Businesses: WSIB financial relief package

To help reduce the financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario businesses, we provided the opportunity to defer premiums due between March to August 2020. While businesses may choose to make deferred premium payments at any point, to help further support businesses during this difficult time, repayment is not required to begin until January 2021.

All businesses that chose to participate in the financial relief package will have until June 30, 2021 to repay deferred amounts, interest-free. Deferred amount payments can be made in one or multiple installments between January and June 30, 2021.

How it works

Each business reports and pays on the previous full month or quarter, for example March 31 reporting and payment obligation covers the period of February 1-29. The following payments were eligible for deferral:

  • Monthly: March 31, April 30, May 31, June 30, July 31, Aug 31
  • Quarterly: April 30, July 31
  • Annual: April 30

The relief package also applies to Schedule 2 organizations – publicly funded organizations (municipalities, hospitals, school boards), and other businesses who are involved in federally regulated industries. All payment obligations (weekly and monthly) for Schedule 2 businesses could be deferred until August, 31, 2020.

No interest was accrued on outstanding premium payments for Schedule 1 businesses and no penalties were charged during this six-month deferral period. Schedule 2 account balances did not accrue debit interest as part of the financial relief package.

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. 

Reporting and payment of deferred amounts

Reporting: Schedule 1 businesses should report any outstanding deferred amounts as soon as possible, as the October 31, 2020 deadline has now passed. You can report deferred premiums by:

  • using our online services
  • emailing us at employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca with each outstanding period clearly defined. For example: August 2020 – payroll = $100, premiums = $10
  • complete the premium remittance form for the corresponding reporting period and mail to P.O. Box 4115 Station A Toronto M5W 2V3

Regular monthly and quarterly reporting and payment schedules resumed in September 2020 for all businesses. 

Payment:

Schedule 1 Schedule 2

Repayment of deferred WSIB premiums, due between March to August 2020, will not be required before January 2021. Businesses may choose to start making deferred payments prior to January 2021. 

Repayment of deferred WSIB claim payments and administrative fees due between March to August 2020, will not be required before January 2021. Businesses may choose to start making deferred payments prior to January 2021. 

Deferred amount payments can be made in one or multiple installments between January and June 30, 2021. We recognize that some businesses may require longer repayment terms due to the ongoing pandemic. If you require additional support once the repayment period has started, please contact us and we will be happy to work with you.

As of September 1, 2020, all upcoming payment obligations will be due on the normal payment cycle for all businesses, as outlined on your statements or invoices.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Businesses that qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (CEWS) who are receiving a subsidy used to pay employees who are on leave and not working, do not need to report the earnings received through the subsidy for those employees. Businesses are able to retroactively adjust insurable earnings reported from March 15, 2020 onwards. 

Please complete the CEWS exemption worksheet to confirm if your business has been approved for the subsidy and to submit any required adjustments to your account if the exemption criteria has been met. If an adjustment results in your account balance moving into a credit position, you may request a refund. The worksheet will also help you stay organized with what earnings you are deducting from WSIB premiums moving forward.

Completed forms, refund requests or any questions you may have about CEWS and how to report your premiums, can be sent to employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca. 

More information

The best way to manage your account is through our online services or email us at employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca. If you need urgent assistance with your account, please call us at 1-800-387-0750, Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See our main COVID-19 page.

You can also read FAQs for business accounts, FAQs about claims and COVID-19 and FAQs for health care providers.

FAQs about financial relief

When do I need to report my deferred premiums?

The deadline to report premiums deferred between March 25 and August 31 as part of the financial relief package was October 31, 2020. Schedule 1 businesses should report any outstanding deferred amounts as soon as possible.

Deferred periods may include:

  • for monthly reporting businesses – February, March, April, May, June, July, 2020 and 2019 annual reconciliation
  • for quarterly reporting businesses – Q1 2020, Q2 2020
  • for annual reporting businesses – 2020 annual estimate

Sign up for email reminders to receive a notification when it’s time to report and pay your premiums.
 

How do I report my deferred premiums?

To report your deferred premiums:

  • use our online services

  • email us at employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca with each outstanding period clearly defined. For example: August 2020 – payroll = $100, premiums = $10

  • complete the premium remittance form for the corresponding reporting period and mail to P.O. Box 4115 Station A Toronto M5W 2V3

When will businesses be required to make deferred payments if they choose to participate in the financial relief package?

Repayment of deferred amounts will not be required before January 2021 for all Schedule 1 and 2 businesses. Businesses may choose to start making deferred payments at any time prior to January 2021.  All businesses that chose to participate in the financial relief package will have until June 30, 2021 to repay deferred amounts, interest-free. 

Payments for deferred amounts can be paid in one or multiple installments between January and June 30, 2021. This means your repayment of deferred amounts will occur alongside your regularly scheduled payment obligations with the WSIB for non-deferred amounts.

We recognize that some businesses may require longer repayment terms due to the ongoing pandemic. If you require additional support once the repayment period has started, please contact us and we will be happy to work with you.

How do I pay my deferred amounts?

You can pay your premiums:

  • online or by telephone banking through your financial institution
  • by logging in to our online services, or pay now by:  
    • Visa or MasterCard (credit card)
    • Interac online (debit)
    • Visa/MasterCard debit

Or

  • Mail your cheque and premium remittance stub to: PO Box 4115, Station A, Toronto, ON M5W 2V3

For additional details on how to pay your premium, see payment options.
 

If I do not start my repayment until January 2021, will there be a penalty?

There will be no penalties charged on your account for any outstanding balance related to the deferral period prior to June 30, 2021.

Will there be interest charged on outstanding balance?

No, there will be no interest charged on your outstanding balance for Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 businesses until after June 30, 2021. More information about interest will be available later this year.

Will premium rates change in 2020 to cover claims costs associated with COVID-19?

No, we do not plan to change premium rates for 2020.

Will any allowed COVID-19 related claims for my employees result in a change in 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.

Why should I have to pay for claims that I did not experience?

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global situation. Our workplace injury and illness insurance system is based on the core principle of collective liability. We are committed to responding as the situation evolves to ensure we can maintain our system for all Ontarians.

Will clearance certificates continue to be issued to all businesses?

Most active businesses with outstanding premium, reconciliation years, and overdue balances are eligible to receive a clearance certificate. 

Will my current clearance certificates be renewed in November?

As reporting for the deferred premium periods and the 2019 reconciliation is due October 31, any account that does not complete reporting by this time will not be eligible to have their clearance certificate renewed in November.

What happens if I have an experience rating surcharge issued in 2020? When will it be due? 

If your experience rating assessment (CAD7 or NEER) results in a surcharge, the debit will still be applied to your account. Under WSIB’s financial relief package, you can defer the payment of your surcharge amount until 2021. 

All businesses that chose to participate in the financial relief package will have until June 30, 2021 to repay deferred amounts, interest-free. Deferred amount payments can be made in installments between January and June 30, 2021.

We recognize that some businesses may require longer repayment terms due to the ongoing pandemic. If you require additional support once the repayment period has started, please contact us and we will be happy to work with you.

Should I report wages paid to employees that are on leave or working reduced hours due to the COVID-19 situation as insurable earnings?

You should continue to follow the guidelines found in our policy on determining insurable earnings and report any amounts included on a worker's earnings statement and/or income reported in box 14 of the T4 slip as gross earnings. This includes wages paid to employees who:

  • are on paid leave
  • working reduced hours but are being paid for full hours
  • returned to the workplace following a leave

As part of our financial relief package, you can defer premium reporting and payments until Aug. 31, 2020. You can continue to manage your account, including reporting and paying your premiums, through our online services.

You can also email us at employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca or call us at 1-800-387-0750, Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., for more information.

Should wages paid to employees with funds received under the CEWS and Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers programs, be considered when reporting and paying my WSIB premiums?

Businesses that qualify for the CEWS who are receiving a subsidy used to pay employees who are on leave and not working, do not need to report the earnings received through the subsidy for those employees. Businesses are able to retroactively adjust insurable earnings reported from March 15, 2020 onwards. 

How should businesses participating in the CEWS program who have employees on leave and not working request retroactive premium adjustments for earnings reported from March 15 onwards? How should businesses report premiums moving forward?

Businesses who have previously reported and now require retroactive adjustments to their account should complete the CEWS exemption support worksheet and send it to employeraccounts@wsib.on.ca. The WSIB will review and process adjustments on your account once we have received the worksheet. 

Moving forward, as long as your business continues to receive a CEWS subsidy and meet the exemption criteria outlined, those earnings may be deducted at the time they are reported to the WSIB. 

You should capture the deduction for the period in which you have received the subsidy. For example, a business who applied for the CEWS claims period of August 30 – September 26, but did not receive the approval/funds until October, should account for any amounts when reporting their October period, as that is when the approval/funds were received. 
 

Are Supplementary Unemployment Benefits (SUB) paid to an employee considered insurable earnings and should they be reported when paying my WSIB premiums?

SUB payments to an employee are not considered insurable earnings for WSIB purposes.

A SUB plan is for a business to provide additional weekly payments to their employee's Employment Insurance (EI) benefits during a period of unemployment due to:

  • a temporary stoppage of work
  • training
  • illness, injury or quarantine

Payments from SUB plans that are registered with Service Canada are not considered earnings and are not deducted from the EI benefits an employee receives, nor are EI premiums deducted from the payment.

Do I need to report the income support received by employees as part of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as insurable earnings?

The CERB program provides people with temporary income support if they have stopped working because of COVID-19 and the benefit is paid directly to people who apply for it.

CERB payments received by an employee are not considered insurable earnings for WSIB purposes.

If an employee who worked in Ontario prior to the COVID-19 pandemic is now working remotely outside of Ontario due to the pandemic, do I need to apply for an extension beyond the six-month coverage period for out-of-province employees?

If you are allowing employees to work remotely based on recommended guidelines by provincial and national health authorities in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we would generally consider the circumstances to be temporary (i.e. employees will automatically be covered during this temporary ‘work from home’ situation) and you do not need to apply for an extension. However, should such an arrangement become permanent, coverage is not generally available to non-residents who are usually employed outside Ontario. 

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