6 Must-Know Facts If You Were Injured at Work in Ontario
First Steps for Injured Workers in Ontario
In recent years, a shocking 57,368 Ontario residents have been injured on the job.
Though in some industries discussing ailments might be stigmatized, particularly if your job is very physical and relies on your mobility, it is important to seek help.
If you are an employee injured at work in Ontario, don’t panic: you have a variety of help available to you.
Seek first aid immediately
As odd as it may sound — whether out of pride or fear of being fired — many workers fail to seek first aid.
Failing to seek first aid can lead to horrible complications, from infections to much worse.
Many workers around you might be qualified to provide first aid. Ask around when you can to see who of your coworkers are qualified, so if the time does come when you require assistance, you know who to ask.
If the injury is more serious and requires a hospital visit, speak to your employer immediately. Understand that it’s your employer’s responsibility to get you the first-aid care you need
At your appointment: assess your medical needs
At your appointment or at the hospital, ask your healthcare practitioner when you are receiving first aid care: “Do I require additional healthcare beyond first aid for my injury?”
You could be entitled to an array of healthcare benefits under your employer’s insurance plan.
If you are interested in accessing healthcare benefits, don’t delay: you only have 6 months to claim these benefits on your employer’s insurance plan.
If you are using your employer’s insurance, please note that OHIP may not cover certain healthcare costs that it might have otherwise, such as physiotherapy.
Your Options if You are an Employee Injured at Work in Ontario
File a claim
Perhaps due to the paperwork involved, some employers will not want you to file a worker’s compensation claim. Do not let them try to substitute sick pay for your compensation claim — it’s woefully insufficient compared to worker’s compensation.
If your healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead, promptly file a claim.
Do you need help with the forms, or need someone to talk you through the process? Support workers at Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) can help you with this.
If your claim is successful, you will receive months of recovery time and treatment, as well as a return-to-work plan and workplace protection.
Was your claim rejected?
If your worker’s compensation claim for an injury in Ontario was rejected, and you feel you have a case, you can file an appeal.
As with your first claim, ensure you file your claim promptly. Consider conferring with a lawyer to assess what might have gone wrong in your claim to have it rejected the first time.
Stay organized and keep a checklist of points when filing your claim for the second time.
What qualifies as being “at work” in terms of an injury?
This is a deceptively simple question. In fact, it is very possible for some injuries to qualify as “workplace injuries,” even when you aren’t onsite.
According to Ontario law, you’re ‘at work’ if you are performing a task for your employer (e.g. carrying a huge tray of scalding hot coffees back from Starbucks.) You are also eligible for worker’s compensation if your injury happens near the premises (for example, an icy parking lot.)
Damage to personal devices related to your injury
Some personal devices play an essential role in your body functioning at peak capacity, and can be damaged by your injury. For example, your dentures or prescription glasses, sunglasses, or contact lenses could be damaged as a result of your injury at work in Ontario.
Luckily, their repair could be covered in your claim. Ensure you present the WSIB with your prescription when submitting a request for their repair.
- Some conditions appear immediately as an injury, e.g. dropping a brick on your foot, and require need urgent care
- Other conditions develop slowly as a result of work, such as disabilities like carpal tunnel
- You have options: file a claim within six months of noticing the injury.
- There are also options for preventative care; many are free or covered by OHIP
If you fear that you may have sustained a long-term injury, it’s vital that you visit a specialist. A physiotherapist will help you diagnose potential long-term health effects of an injury — conditions that may impact your day-to-day life (walking, playing sports, or even sitting). Book your appointment sooner rather than later.
Returning to work
So over the six months following you injury, you received the healthcare and support you have required to recover and feel ready to return to work.
Ensuring all procedures have been followed correctly, your employer is legally required to reinstate you once you have healed. So long as you stay within the six-month window, the transition back to work should be smooth.
What if my employer fails to comply?
Sometimes, things go sour between employers and employees.
What if your employer fails to follow the treatment plan given in your claim? What if your employer fires you within your allotted recovery period?
Your employer must prove to the WSIB that the termination was not because of the injury or the compensation claim.
Don’t panic. You have many options available to you; know your rights.
Follow the procedure and know your rights
If you find yourself injured at work in Ontario, you should follow a procedure to ensure your health and employee rights are protected. Act immediately to get first aid, if required file right away for benefits, and firm up a plan for returning to work.
Here are further resources for learning about your rights as an employee in Ontario.
Whether at work or at home, there is never any reason to live with pain. Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our specialists.