Canada: WSIB Policy Shift: Schedule 1 Employers Responsible for COVID-19 Claim Costs Effective 1 July 2022
Author: Hossein Moghtaderi
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) recently announced a policy shift concerning the financial impact of COVID-19 related claims on Schedule 1 employers. Effective July 1, 2022, the costs associated with COVID-19 related claims, as well as the corresponding claim count, will be applied in the calculation of premium rates. This change will apply to only claims with an accident date on or after July 1, 2022. The policy change likely results from the recent lifting of most pandemic-related public health restrictions and the increased risk of community infection.
In April 2020, as part of its COVID-19 relief package, the WSIB had announced that costs and counts for COVID-19 related claims would be allocated on a schedule-wide basis for Schedule 1 businesses and would not impact the calculation of rates for individual employers. This relief benefit will continue to apply to allowed claims with accident dates on or before June 30, 2022. Further, despite the recently announced policy change, all claims will continue to appear on a Schedule 1 employer’s accident cost statement and Workplace Injury Summary Reports for the purposes of claims management, transparency, and Canada Revenue Agency reporting.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Given the relatively fewer number of new daily cases and the significant reduction in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the WSIB’s policy change is unlikely to have a material impact on most employers. Nevertheless, employers should continue to screen their COVID-19 related claims to ensure that those filed with the WSIB are, in fact, work-related as, going forward, these claims will impact both the employer’s claim count and costs.