: Update your reporting processes now
For decades, employers have built a 7-day business (or 10 calendar days) timeline into their internal claims reporting process. If an organization has a centralized reporting process with multiple sites, securing all the data fast and reaching out to other departments, for example, to gather earnings information is now more critical.
Remember, the WSIB will levy either a late reporting penalty of $250, or for those accidents reported after more than 30 calendar days, a penalty of $1000. Delays due to inefficiencies in the employer’s administrative processes are not a valid reason for lateness. How strictly the WSIB will implement the policy change is unknown.
Additionally, separate $250 penalties may be levied for:
- incomplete reporting,
- not reporting on a pre-approved version of the form, and
- failing to provide a copy of the Form 7 to the worker.
The WSIB may again levy these penalties if the employer fails to respond to subsequent requests for information, or at the time of a recurrence. Because failure to comply with reporting obligations is an offense under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, employers may be prosecuted.
In addition to this significant change, there have been a few other policies that have been updated and can be found here.
Change #2: WSIB Ontario error – Impact to employers
Under the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA), there is a statutory provision (section 49 of the WSIA) that on an annual basis a worker’s earnings basis is to be recalculated or adjusted (for those who are in receipt of loss of earnings benefits). The adjustment is incorporated based upon the changes in the cost of living using Canada’s Consumer Price Index. The adjustment applies to all claims after January 1, 2018.
Recently, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has determined that an error occurred in its payment process system, which is either an underpayment or overpayment, and there is a fix to those workers’ benefits negatively impacted. The error has been expressed to impact approximately 2% of all claims in the period from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2017.
What this means to you
While the WSIB is reaching out to all affected workers and is resolving any benefit deficiency, companies will not be adversely affected by any retroactive payments. For all employers who are impacted, any credit adjustments will occur in Fall 2023. Accordingly, the WSIB has advised the following:
- Schedule 1 businesses who have overpaid claims during this period may receive credits because of revisions to their experience rating statements. All adjustments will be completed by the end of the year.
- There may also be an adjustment to a company’s premium rates for 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 in the Fall as this loss-of-earnings adjustment falls within the premium rate setting window. No adjustments for underpayments will result in additional charges for Schedule 1 businesses.
- The associated additional costs for claims underpaid between January 1998 to December 2017 will be excluded from premium rate adjustments from 2020 to 2023. Future claim costs that fall within the rate setting window will be applied when setting premium rates.
- The WSIB pays interest at a rate that is equal to the post-judgment interest rate under the Courts of Justice Act. The post-judgment interest rate, set quarterly under the Act, is the official bank rate (rounded up to the next higher whole number if it is a fraction) plus one percent.
- If your account has claims impacted by the loss-of-earnings adjustment, a notice of claims will be attached to the accident cost statement you received mid-September. This claim cost statement will only contain the amounts adjusted and will NOT be reflected in the monthly accident cost statements created at the beginning of each month.
- If you were part of the NEER, CAD-7 or MAP programs, any loss-of-earnings benefits that employees were overpaid in this period may impact the company’s historical experience rating. Your experience for these periods will be recalculated and any adjustments for overpayments will be applied to your account as a credit this Fall. No adjustments for underpayments will result in additional charges to your account.
- If your account has been impacted by the loss-of-earnings adjustment, a premium rate summary statement will be available in your online services account and your rate will be updated in our online reporting service. All corrections will be applied by the end of the year.
- The following statements will be made available to accounts impacted by the loss-of-earnings adjustment:
- Mid-September – Accident cost statement will be mailed to you to assess the impacted claims.
- Mid-October – Premium rate summary statements will be available through your online services account to assess the impact to your premium rates from 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
- Mid-November – Experience rating statements will be mailed to you to assess the impacted historical claims within the experience rating program (NEER, CAD7, MAPP).
- Credits related to historical experience rating programs will be issued automatically to accounts in good standing and the WSIB will apply a premium rate recalculation adjustment credit to your account.
The error and remedy are a fair response to both workers and employers.
If you’re an Alight client, we’ll make sure your organization is prepared and informed if any other changes are made. Should you require any more information, please reach out to your account executive.