FAQs about working from home/working remotely

Working from home/ working remotely

Is working from home the same as working remotely?

We consider “remote work” to include both temporary and permanent arrangements where an employer directs or allows employees to perform their usual job duties at an approved location away from the regular workplace, such as working from home or another location offsite.

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 tell your employer as soon as possible and file a claim so we can determine if you are eligible for benefits.

Not every injury that happens while working from home is work related. If your injury is clearly not work related – for instance, if you’re injured while taking out the garbage or doing laundry – you don’t need to file a claim.

If you’re not sure if your injury is work related, we encourage you to report the injury. It is the WSIB’s responsibility to determine the work-relatedness of claims and possible work-related claims should always be reported.

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.

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 of 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 your employee tells you they were injured while working from home or offsite and required medical treatment beyond first aid, you must report it to the WSIB. You must also report the injury if the employee didn’t require medical treatment, but was absent from work, earned less than regular pay (e.g., working fewer hours or being paid less per hour), or required modified work at regular pay for more than seven calendar days.

If you are not sure if an injury is work-related, you should report it. It is the WSIB’s responsibility to determine the work-relatedness of claims and possible work-related claims should always be reported.

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.

My employee is a resident of Ontario and usually works at our regular workplace in Ontario, but I’ve allowed them to work remotely outside of Ontario. If they are injured while working outside of Ontario, are they covered?

An employee who usually resides and works in Ontario, but is temporarily working remotely outside of Ontario, is automatically covered for up to six months for work-related injuries or illnesses. If coverage is required beyond six months, you can request an extension of coverage for up to three years by calling us at 1-800-387-0750.

If the remote work outside of Ontario is a temporary measure you’ve enacted based on public health guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will continue coverage beyond the initial six-month period, and you will not need to request an extension. If the remote work continues outside of Ontario for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, you must request an extension from us to ensure coverage continues beyond the initial six-month period.

For further clarification of coverage obligations in another jurisdiction, you should contact and consult the respective compensation board of that jurisdiction.

My business is located in Ontario, but my employee has permanently relocated outside of Ontario and I’ve allowed them to work remotely indefinitely. If they are injured while working outside of Ontario, are they covered?

Non-resident employees who are indefinitely working remotely from a location outside of Ontario, including those who work from home, are not covered by the WSIB.

For further clarification of coverage obligations in another jurisdiction, you should contact and consult the respective compensation board of that jurisdiction.

If my employee was injured while working from home or working remotely, how does the WSIB determine whether they are eligible for benefits?

We consider the same criteria when determining eligibility for an injury that occurs at a private residence or offsite as for an injury that occurs at the regular workplace. Every decision takes into consideration the unique facts and circumstances of the claim.

When a person is injured at home, the focus will primarily be on the activity of the person at the time of the injury. The time and place of the injury may also be relevant. For instance, a person injured in a designated home workspace while performing a work-related activity may be eligible for benefits. A person injured while not in the performance of a work-related activity outside of a designated home workspace will generally not be eligible for benefits.

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.

If you have a formal remote work policy in place, or if you have entered into a remote work agreement with your employee, these measures can help ensure there is clarity about the nature of the remote working arrangement. Although not determinative, they can also assist us to adjudicate claims for injuries occurring in a private residence or offsite.

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