Health and Safety Excellence program: Frequently asked questions
Why should I join the program?
Our program provides businesses with the opportunity to invest in their workplace health and safety and improve their workplace culture. The program helps businesses create a healthier and safer workplace, which could result in lower premium rates, earning rebates and recognition.
How does the program work?
There are four components to our program:
- Businesses select a WSIB-approved provider to work with, complete an assessment to help determine where they should start in their health and safety journey and develop an action plan to work on health and safety topics of their choice.
- Businesses learn how to complete topics with the help of a provider.
- Businesses submit evidence of their topic completion for review by a WSIB validator.
- Businesses receive a rebate on their WSIB premiums and recognition for investing in a healthier and safer workplace, such as digital achievement badges.
What is the difference between the Health and Safety Excellence program and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program?
The Health and Safety Excellence program provides businesses with a roadmap for implementing a health and safety management system. Businesses complete health and safety topics, which are building blocks of a health and safety management system.
The MLTSD Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program recognizes businesses that have an occupational health and safety management system in place meeting MLTSD accredited standards. Businesses that receive MLITSD Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) recognition and meet additional WSIB eligibility requirements will receive financial incentives from the WSIB. The MLITSD program and associated financial incentives are separate from the Health and Safety Excellence program and its incentives. The Health and Safety Excellence program topics align to and provide businesses with the necessary building blocks to the CPO accreditation program.
You can find more information on the Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program on the MLITSD website.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium rebates are available to businesses for both programs. Eligibility requirements apply.
If I already have a health and safety management system meeting an accredited standard, should I participate in the Health and Safety Excellence program?
Businesses with health and safety management systems meeting an accredited standard, such as ISO 45001, and verified by third party audit, should consider applying for the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program.
The Health and Safety Excellence program includes additional best practices topics beyond the MLTSD accreditation. These topics are Networking and Peer Learning, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Workplace Health Promotion. As such, employers already meeting an accreditation can still complete these topics through the Health and Safety Excellence program and qualify for financial and non-financial incentives.
Joining the program
Who is eligible to participate in the program?
All Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 businesses with an active WSIB account number are eligible to participate. See our program guidelines for specific program criteria.
Schedule 2 businesses will be able to participate in the program (i.e., develop an action plan and receive validation on topics completed) however will not receive a financial rebate as they do not pay premiums. Schedule 2 businesses will receive non-financial recognition for their achievements (i.e., topics and levels they complete).
How does a business sign up for the program?
To sign up, a business should:
- attend an information session to learn about the program
- review the list of WSIB-approved providers
- choose a provider and register in the program
Businesses can join the program at anytime throughout the year, but some providers may offer services that run on an annual basis with a specific entry period.
What is a provider, and how does a business select one?
Providers are private health and safety companies, health and safety associations and business associations approved by the WSIB to deliver the program to support workplaces in improving their health and safety. See the list of approved providers.
Is it mandatory for businesses to register with a provider to participate in the Health and Safety Excellence program?
Yes, in order to participate in the Health and Safety Excellence program and qualify for financial and non-financial incentives, businesses are required to select and register with a WSIB-approved provider.
They work with businesses to access the digital platform, guide them toward the implementation and completion of the program’s health and safety topics and ensure they understand the validation process and the requirements.
Having a network of approved providers reduces the administration burden and lets the WSIB focus on oversight and quality control to ensure the delivery of high quality health and safety services in accordance with service delivery standards.
Each provider offers services based on the industries and regions they serve and the fees are set by each based on the types of services offered. We encourage businesses to choose a provider based on their individual needs and the level of service they are looking for.
How does my program provider help me implement the topics?
Your program provider will guide you through the steps of integrating the health and safety topics into your everyday workplace activities. They will also help you monitor and track your success. Many providers will use the “plan, do, act, check” or PDCA framework to help you achieve your goals.
How long does it take to implement each topic?
Your program provider will work with you to select topics that are both a priority for your business and balance the amount of work required to implement each one. Some topics may take longer if they are highly customized to your particular needs, or require new structures and processes, such as foundational topics where health and safety is new to a business. Other topics have a more standard approach, such as first aid, which has regulated requirements, and may take less time to plan. The range of time to implement topics is approximately six months to one year.
How can I use this experience to keep my employees engaged in health and safety?
As part of your Health and Safety Excellence program journey, we encourage you to engage and celebrate with your employees by sharing the results of your efforts, such as topics completed and rebates received. Consider having your employees complete the culture survey again to identify any progress you have made. For example, you can share results by including them in your business newsletter or having standing agenda items in your team meetings related to the program and items such as your culture survey results, and other health and safety improvements and metrics.
Choosing your action plan topics
Can I choose topics that I’ve started to work on (for example, developing a work plan or drafting a policy) but haven’t implemented in my workplace?
Yes. You can choose a topic that you have already started to work on, as long as the health and safety initiative hasn’t been implemented in your workplace yet.
For example, if an incident reporting policy and procedure has been created but hasn’t been communicated to employees, included in health and safety training, or reviewed for effectiveness, you can choose the Injury, Illness and Incident Reporting topic to finalize and implement the policy and procedure in your workplace.
My company completed an external audit 10 years ago, but we haven’t had one since. Can I choose the External Audit topic?
Yes .The current lack of an audit process creates a significant gap in health and safety effectiveness. The External Audit topic helps you establish, implement, monitor and maintain a procedure so you can get an external third-party audit of your health and safety management system.
My business is now using diesel fuel to operate equipment – can I choose the Control of Hazards topic?
Yes. The introduction of a new exposure (like diesel) can create new hazards for your employees, which need to be controlled. The Control of Hazards topic can help you manage those new hazards.
Can I select any of the 36 topics and focus only on a COVID- 19 response within each topic?
No. By only focusing on the COVID-19 hazard (for example, in a risk assessment or training program), you may be overlooking other identified hazards. This is considered partial implementation of a topic, and doesn’t meet program requirements.
But, if you’re concerned about addressing COVID-19, you can choose the Control of Hazards topic. This topic can be used to address as many hazards as needed, in order to develop and implement control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of each of your business’ hazards, including COVID-19.
We need to add information on accessing WSIB forms to our Return to Work policy. Can I choose the Return to Work Program requirements, Forms and Tools topic?
No. Updates to existing policies and procedures that have already been implemented (for example, when a document is updated and shared with your employees) are considered part of your continuous improvement cycle and aren’t eligible for topic selection.
Rebate and recognition
How do I qualify for my rewards?
In order to achieve rebates and recognition, your businesses must meet the following:
- Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 businesses are eligible for recognition through digital badges.
- Only Schedule 1 businesses are eligible to achieve rebates.
- Compliance with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA)
- No allowed traumatic fatalities from the date of action plan approval to the date the rebate is issued.
- Evidence is submitted to show successful completion of one or more action plan topics. Your program provider will guide you in the process. Evidence can be provided in multiple formats such as a photo of a document posted on your health and safety board, written procedures, or a video of an employee talking about the training they received and how it helped them to be safer at work.
How and when do I get my rebate?
Businesses are eligible for a rebate when they complete all of the topics in their action plan. Rebates are paid throughout the year on a quarterly schedule.
What rebate amount can a business earn?
Businesses fall into one of two categories of predictability based on their ability to influence their premium rate through their health and safety experience:
Businesses with 20 per cent or less predictability will receive two per cent of their total annual WSIB premiums (based on previous calendar year premiums at the time of rebate calculation) per health and safety topic successfully completed and verified by a WSIB validator.
Businesses with greater than 20 per cent predictability will receive 1.4 per cent of their total annual WSIB premiums (based on previous calendar year premiums at the time of rebate calculation) per health and safety topic completed and verified by a WSIB validator.
How does a business find their predictability percentage?
To determine predictability percent, follow these steps:
Log in to your online service account.
Select “Analyze Rates and Past Claims Costs with Compass”. This will bring you to your company’s main dashboard.
Double click on the “Premiums” box on your main dashboard.
Click on “2022 rates now available”.
Click on the + sign to expand the section.
Your predictability will appear below “Predominant Class”.
Is there a minimum or maximum on the total amount in rebates a business can receive?
The minimum rebate is $1,000 per topic, up to a maximum total rebate of 100 per cent of a business's WSIB annual reported premiums. The maximum is $50,000 per topic.
Who is eligible for double the health and safety rebate and $1,000 toward their health and safety plan?
Any smaller business that meets the following criteria is eligible:
- Has 1-99 full-time employees
- Is enrolled in the Health and Safety Excellence program
- Has an approved 2022 and/or 2023 action plan
Please note: businesses participating in the WSIB’s small business study are eligible for the rebate increase but will not receive the $1,000 toward their health and safety plan.
Does a member need to enroll with a specific program provider to receive double the rebates and $1,000 toward their health and safety plan?
No, members are encouraged to select the WSIB-approved program provider that best fits their needs.
Will doubled health and safety rebates and the $1,000 toward businesses’ health and safety plans be available in 2024?
The additional financial support for smaller businesses is only available until December 31, 2023. We will continue to evaluate the program to determine if additional benefits will be provided in future years.
Why are larger businesses (more than 100 employees) not eligible for double the health and safety rebate that smaller businesses can receive in 2022 and 2023?
We know the pandemic has been particularly hard on smaller businesses. Providing additional benefits will help with their post-pandemic recovery while making their workplaces safer for their employees and customers.