A deemed employer of a volunteer force covered under Schedule 1 must select an amount of earnings to cover for the force for wage loss benefit calculations. The amount of earnings selected for coverage cannot be greater than the maximum average earnings set annually by the WSIB. The selected amount must be at least half the annual maximum average earnings. The amount selected applies to every member of that force.
Insurable earnings are calculated on an annual basis for the entire force. The force’s total annual insurable earnings are 10% of the total selected amounts for all members of the force. When calculating insurable earnings, the selected amount of earnings for each member is subject to the maximum for insurable earnings before calculating the total selected amount and applying the 10%.
A hospital may be the deemed employer of a volunteer ambulance brigade or service.
If a deemed employer has more than one type of volunteer force, the employer selects an annual amount of earnings to cover for each force.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for calculating and reporting the insurable earnings of volunteer forces.
The selected amount of earnings for coverage is the amount used to calculate a volunteer’s wage loss benefits when a work-related injury or disease occurs.
In this policy, volunteer force refers to:
- volunteer ambulance brigades
- volunteer ambulance services
- municipal volunteer fire brigades
- municipal volunteer firefighters
- first response teams, and
- auxiliary police forces.
A volunteer refers to an individual member of any of the above.
Full-time and part-time firefighters
The WSIB considers firefighters to be full-time or part-time with a municipality when they meet the following criteria:
- they are salaried workers of the municipality
- they are regularly employed as firefighters
- they must respond to all calls during their scheduled shift, and
- they may be organized under Part IX of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act,1997 (FPPA), which sets out the employment and labour relations regime for firefighters.
The WSIB considers firefighters to be volunteer firefighters when they meet the following criteria:
- they provide fire protection services either voluntarily or for a nominal consideration, honorarium, training or activity allowance
- they are not required to respond to every call (i.e., normally respond to emergency calls at their own discretion)
- they are excluded from the definition of "firefighter" under Part IX of the FPPA, and
- they may be represented by a bargaining agent certified under the Labour Relations Act, 1995.
Selected amount of earnings for coverage for volunteers
The selected amount of earnings covered and used for wage loss benefit calculations cannot be greater than the annual maximum average earnings. If the deemed employer does not specify a selected amount for its volunteers, the WSIB automatically extends insurance at the annual maximum average earnings.
The selected amount must be at least half the annual maximum average earnings.
If the deemed employer or the WSIB have set the amount at the maximum average earnings, the amount automatically changes if the annual maximum average earnings changes in future years.
Otherwise, the selected amount specified by the employer remains at that amount unless the employer requests to change the selected amount.
Changes to the selected amount
The deemed employer may change the selected amount for its volunteer forces at any time by notifying the WSIB in writing. For benefit purposes, the change is effective the date the written notice is received by the WSIB.
However, the WSIB uses the highest amount selected during the year to determine the insurable earnings for premium calculations, subject to the maximum for insurable earnings.
Reporting earnings for volunteer forces
The selected amount is also the amount used to calculate the deemed employer’s insurable earnings, subject to the maximum for insurable earnings. In years where the maximum insurable earnings and maximum average earnings are different:
- the reportable insurable earnings, and associated premium calculation, are subject to the maximum insurable earnings, not the maximum average earnings, and
- wage loss benefit calculations are subject to the maximum average earnings.
To calculate the annual insurable earnings for a volunteer force using the Volunteer Forces Schedule, the deemed employer:
- counts how many volunteers appeared on the force’s roster during the year regardless of the length of time served by each volunteer
- multiplies the total number of volunteers by the preprinted selected amount in effect for the force, subject to the maximum for insurable earnings, and
- reports 10% of the result as the annual insurable earnings of the force.
The resulting figure is the total annual insurable earnings for the force.
Multiple volunteer forces
The above guidelines apply to each type of volunteer force (fire, ambulance, auxiliary police) managed by a deemed employer. The employer may select a different amount of earnings coverage for each volunteer force.
On the Volunteer Forces Schedule, the employer calculates the insurable earnings for each force as described in “Reporting earnings for volunteer forces”. The employer then reports the total for all forces as the annual insurable earnings for the forces.
This policy applies to decisions made with respect to the calculation of premiums for volunteer forces for periods on or after January 1, 2021.
This document replaces 14-02-11 published June 1, 2006.
This document was previously published as:
14-02-11 dated January 3, 2006
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Sections 2(1), 54(1), 70, 78(1), (3), 88(3), 88.1
#6, April 19, 2021, Page 596