Operational Policy Manual User Guide

User guide

The Operational Policy Manual (OPM) is the source of operational policy for the WSIB. It contains policies that the WSIB uses to make decisions about worker and employer rights and obligations, employer premiums, benefits and other related workplace safety and insurance matters.

The Operational Policy Branch develops benefits, revenue, and occupational disease policies for the OPM.

How the OPM is organized

Every policy in the manual has a unique six-digit number that is broken down into three categories: chapter, section, and subject. This six-digit number determines where the policy document is placed in the OPM.

Chapter – the first two digits represent the chapter, e.g., 12 – Coverage

Section – this subdivision of the chapter is characterized by the second set of two digits, e.g., 12-01 – Employer coverage

Subject – the last set of two digits represents the actual policy document, e.g., 12-01-01 – Who is an Employer?

Tables of Concordance

The Tables of Concordance for legislation match sections of one act with the corresponding sections of another act. The tables are located in the Appendix of the manual.

Document headings


This is the overall policy statement. It may contain paraphrased sections of the relevant legislation. 


A statement of the underlying principles that guide the policy. Sometimes used for new policies that reflect the WSIB’s strategic priorities, but is not included in all policies.


Outlines the intended goal(s) of the policy to give the reader insight into what will be contained in the document.


This section contains the high-level details for applying the policies. There will generally be a number of different subsections.

Application date

The legislative authority for most policies flows from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. These policies generally apply to claims with accident dates on or after January 1, 1998; however, some policies may apply to claims with accident dates prior to January 1, 1998, because of transitional provisions contained within the current legislation, or may apply to all claims regardless of accident date.

There are also policies that relate to the previous act, the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA).  For example, a policy may apply to pre-1990 claims, i.e., claims with an accident date before 1990, (WCA, R.S.O. 1980). Some policies may only apply to post-1990, but pre-1998 claims (WCA, R.S.O. 1990).  To make it easier to determine whether a policy applies, specific wording is used in the application date section. For instance, a policy may apply to decisions made on or after a certain date, and where appropriate, for claims occurring on or after a certain date. The application date is located in the header of the policy document for ease of reference as well as in the body of the policy document .

Published date

The published date refers to the date the policy document is published in the OPM. It is located in the header of the policy document as well as in the body of the document. The WSIB publishes new or revised policies as soon as possible after their effective date. In some instances, a policy may be posted in advance on the website before coming into effect.

Document history

This section provides a history of the publishing dates of prior versions of the policy document to aid in locating an applicable policy document. All previous publishing dates of that policy document number are listed. If the policy was previously published with a different document number, the most recent publishing date of the prior document number is also listed.

How to locate policies

Search WSIB website

To use the search feature in the top right corner of the website (the magnifying glass), type in a keyword, term, or subject, then press “enter”. You can search using single words, phrases, or document numbers with the hyphens included (e.g.18-01-05). The search results may be filtered to display only those documents contained in the OPM by selecting the Operational Policy Manual box.

Left navigation menu of OPM

The chapters of the manual are organized in the left navigation menu of the OPM. The chapter sections are displayed in the left navigation menu when the chapter is clicked on, and a table of contents listing the policies in each section is displayed in the centre of the webpage. To view a policy, click on the link – the policy content will display in the centre of the webpage. To return to the section’s table of contents, click the title of the section at the top of the policy. 

Cross references

For convenience, when other policies are referenced, they are hyperlinked. Simply click the link to display the referenced policy. To return to the original policy, click the Back button on your browser.


When you click on OPM Home in the left navigation menu, you are taken to the landing page for this manual. The landing page contains the most recent updates to the OPM with hyperlinks to the updated policies.


To print or save a policy, use the print function of your browser, or press Ctrl + P.