Return-to-work services roles: Information for people with injuries or illnesses and their employers

When we all actively work together, we can successfully plan for a safe and practical return to work. This involves listening to each other’s ideas and concerns, and finding solutions together.

Returning to work and other activities can help a person’s recovery from an injury or illness and reduce the chances of a longer-term absence from the workforce. The WSIB calls this the Better at Work principle, based on best practice research for return-to-work outcomes.

Return-to-work parties vary by workplace and can include the employee, employer, supervisor, occupational health department representative, Human Resources representative, union/employee representative (if applicable), and Joint Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety Representative.

Our return-to-work roles

Case Managers are responsible for the overall management of claims, including making WSIB entitlement decisions based on legislation and policy, and work closely with the employer and the person with an injury or illness. They help set realistic recovery and return-to-work goals, and provide advice and guidance as needed to help the person and employer create and implement an early and safe return-to-work plan.

In some cases, Case Managers may identify the need for a Return-to-Work Specialist to provide on-site support. 

Return-to-Work Specialists help to identify suitable work opportunities and develop plans to achieve a successful return to work. The services they provide include:

  • Facilitating in-person meetings at the workplace with the person with an injury or illness and the employer to develop a plan for returning to safe work. These discussions can include work modifications or accommodations, as needed.
  • Providing education on the rights and obligations of both the employer and person with an injury or illness.
  • Following up with the workplace parties once a return-to-work plan is in place, to address any issues that may arise.

If necessary, the Return-to-Work Specialist uses other tools and assessments to help the person return to work, including:

  • Arranging on-site assessments to confirm if there is a an available job that is suitable
  • Providing job coaching to help with the transition back to work
  • Assessing the person’s skills and abilities to help identify other return-to-work opportunities
  • Arranging external vocational testing to identify the person’s skills, abilities, aptitudes and interests to help identify alternate job opportunities with the employer
  • Arrange short-term skills training or training on the job so that the person can return to alternate work with the employer