Coverage for Ontario Works Participants


Individuals placed with employers as training participants for the Ontario Works Program are considered learners under the Act.

For workplace safety and insurance purposes, the employer of Ontario Works training participants is the employer with whom they are placed. However, if a placement-related injury occurs, all accident costs are paid by the Ontario government.

This policy applies regardless of whether the individuals placed are receiving wages from the placement employer.


Both unpaid and paid trainees under the Ontario Works Program are entitled to WSIB insurance coverage if the placement host (or the elected employer) has either compulsory coverage or coverage by application with the WSIB.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) funds the WSIB insurance costs directly for Ontario Works' training participant programs, but not for Ontario Works' other programs. This means that, for most but not all programs, the placement host employer does not pay WSIB premiums and is not responsible for any claims costs for paid or unpaid trainees in the Ontario Works Program. The placement host is advised to contact the Ontario Works Program to verify who will be responsible for providing WSIB insurance.

Workplace safety and insurance coverage applies to an Ontario Works participant only for the period of the placement with an employer.

Income sources

Ontario Works participants on placement may be receiving

  • only social assistance benefits from MCSS
  • only wages from the placement employer, or
  • both social assistance benefits from MCSS and wages from the placement employer.

Who submits the accident report form?

If a participant is injured, the accident report is submitted to the WSIB by the placement employer (see 15-01-02, Employers' Initial Accident-Reporting Obligations).

Average earnings

The average earnings of an Ontario Works participant, for the purpose of calculating loss of earnings benefits, are determined in accordance with Ontario Regulation 175/98 under the Act.

For more information see 18-02-08, Determining Average Earnings - Exceptional Cases.

Application date

This policy applies to all decisions made on or after December 1, 2002.

Document History

This document replaces 12-04-06 dated December 1, 2002.


Legislative Authority

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Sections 2(1), 21, 53(4), 69

O. Reg 175/98
Section 16(4) - (7)


#2, July 2, 2004, Page 387