FAQs about claims and COVID-19

COVID-19 claims and coverage

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.
 

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 am now working from home. If I get injured while working at home am I covered?

You and your employer have the same rights and responsibilities in the event of a workplace injury or illness whether you are working from home or offsite or in your regular workplace. If you believe your injury is work-related you should file a claim. The decision about whether an injury or illness is work-related can only be made by the WSIB. Every decision will take into consideration the unique facts and circumstances. You can read more about the criteria we consider around the place, time and activity of an injury in our policy about accidents in the course of employment

You can learn more about injury and illness prevention on the province’s website. You can also see some resources around safe office work.

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.

Reporting obligations for businesses

My employee contracted COVID-19, but I don’t know if they contracted it at work. Do I have to report the illness to the WSIB?

Generally, if an employee tells you that they believe they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, you are required to report the illness to the WSIB, even if you feel that the employee did not contract it at work.

You also have an obligation to report an employee’s COVID-19 (they have a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19) when you have reason to believe there was a potential workplace exposure. For example:

  • other employees in the workplace have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • there was a known or suspected contact source for COVID-19 from whom the employee could have contracted it

Additionally, you are required to report the illness if the WSIB has informed you that a claim has been set up based on a Form 6 (Worker's Report of Injury/Disease) (PDF) or a Form 8 (Health Professional's Report) (PDF).

If you are unsure about whether there is an obligation to report, we encourage you to report in the normal way. It is the WSIB’s responsibility to determine the work-relatedness of claims and possible work-related claims should always be reported. 

We adjudicate COVID-19 claims on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances, to determine if they are work-related and if the person is eligible for WSIB benefits. The review we undertake in each claim is based on submissions from the person with an injury or illness and their employer, so it is very important that when completing the Form 7 you fill in all sections. This will allow us to quickly review and make decisions in these cases.

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

My employee says they’ve been injured while working from home. Do I need to report it to the WSIB?

Your responsibilities and obligations as an employer in the event a workplace injury or illness are the same for people who work from home or offsite as they are for people who work in your regular workplace. If you are not sure if an injury is work-related, you should report it as the decision about whether an injury or illness is work-related can only be made by the WSIB. Every decision will take into consideration the unique facts and circumstances. You can read more about the criteria we consider around the place, time and activity of an injury in our policy about accidents in the course of employment

You can learn more about injury and illness prevention on the province’s website. You can also see some resources around safe office work
 
 

Do I have to report a claim if my employee was exposed to COVID-19 while at work, but they are not ill at this time?

If someone does not have a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19, you are not required to report the illness/file a Form 7 and they should not file a claim. 

Instead, they may choose to 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 they will be assigned an incident number. If someone becomes ill after reporting an exposure incident, we'll be able to process their claim faster. To report an exposure, they can 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)

Does the usual three-day time limit for employers to report an injury or illness still apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We expect businesses 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 COVID-19 pandemic. 

In cases where businesses 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 the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important that you communicate the reason(s) that you are not able to meet the timelines for reporting and providing all necessary information in a complete manner.

Will any allowed COVID-19-related claims for my employees increase my 2020 premium rates?

No. Costs associated with COVID-19 related claims will not be allocated at an employer or class level. Instead, they will be allocated on a Schedule-wide basis and there will be no change in premium rates for 2020.

Benefits during a temporary shutdown

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.

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.

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.

Accessing services from the WSIB and health care providers

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

To help protect people from the spread of COVID-19, our offices are closed to the public.  We are still meeting with people by phone or virtually. In some circumstances, we may visit your workplace or home. Our first priority is health and safety – for our employees and for the people we’re here to help. We have guidelines in place to assess when we can safely conduct a visit in person. We’ll talk to you first to make sure that the right health and safety precautions are in place. 

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.

I have an oral appeal hearing scheduled. Will it go ahead?

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

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.

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 you don't receive the email within one business day, you may need to:

  • add access@wsib.on.ca to your contact list
  • check your junk mail folder
  • speak to your IT department to change your "block sender" features in Outlook

My benefit cheque is late. What should I do? 

Due to Canada Post delays and restrictions to international mail delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take longer than usual for you to receive benefit cheques and other mail from us. We thank you for your patience during this time, and ask that you allow for a few extra days before contacting us about a late or missing cheque. If you have a Canadian bank account, you may sign up for direct deposit, to help make sure you receive your benefits on time.  

Rules about time limits during the COVID-19 pandemic

Does the six-month time limit to file a claim for benefits after a workplace injury or illness still apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. The six-month time limit for injured or ill people to file a claim for benefits was suspended as of March 16, 2020 and will not begin to run again until September 11, 2020.

You should file a claim as early as you are able to do so but during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 September 11, 2020.

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) does not currently apply while Ontario deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should let us know if you object to a decision as early as you are able to do so but during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 September 11, 2020.

Does the 10-day time limit to report a material change in circumstances still apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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 COVID-19 pandemic.

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 the COVID-19 pandemic.