COVID-19: FAQs about WSIB claims

FAQS

I think I contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) at work. Should I file a claim? 

While the nature of some people’s work may put them at greater risk of contracting the virus, for example those treating someone with COVID-19, any claims received by the WSIB will need to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances. 

  • If you contracted COVID-19 while at work (you have a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19),  you should tell your employer about your illness and any medical treatment you received right away, and you may file a claim to determine if you are eligible for WSIB coverage.  
  • If you believe you were exposed to COVID-19 while at work, but you are not ill at this time (you do not have a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19), please do not file a claim. Instead, you can file an exposure incident form through our Program for Exposure Incident Reporting (PEIR) or Construction Exposure Incident Reporting (CEIR) program (specifically for the construction sector). These are voluntary reporting programs and you will be assigned an incident number. If you become ill in the future, we'll be able to process your claim faster.

    To report an exposure, please complete and fax the appropriate form below to 1-888-313-7373 or call us at 1-800-387-0750, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    All industries, except construction: Worker's Exposure Incident Form (PDF) or Employer's Exposure Incident Form (PDF)

    Construction sector: Worker's Construction Exposure Incident Form (PDF) or Employer's Construction Exposure Incident Form (PDF)

What do I do if my employer tells me not to report my COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms to the WSIB?

It is against the law for your employer to discourage you from reporting a workplace injury or illness to the WSIB, or to influence you to withdraw or abandon your claim.

If you suspect anyone (person, business, representatives, supplier or health care practitioner) is not acting honestly regarding a potential or ongoing WSIB case, we have multiple ways you can contact us. For more information visit wsib.ca/reportfraud.

I filed a claim for COVID-19. How long will it take to get a decision on my claim? 

We have a dedicated team of adjudicators and nurse consultants working as quickly as possible to gather any information required and review each claim so that people can access the benefits and services they may be entitled to.  

Because we look at each of these claims on a case-by-case basis, the time to a decision will be different in each claim, but we are contacting people within two to five days of a COVID-19-related claim being filed to gather required exposure, employment, medical and other relevant information to help us make decisions.
 

Will I continue to receive my WSIB benefits if my employer temporarily shuts down due to COVID-19?

Yes. We are continuing to pay wage-loss benefits and have ensured loss-of-earning benefits are up to date.

You will continue to receive the same benefits that you were receiving at the time of your employer’s temporary shutdown until you have recovered from your injury or illness or your employer reopens and has work that is safe and suitable for you.

You can read more about entitlement following temporary work disruptions and permanent work disruptions.

 

I am working part-time and receiving partial loss-of-earnings benefits from the WSIB. Will I continue to receive my WSIB benefits if my employer temporarily shuts down due to COVID-19?

Yes. We are continuing to pay wage-loss benefits and have ensured loss-of-earning benefits are up to date.

You will continue to receive the same benefits that you were receiving at the time of your employer’s temporary shutdown until you have recovered from your injury or illness or your employer reopens and has work that is safe and suitable for you.

I have been performing modified duties due to a workplace injury, but receiving full pay. Will the WSIB cover any pay I lose if my employer temporarily shutdown due to COVID-19?

No. If you were not receiving any wage-loss benefits at the time of the employer’s temporary shutdown, you won’t receive any new wage-loss benefits. If you were receiving any other benefits at the time of the shutdown, such as health care benefits, those will continue.

How will the WSIB determine if a COVID-19 claim will be allowed?

Multiple potential sources of COVID-19 may now exist in the community, at home and outside of work, creating challenges in establishing work-relatedness when adjudicating claims.   

For a COVID-19 claim to be allowed, evidence must show that the person’s risk of contracting the disease through their employment is greater than the risk to which the public at large is exposed and that work significantly contributed to the person’s illness. 

To determine the work-relatedness of COVID-19 claims, the WSIB will look at details such as the person’s employment activities, their symptoms and whether they have a diagnosis of COVID-19.  

While the nature of some people's work may put them at greater risk of contracting the virus, for example those treating someone with COVID-19, this is a constantly evolving situation and any claims received by the WSIB will need to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances. 

Please note: The WSIB does not provide coverage for people who are symptom-free without a COVID-19 diagnosis, even when quarantined or sent home on a precautionary basis. However, should someone who is symptom-free develop symptoms or illness while on quarantine, they may be eligible for WSIB coverage.

Read more about how we make decisions about COVID-19 claims (PDF).

Does the WSIB cover people for a quarantine period?

No, the WSIB does not provide coverage for people who are symptom-free and do not have a COVID-19 diagnosis, even when quarantined, self-isolating or sent home on a precautionary basis.

I’m afraid to go to work, what should I do?

If you have concerns about safety in your workplace, we suggest you speak to your employer.

You can get the latest information on COVID-19 from the following websites:

I have a meeting with a WSIB staff member/at a WSIB office. Will the meeting still go ahead? 

The meeting will not be in person. To help protect people from the spread of COVID-19, our offices are closed to the public. You should expect a call from the WSIB employee you were going to meet with so that they can arrange to meet by phone, virtually or postpone. 

If you had an oral appeal hearing scheduled, an Appeals Coordinator will call you to arrange a hearing via teleconference or a hearing in writing, or to postpone your appeal until we resume in-person oral hearings.

 Also, you can share most documentation with us at wsib.ca/upload to upload any claim-related forms, letters or documentation. It is taking longer than usual for the mail we receive to be processed and we are not accepting courier deliveries. Please use our online services or fax your documents to 1-888-313-7373.

Can I still send my documents?

While our offices are closed, it is taking longer than usual for the mail we receive to be processed and we are not receiving courier deliveries. Our online services are the quickest way to send us information. Visit wsib.ca/upload to upload any claim-related forms, letters or documentation.

You can take a picture of your document on your smartphone, scan your document or complete an online form. Go to wsib.ca/upload. Enter your name, claim number, and date of birth, then attach the photo or document. Once it’s submitted, the document is filed to the claim. You can upload documents including photos from any computer, tablet or smartphone 24/7.

If you are uploading a scanned copy or photo of a receipt, please keep the original receipt for your records.

If you don’t have a claim number, you can fax documents to 1-888-313-7373.

Please submit all direct deposit requests to directdeposit@wsib.on.ca. Learn more about our direct deposit services.

My health care provider has rescheduled or cancelled my appointment and it affects my ability to get treatment within the treatment timeline. What should I do?

Health care providers and associated facilities must abide by public health guidelines, including screening protocols. If your care is disrupted, the clinician will inform your adjudicator/case management team and include an estimated timeline and date, if possible, for the next appointment. Many providers have moved to providing virtual care through safe and secure platforms that can help continue your recovery while keeping you safe.

If you have an urgent need for health care, please contact your family doctor or 911 if it is an emergency.

Will I still be able to get my medications at the pharmacy for my workplace injury or illness?

Yes. Pharmacies have been identified as essential businesses and we are extending approved prescriptions to make sure that people will be able to access the medication they need.

Does the six-month time limit to file a claim for benefits after a workplace injury or illness still apply during the state of emergency?

No. The six-month time limit for injured or ill people to file a claim for benefits will not apply while the state of emergency is in effect.

You should file a claim as early as you are able to do so but during the state of emergency, we will not deny a claim for benefits due to missing a time limit. This applies to any time limits that would have expired on or after March 16, 2020, until the end of the state of emergency.

Does the usual three-day time limit for employers to report an injury or illness still apply during the provincial state of emergency?

We expect employers to make all reasonable efforts to report any injuries or illnesses within the expected timelines, unless they are prevented from doing so because of the state of emergency. Efforts to support and educate employers on their reporting obligations related to COVID-19 illnesses are ongoing.

In cases where employers are not able to meet expected timelines, we will use our discretion on a case-by-case basis to extend time limits for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses, to avoid unfairly penalizing businesses or injured/ill people for delays during Ontario's state of emergency. 

I want to object to a decision about a WSIB claim – does the regular time limit apply?

The regular six-month time limit for objecting to a WSIB decision (or 30-day time limit for return-to-work decisions) will not apply while Ontario's state of emergency remains in effect.

You should let us know if you object to a decision as early as you are able to do so but during Ontario's state of emergency, we will not deny an objection due to missing a time limit. This applies to any time limits that would have expired on or after March 16, 2020 until the end of Ontario's state of emergency.

Does the 10-day time limit to report a material change in circumstances still apply during the state of emergency?

We expect employers and injured or ill people to make all reasonable efforts to report a material change within 10 days, unless they are prevented from doing so due to the state of emergency.

In cases where they are unable to meet expected timelines, we will use our discretion to extend time limits about reporting material changes, to avoid unfairly penalizing people with claims or employers for delays during this state of emergency.

I want to volunteer to help during the COVID emergency, am I covered by the WSIB?

Volunteers are not generally covered by the WSIB unless requested to assist by the provincial government or by a municipality during a declared emergency. They are considered emergency workers. You can see more in the policy about emergency workers to see who may be considered an emergency worker and how their wage-loss benefits would calculated if they experienced a workplace injury or illness.

I want to help during the COVID emergency and have been offered work with an employer that needs extra help as a result of COVID-19. Am I covered by the WSIB if an injury or illness occurs while I am working there?

Most employers in Ontario are required to have WSIB coverage. Some employers are not required to have coverage, but may apply for coverage.

You can search our Employer Classification Manual to find out the coverage status of an employer’s business activity. If coverage is not mandatory, you can contact the Employer Service Centre to find out if an employer has optional insurance by calling 416-344-1000 or toll free 1-800-387-0750.
 
If an employer is required to have coverage or has had a request for coverage approved by the WSIB, you will be covered in the case of workplace-related injury or illness.

Am I covered by the WSIB if I am asked to volunteer during the emergency?

When responding to a request by the provincial or municipal government to assist during the emergency, volunteers are covered for any workplace-related injuries or illnesses that they may experience.

If I am asked to volunteer and experience a workplace injury or illness and my claim is allowed, would I be entitled to loss-of-earnings (LOE) benefits? How would they be calculated?

People who suffer a workplace injury or illness while volunteering during an emergency may be entitled to loss-of-earnings benefits. We would calculate an emergency worker's wage replacement based on their actual earnings from their pre-emergency job. You can read our policy to learn how we determine short-term average earnings.

I asked for a copy of my claim file, and I haven’t received it yet. Will I get it now that the WSIB offices are closed?

We are now sending claim files by secure email. If you have requested a copy of your claim file, we will be calling to you to get your email address and to get your permission to send your claim file electronically.

If I am receiving WSIB benefits, am I eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

You may be eligible for CERB benefits, if you meet the eligibility criteria. Please see the Government of Canada website for more information.