Return-to-Work Assessments for Surviving Spouses


If a surviving spouse requests one, the WSIB provides a return-to-work (RTW) assessment. The request must be made within one year of the worker's death.


The purpose of this policy is to set out when the WSIB will provide a surviving spouse with a RTW assessment.


The WSIB provides a RTW assessment to:

  • identify a suitable occupation (SO) for the surviving spouse, and
  • determine whether a RTW plan is required to enable entry or re-entry into the labour market in the SO, see 19-02-10, RTW Assessments and Plans.

When providing RTW assessments, the WSIB has regard for surviving spouses' rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Surviving spouses are entitled to equal treatment, without discrimination, with respect to services, goods and facilities.

Only the person who meets the definition of "spouse" at the time of the worker's death is entitled to RTW assistance. Separated spouses are not, see 20-01-02, Definitions and Application Dates.

Request within one year

A spouse must request a RTW assessment within one year of either the worker's death or the date entitlement is accepted in the claim, whichever is later.

If a spouse is not able to participate in an assessment at the time of the request, the WSIB may defer the assessment until the spouse is able to participate.

RTW assessments

RTW assessments may be conducted by the decision-maker, or, if appropriate, by an external agency.

To identify a SO and determine whether the spouse requires a RTW plan, the WSIB considers the spouse's:

  • employment history
  • transferable skills
  • functional abilities, and
  • aptitudes.

Evaluation tools used to gather information may include, but are not limited to:

  • psycho-vocational evaluations
  • vocational/transferable skills assessments
  • functional abilities evaluations
  • controlled environment assessments, and
  • work assessments.

Entitlement to a RTW plan

A surviving spouse is provided with a RTW plan if, based on the RTW assessment, the WSIB determines that a plan will enable the spouse to enter or re-enter the labour market, see 20-02-04, Return-to-Work Plans for Surviving Spouses.

Co-operating in the RTW assessment

A surviving spouse must co-operate with all aspects of a RTW assessment, or the assessment may be discontinued.

Application date

This policy applies if the injury or disease that resulted in the worker's death occurred on or after March 1, 2021.

Document history

This document replaces 20-02-03 dated February 15, 2013.

This document was previously published as:
20-02-03 dated October 3, 2007
20-02-03 dated October 12, 2004
20-02-03 dated June 15, 1999
13.4 dated January 1, 1998.


Legislative authority

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Sections 2(1), 42, 48(9), (10)


#49, March 24, 2021, Page 591