Work Transition Plans

Policy

The Work Transition (WT) plan outlines the assistance and services a worker requires to enable a return to work with the injury employer in the identified suitable and available work or, if required, to re-enter the labour market in the identified suitable occupation (SO).

Generally, a worker is offered one plan which will generally not exceed 3 years in duration.

Guidelines

This document should be read in conjunction with 19-02-01, Work Reintegration Principles, Concepts and Definitions.

Plan development

The WSIB determines if a WT plan is required based on the following

  • information about the worker including medical, functional and vocational
  • information received from the workplace parties or third party providers through assessment reports
  • discussions between the WSIB and the workplace parties regarding SOs available with the injury employer, and
  • SO information relating to the local and broader labour market.

The WSIB develops the WT plan in partnership with the worker, injury employer, (where appropriate) as well as union representatives, other authorized representatives and the treating health professional as necessary. The WT plan outlines activities designed to optimize the worker’s current skills or provide the worker with new skills to prepare the worker for employment in a SO.

Worker input and choice

The worker is encouraged to provide input and supporting research in identifying a SO and any suggested plan activities. The worker will be provided with choices regarding specific education/training providers and programs.

When a WT plan is not provided

The purpose of the WT plan is to assist the worker to obtain the skills needed to overcome a work-related permanent impairment and return to a SO.  The WSIB does not offer a WT plan if it would not reasonably increase the worker’s prospects for employment in a SO.

Plan amendments

WT plans may be adjusted to accommodate a significant change in circumstances related to the worker, the work-related impairment, or the labour market.  If necessary, the WSIB may revise the original SO. 

Duration

The duration of WT plans will vary depending on the nature of the plan established.  The WT plan duration is determined by the WSIB, following input and discussion with the workplace parties (worker and injury employer, when participating), as well as union representatives, and other authorized representatives, in advance of the commencement of the plan.

Signatures

To demonstrate commitment and agreement to the WT plan, the initial WT plan must be signed by the worker, the WSIB, and the injury employer (when participating).

WT plan services

A variety of plan activities may be utilized alone or in combination. Choices are made based on the circumstances of the worker, including a worker’s transferable skills, aptitudes, interests, learning preferences, and the SO identified.

English as a second language (ESL) training

ESL services improve a worker's ability to communicate in English. The WSIB only considers including this service in a WT plan when the worker's English communication skills are a barrier in achieving a WR in the identified SO. ESL may be offered for a period of up to one year.

Literacy and basic skills

Literacy and basic skills are a form of academic upgrading tailored to workers whose essential reading, writing, math, or basic work skills are below a Grade 9 level. These services may be offered for a period of up to one year and are generally followed by short-term vocational training.

Academic upgrading

Academic upgrading services are designed to help workers who do not have a high school diploma, but whose skills are above the Grade 9 level, prepare for college or a technical program. However, in some cases, the WSIB considers offering this service in a WT plan if a specific educational level in itself qualifies the worker for employment in the identified SO. Academic upgrading services may be offered for a period of up to one year.

Vocational skills training

Vocational skills training services improve existing job skills and/or teach new skills (includes apprenticeships, trades, technical, or academic programs). Vocational skills training is conducted by either a Community College or a Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) registered private career college. The training received from such providers ensures that workers have current, marketable skills and valid credentials to return to work in the identified SO.

This service may be included in a WT plan if the WT assessment demonstrates that a worker has the aptitude and ability to complete the program and such training is required to enable a WR in the identified SO.

Generally a college program would not exceed 2 years in length, and is subject to the total 3 year plan length if provided in combination with other services. Workers attending colleges that have career counseling and work placement services are expected to use these services during and after the program.

Generally, the maximum spending for private career colleges is $10,000 in total. The WSIB recognizes that some programs, such as truck driving, are above the maximum and may make exception to fund such programs to enable a transition to work in the identified SO.

Training on the job (TOJ)

A TOJ program consists of hands-on training undertaken at an employer’s work site where workers learn and acquire new skills specific to their identified SO. The WSIB arranges the TOJ and a training plan for the worker which includes measurable goals/milestones. TOJs are set up with the intention of leading directly to suitable and long term work. This service is suitable for workers who are experiential learners and who do not require an extensive or technical training program to enable a WR in the identified SO.

A TOJ program will generally run for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks.

Job search training (JST)

JST programs provide a worker with basic job search skills to seek out job vacancies, identify employment opportunities, and apply for jobs.

JST programs are generally offered for up to 2 weeks.

Employment placement services

A worker who has the necessary skills for employability in the identified SO may be offered employment placement services.  

Workers are expected to actively participate in job search activities during the placement services. Employment placement services are generally offered for a period of up to 10 weeks.

Work trial

In some cases it may be helpful to assess the suitability of a job through a work trial. A work trial enables the worker and employer to evaluate job fit prior to hire. The WSIB will pay the worker full loss of earnings benefits during the work trial.  Work trials are generally offered for a period of up to 4 weeks.

WT plan interruption

The WSIB will consider reasonable and justifiable absences from the plan, provided it does not jeopardize successful completion of the plan.

WT plan closure

A WT plan is closed and the worker’s benefits are adjusted accordingly when the worker

  • successfully completes the WT plan or returns to work, or

  • fails to participate in the development of the WT plan or the completion of WT plan activities, or 

  • is unable or unavailable to complete the WT plan because of change in circumstances unrelated to the work injury/disease, or

  • has retired or has voluntarily withdrawn from the work force, or

  • has received extensive WT services and the provision of further services would not likely lead to successful WR.

Option for workers 55 and older

A worker who is 55 years of age or older when the WSIB determines he/she is entitled to LOE benefits, and who requires a WT plan consisting of vocational skills training (as defined above) to achieve employment in a SO has two options

  • participating in a WT plan aimed at achieving the SO, or
  • choosing a 12 month Transition Plan (TP) focused on self-directed WR to achieve the SO.

The self-directed TP option is chosen in conjunction with the irrevocable no review option for LOE benefits payable to age 65.  After the worker signs the irrevocable election, full LOE benefits will continue for the 12 month period of the self-directed TP.

At the end of 12 months, LOE benefits will be recalculated based on the estimated earnings of the identified SO as reflected in current labour market information.

Intervening conditions

If new post-injury non-work-related conditions, impairments/disabilities (e.g., including non-physical disabilities such as a learning disability) arise or are aggravated while a worker is participating in a WT plan, the WSIB attempts to facilitate the worker’s successful completion of the plan through accommodation.  A WT re-assessment may be required to help determine whether a revised plan or new SO is required. For more information, see 15-06-08, Adjusting Benefits Due to Post-accident, Non-work-related Change in Circumstances.

Coverage while participating in a WT plan

The WSIB extends coverage under the existing claim if a worker sustains a new injury while participating in the following plan activities

  • in training at a training institution/facility, trade school, or workplace (covered or not covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act) that is part of the WT plan, or
  • in an education/academic service (including public community and private institutions) that is part of the WT plan, or
  • travelling that is required during the course of participating in WT activities, and is directed by the training institution/facility, trade school, workplace (including training on the job), or education/academic service.

The WSIB does not provide coverage to a worker while commuting to the location of a training institution/facility, trade school, workplace (including training on the job), or education/academic service where WT activities will occur.

On an extenuating basis, the WSIB may extend coverage under the existing claim if a worker sustains a new injury while travelling at the specific direction of the WSIB for the purpose of the WT plan if the work-related impairment dictates the means of travel and the worker takes the specified pre-arranged means of travel. 

Costs

The WSIB pays the appropriate expenses related to a WT plan. For more information, see 19-03-06, Work Transition Expenses.

Application date

This policy applies to decisions related to WT plans made on or after December 1, 2012.

Policy review schedule

This policy will be reviewed within five years of the application date.

Document History

This document replaces 19-03-05 dated July 15, 2011.

This document was previously published as:
19-03-05 dated December 1, 2010
19-03-05 dated October 3, 2007 and 19-03-04 dated February 18, 2009.

References

Legislative Authority

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Section 42

Minute

Administrative
#3, October 23, 2012, Page 495