On May 28th, 2015 the Ontario Legislature introduced Bill 109 (Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015) that would amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA).
Once of the most significant proposed changes is the No Reprisal section being added to the WSIA which, if passed, would state the following:
22.1 (1) No employer shall take any action, including but not limited to the prohibited actions set out in subsection (2), in respect of a worker with the intent of,
(a) discouraging or preventing the worker from filing a claim for benefits made section 22.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the following actions are prohibited:
- Dismissed or threatening to dismiss a worker.
- Disciplining or suspending, or threatening to discipline or suspend a worker.
- Imposing a penalty upon a worker.
- Directly or indirectly intimidating or coercing a worker with threats, promises, persuasion or other means.
Employer's need to educate front-line staff (e.g. supervisors) to report a claimed injury by a worker to management. Suspected and questionable claims need to be properly documented, investigated and challenged based on it's merit. Secondly, when reporting the injury to WSIB be factual ,objective and disclose. It is important to remember, that it's not the employer who decides when a WSIB claim needs to be reported. The employer's obligation is to report it - and when necessary, contest the claim.
When a person commits an offence under the WSIA, the WSIB Regulatory Services may investigate by interviewing participants, seize relevant documents (e.g. wage records, claims management records, etc...) and lay charges and prosecute.
On conviction, an individual is liable to a fine not exceeding $25,000 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both. A company is liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000. Administrative penalties may also apply.
The proposed amendments under the Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015, would see the fines increase to $500,000.
Other proposed amendments to the WSIA potentially would increase the amount of survivor benefits paid out by WSIB. Instead of being limited to statutory minimums, the survivor benefit calculation would be based on the average earnings of the deceased worker's occupation at the time of diagnosis.
The Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 will also affect the following legislative Acts:
Fire Prevention and Protection Act and the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act.
For more information on the Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 Click Here
For further information please contact Greg Sathmary at (613) 260-0600.