WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – September 2010

WSIB Update

September 28, 2010 – An evening with David Marshall, New WSIB President

On Tuesday evening, in downtown Toronto, a small group of very dedicated WSIB professionals had the opportunity to hear David Marshall speak about the WSIB‟s unfunded liability. Mr Marshall is the new President and CEO of the WSIB (see our August Bulletin). Given the mess he has willingly stepped into, we should assume (or at least hope) that this gentleman loves a challenge, is a top-notch administrator, and has tremendous regard for OPM (other people’s money). Time will tell, but it is comforting to know that as a former Assistant Auditor General and Deputy Receiver General for Canada, he knows how to count and can read a balance sheet.

Mr Marshall started with a brief historical genuflection to 1915, the „historical compromise‟ and the founding Meredith principles. Then he began his talk about the 12 billion dollar unfunded liability by telling us that “the WSIB is a good sound system and we should nurture it, protect it, and improve it”. In asking the rhetorical question “how did we get into this position”, Mr Marshall‟s answer will disappoint many of the 230,000 registered employers in Ontario.

Here is what he said:

  • Premiums have not kept up with claim costs
  • Businesses have to pony up
  • “Businesses have run up a 12 billion dollar tab”
  • “In fact this is money owed by employers to injured workers”
  • “We should ask employers what have they done with the 12 billion dollars”

And how are we going to get out of this situation, he asked:

  • First, the unfunded liability will rise to 13-14 billion dollars in the next 3-4 years. It will take time to control, about 10-15 years (presumably this is different from the unfunded liability of the 1990s that they promised to pay down by 2014)
  • We will have another major consultation
  • There will have to be steady premium increases for the next 10-15 years
  • It is a shared responsibility to fix the problems within the compensation systemSome disturbing information:
  • There are 250,000 claims in the WSIB inventory that have a projected lifetime cost of 45 billion. We would need 23 billion in the bank today to meet the obligations of these 250,000 claims, or 45 billion in the future. [Well, if that‟s the case, then the unfunded liability currently sits at 23 billion, not 12 billion – that‟s what an unfunded liability is, the current shortfall to generate the future liabilities.]
  • Currently, Ontario has the highest premium rates in the country [According to the Association of Workers‟ Compensation Boards of Canada, Ontario is actually 4th on the list; but why be picky?]
  • Ontario also has the highest rate of Permanent Impairment injuries in the entire country.[Again, the AWCBC doesn‟t think so – and it must be understood that other provinces don’t regularly provide permanent awards for the hazards of aging, just the effects of injury.]“Our Goal”:
  • According to Mr. Marshall, it’s to “protect the benefits to injured workers”
  • To nurture, protect, and improve the WSIB system
  • How about creating a system that is fair, accountable, and financially responsible?[Cézanne’s goal]
    Questions from the Audience that deserved a standing ovation:Q . It appears the Board is having an identity crisis. Will this next set of consultations answer whether or not the WSIB wants to be an insurance agency, or a social service agency? (Thank you, Jason)A. …[dodged]Q. The WSIB appears to be on the verge of being sucked into a vortex of financial collapse. Are there any plans for a major re-thinking and re-structuring similar to Ontario Hydro that would break the WSIB up into manageable parts that are more in alignment with their original purpose? It would appear that all we are doing is re-arranging the deck chairs on the

Titanic. (What a fantastic question, Norm).

A. “cutting off parts, would be like re-arranging the deck chairs” [Can‟t you hear the chorus starting up? “It‟s a good sound system, we should nurture, protect, and improve it.”]

Q. Oh yes, and the eloquent and insightful chair of this meeting asked about the rumors regarding a 6- Year NEER Window, and the end of SIEF (Stephen).

A. Yes, a 6-year NEER window IS coming for sure. [The answer to the SIEF question was unclear; it appeared that the President and CEO did not really understand SIEF since he started talking about recurrences. And as SIEF is funded out of premium dollars, should we assume premium rates would decrease commensurately with eliminated SIEF? And if SIEF is on its way out, does that mean the Hamilton-based „No, you can‟t have any‟ desk will need to be transferred to the new “work reintegration” (formerly known as LMR, department)?]

One Ray of Hope:

There WILL be a Value for Money Audit to examine the “Adjudication Process”. However, my concern is that employers are so jaded and tired of consultations that go nowhere, they will not even lift their heads to participate in yet another round.

After hearing Mr Marshall‟s brief talk on Tuesday evening, I am quite certain that either he has a lot to learn about WSIB, or his speechwriters missed the boat (Carpathia).

Personally, I think there should be an absolute moratorium, both on premium increases and further “consultations” (how much do these things cost?) until WSIB offers employers some very substantial cost cutting and significant trimming within the system first. Perhaps they could start with

their bloated management level – of the nearly 5,000 employees at WSIB, only about 1,000 actually do the work of managing claims and benefits. And there are close to 300 of their staff earning in excess of $100K per year.


WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – January 2010

OHS Updates

1. Bill 118 in Ontario (Countering Distracted Driving) effective October 26, 2009 and prohibits the use of devices with display screens and hand-held cell phones to be used while driving. Texting or dialing at red lights is NOT permitted. Vehicles must be off the travelled part of the road and not in motion. Police start ticketing on February 1, 2010. New challenges to address in your policies relate to device users who continue to dial their cell phones and wireless hand held devices because the voice activation command prompts for dialing a call are not adequate. We recommend an update to your OHS policies and communication of these new policies to all employees who use company provided cell phones or BlackBerry devices.

Link: Bill 118, Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009

2. First Aid CPR Training: We offer a variety of First Aid CPR courses including our newly designed Workplace First Aid Training. This course prepares your dedicated first aiders by using training, scenarios and equipment customized to reflect your work environment. With a focus on scenarios, as well as the supplies, protocols and paperwork needed to handle emergencies most effectively, this course will prepare your company like no other. Course graduates receive 3-year Canadian Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED certification.

Link: contact Jordon at

3. Informative Due Diligence case R. v. Lonkar (2009) from the Court of Appeal in Alberta, (young worker disobeyed, fatality, and employer not liable). The basis of this appeal relates to the instructions, training and warning provided by the employer and it is instructive for all employers. This case is a must read for anyone interested in Due Diligence.

Link: R. v. Lonkar (2009) 


WSIB Updates

1. WSIB Alert: There are many changes occurring at the WSIB affecting employers in Ontario. Some of these are: the new Second Injury Enhancement Fund (SIEF) team in Hamilton, more reductions in the number of WSIB Investigators, the reported removal of all WSIB ergonomists and the WSIB’s review of Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certification Standards. Employers are urged to go to the WSIB website and read this consultation report and submit your comments by February 5, 2010. The WSIB is considering making the Part I JHSC Certification Training a minimum number of 3-5 days in length. This is certainly not appropriate or cost efficient for lower risk environments. Also, there are some rumblings that the Hamilton SIEF team appear to be inspired by the Morneau Sobeco Report. Employers and consultants have been receiving decisions where “minor” workplace accidents are being classified as “moderate” and consequently, the level of SIEF is being reduced in these claims to 25%. Employers are advised to remember that a “moderate” accident is not determined by the injury or outcome for the worker but by what would reasonably be expected from an accident of that nature. A moderate accident is EXPECTED to cause a disabling injury. If the outcome of the accident is enhanced by other factors relating to the worker’s health, this is not a basis to call the accident “moderate”. Contact us if you have received one of these decisions and would like some assistance

2. CAD-7 Alert: Try to never let your Lost Time Claims go longer than 7-days (ever). Otherwise the claim will count on your frequency index for the next two years. A frequency index of 2 claims in one year can put you in a surcharge position. Reminder: Favorable CAD-7 decisions that you receive in the current year (2010) will not show on your CAD-7 statement until the next year (2011). If a worker has a Repetitive Strain injury or Musculoskeletal injury, contact us at and we will help you prevent that claim from going over 7 days.

OHS Bill 168 Complimentary Checklist for Employers: In Ontario, this bill has received Royal Assent as of December 15, 2009 and becomes effective for employers in Ontario on June 15, 2010. Employers are now required to have a violence and harassment prevention policy posted and a training program in place. Click here to receive your copy.

Link: Violence & Harassment Prevention Policy Checklist


Get Involved & Make it Better!

1) Go on the WSIB Website and send your thoughts about JHSC Certification before February 5, 2010 2) Click on the CCOH site and send a letter to Stephen Harper about the export of Asbestos. I’ve even added the PM’s contact info here. All you have to do is cut and paste the CCOH letter and send it here! Thanks to the Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine website for bringing this to our attention.

February 2010 Bulletin: 

Complimentary Bill 168 Policy for Employers; IRS; Important Clause for Employment Policies: to prohibit employees from speaking about company, brand, or any employee on social networking sites; WSIB Appeals and Complimentary Seminars for Employers, other groups, firms or associations (on-site or in-house).


WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – August 2010

OHS Updates

Bill 168

See the links in last month’s newsletter for free training materials for your team. Have you completed your Violence Risk Assessment yet? Violence and Harassment Session with notes.  Workplace Violence and Harassment.

Keep up to date: Ministry of Labour legislation, operations and resources

Subscribe to What’s New, a monthly e-newsletter, to read the ministry’s latest news on workplace health and safety, employment standards and labour relations. Subscribe here at the Ministry of Labour site.

Inspection Blitzes Sept 15th – Nov 15th: Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

The Ministry of Labour is making Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) the focus of their inspection blitzes for the next few months. MSDs account for approximately 43% of all lost time claims and costs. Here is a handy checklist and toolkit from the Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario to assist you.

WSIB Updates

LMR Pendulum Swings Again

The LMR program will once again be brought in-house under the new “Work Reintegration Program” starting around August 2011. Certainly, the employer community is a tad skeptical  about these new changes. Its sort of like a sinking ship offering to take on more “water” from another sinking ship. More of the same certainly cannot fix the problem and neither can swinging like a pendulum back and forth every few years. Clearly it is time for major slashing and substantial and meaningful core changes at the WSIB.

What is the “Road to Zero” Paved with?

Unfunded Liability rose again in the first quarter of 2010 to $13,285 billion dollars. Enough said.

New WSIB President

“Former international banker, diplomat and senior Canadian government executive, David Marshall, will be the new President of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)”. He previously held “key federal government positions, including Assistant Auditor General and Deputy Receiver General for Canada. A certified general accountant, he has also held senior roles in the Toronto and New York banking sectors. Most recently, Marshall was Canada’s ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.”

Hopefully, Mr. Marshall has not been overly insulated from the real world of business by virtue of having spent so much time in the coffers of so many government posts?

First Aid CPR Courses – Fall 2010

Have Healthcare Professionals teach and customize your Standard First Aid, CPR or Automated External Defibrilator course to best suit your workers, work environment, and top hazards.

Standard First Aid CPR courses start at $90/person. Includes 3 year Canadian Red Cross Certification. Group rates available. Contact for reservations.

Research Opportunity

Reducing the Duration of Disabilities in the Construction Sector

Workplace injuries in the construction sector which result in lost time from work can have considerable financial repercussions for the employee, the employer, the health care system and the workers’ compensation system. There are two critical factors which appear to prolong the duration of disability in the construction sector. These are 1) a delay in obtaining medical assessments and treatment and 2) the lack of modified duties available in the construction sector.

Modified duties are crucial to minimizing lost time and reducing both the psychological and social impact of workplace injuries. Medical professionals, employers, injured workers and


the WSIB need to develop a readiness for active participation in recovery and for maintaining productivity through modified duties. Many clinical studies have validated the concept that timely medical treatment and return to work facilitates speedier recoveries and return to productivity. The longer the absence from work, the greater a permanent disability may be reinforced and even created.

Charlebois Associates in conjunction with a team of medical professionals and specialists in occupational health and safety are conducting research to obtain funding for a project which addresses both of these needs: 1) Rapid Medical Assessments and Treatment and 2) Modified Duties for the Construction sector.

We are looking for 1) Letters of support from Construction employers and also 2) Construction Employers who may be interested in participating in a pilot for this project. If you are interested please contact Cezanne Charlebois.

WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – July 2010

OHS Updates

Complimentary Breakfast Seminar: This Wednesday July 28

“Passing the Workwell Audit” Wednesday July 28th, 8-9am. Advanced registration is required. Contact us to inquire or sign up.

Have your Employees Watch these excellent videos on Violence Prevention

CSAO Violence and Harassment Session with notes.

Ministry of Labour Workplace Violence and Harassment

WSIB Updates

First Aid CPR Courses

Over the summer months we’re offering discounts on Canadian Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and Defibrillator training. Our trainers are certified Healthcare Professionals and they’ll customize your course to best suit your workers, work environment, and top hazards.

Standard First Aid CPR courses start at $90/person.

Contact us for pricing and registration information.


WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – June 2010

OHS Updates

1. Safety Audit and Workwell Service:

How does your Health and Safety Program stack up?

  • Do you have a health and safety policy? Have your employees been trained on this policy?
  • Do you set goals and objectives for Health and Safety, reviewed yearly by senior management?
  • Have your employees been trained to work safely, completed hazard assessment and issued standard operating procedures?
  • Do you have a formal disciplinary program?
  • Do you keep records of training for all employees?
  • Are managers and supervisors held accountable for health and safety?
  • Do you have a JHSC or worker safety representative who completes monthlyinspections, makes corrections are issues follow-ups?
  • Do you have a formal hazard reporting program?If you answered no to any of these questions, you are at risk of a Health and Safety Violation. We can help by providing a gap audit, formal management system or a workwell management system.Complimentary Breakfast Seminar: “Passing the Workwell Audit” Wednesday July 28th, 7-8am. Advanced registration is required. Contact us to inquire or sign up.

2. Bill 168 Reminder:

Just a reminder that Bill 168 is now in affect. Our May Bulletin covered the changes effective June 15th (complete bill found here) concerning violence and harassment prevention in the workplace as well as the responsibilities of employers. Contact us and have our lawyers help you to design, review or implement your violence assessment policy.

3. Young Workers Updates:

With the onset of summer comes an influx of young employees into the workplace. Workers under the age of 25 are significantly more likely to be injured and require special consideration in your company’s policy design.

One notable example is the Ministry of Labour issuing orders to employers requiring that they have made adequate provisions to accommodate the transportation needs of young workers after work. Be sure have available information on your workers transportation arrangements if they’re working afternoons, midnights and take into account your city’s public transit system.

WSIB Flyer for young workers: 7 Things You’d Better Know! (link)

4. Heat Related Illness:

Section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that employers take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. This includes developing policies and procedures to protect workers in hot environments due to hot processes or hot weather.

Important facts to remember:

  • Factors affecting a worker’s ability to adapt to temperature: Dehydration, general health, age, body weight, fitness, alcohol consumption, caffeine intake, use of prescription medications and a history of heat-related-illness.
  • The average worker requires 4-14 days to acclimatize to hot weather.
  • Early signs include: headache, muscle cramps and fatigue.
  • Serious symptoms include: Unusual behaviour, nausea, vomiting, weakness, rapidpulse, excessive sweating or hot, dry skin, seizures and loss of consciousness.
  • Heat stress can exacerbate underlying medical conditions.In workplaces where heat is a factor, employees must be trained to prevent heat-related illness and recognize heat hazards. Management and employees must work together to ensure adequate hydration is available in the workplace.

We recommend reviewing the Construction Safety Association of Ontario’s manual on heat stress found here.

WSIB Updates

1. First Aid CPR Sale:

With new employees, warmer weather and earthquakes adding to the list of workplace hazards, learning to prevent emergencies and respond with skill and confidence is a necessity for all of us.

Over the summer months we’re offering Canadian Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and Defibrillator training at a discount to all of our contacts. Our trainers are certified Healthcare Professionals and they’ll customize your course to best suit your workers, work environment, and top hazards.

Don’t hesistate to contact us for pricing and registration information.

2. Complimentary Form 7 Review

Fax or email your Form 7 to our team and we will review the wording to ensure that you obtain the best decisions for your company and to protect your future interests in the event of an appeal at a later date.

WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – May 2010

OHS Updates

1. Administrative Monetary Penalties: Next Thursday May 20 @ 6 -9 pm

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is considering the use of Administrative Monetary Penalties (“AMP’s”) as a method of improving prevention and enforcement activities. You are invited to come and hear Justice Todd Archibald speak about AMP’s and how these can affect employers. “Administrative monetary penalties (“AMP’s”) are, by definition, an oxymoron. The penalties resemble criminal fines, but the administrative structure lacks many of the features of an adversary system associated with penalites. Typically the regulator imposes a monetary penalty, which is then only subject to administrative review”. USA style AMP’s are slowly moving into Canada and can have a tremendous financial impact on employers. AMP’s provide regulators with the ability to issue huge fines without having to prove the violation. Some of the other problems identified with AMP’s are the lack of Charter protection under s.11 (right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty); the sheer magnitude of the penalties (eg. $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations); and the lack of a clear line between AMP’s and offences. After learning more about AMP’s we encourage you to go online and participate in the consultation process by June 30, 2010. You will find the question relating to AMP’s under the the very interesting heading “Efforts to Improve Collaboration and Integration”.

Link: Consultation Report Due June 30, 2010

Justice Todd Archibald is one of the three authors of the essential desk reference called “Regulatory and Corporate Liability: From Due Diligence to Risk Management“. This text will be on sale and is recommended for in-house legal counsel, health and safety managers, risk managers and owners. Justice Todd Archibald will be speaking at Chaucer’s in London. There is no charge for admission and advance registration is required.

Link: Contact Beth Ann Kendrick to register or Contact Cézanne for more information.

2. Bill 168 MOL Tool Kit for Employers:

On May 3, 2010 the Ministry of Labour published an excellent tool kit to assist employers with their upcoming obligations on June 15, 2010.

Link: MOL Toolkit for Employers

WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – April 2010

OHS Updates

1. Do Something for Your Team this Wednesday: National Day of Mourning / Workers’ Memorial Day April 28, 2010…

is next Wednesday. Did you know that this day was started in Canada by CUPE in 1984. In 1985 the Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance on April 28 which was the day the Workmen’s Compensation Board was created in 1914. This day is now celebrated throughout the world. It is a day to honour the men and woman who have suffered a job-related injury, illness or death. You can invite a group of your employees to attend a local event in your community or have an informal pizza party at work and have a discussion about Health and Safety.

Link: Ontario Wide Events Listed by the Workers Health and Safety Centre

2. Earth Day April 22, 2010 (Earth Week)

To celebrate Earth Day / Earth Week how about supporting the Sierra Club of Canada in a campaign against Asbestos or join Planet Green which is an excellent on-line resource for home and work. Make sure that your used computers and electronic devices are being re-cycled safely. Taking care of Planet Earth is Health and Safety on a Global scale.

Link: Sierra Club’s Campaign Against Asbestos
Link: Planet Green
Link: What are we doing with our e-waste? (click on Play CBS Video)

3. NAOSH Week:

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week takes place May 2-8. This is a good opportunity for employers to post information and get involved helping to keep the Internal Responsibility System visible in the workplace. Become a NAOSH week supporter or champion at Link:

Link: NAOSH Week Checklist for Employer

4. Safer Workplaces: Get Inspired by the ONA and celebrate their Safety Successes!

Five years of hard work, teamwork, collaboration and unrelenting persistence have paid off. The ONA was instrumental in getting safety engineered needles mandated and N-95 Respirators in all hospitals in Ontario. The “precautionary” principle should be used by all of us.

Link: ONA Celebrates Safety

5. Partners In Prevention: Occupational Health and Safety Conference and Trade Show

Link: May 4 and 5th in Toronto

6. Mental Health in the Workplace:

A valued recommendation from Lisa at CMHA in Windsor. She recommends a new resource called “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowen. Mr. Bowen looks at the damaging effects of “complaining” as the opposite of healthy communication and a way to avoid responsibility. Check this out at

Attend a Complimentary Breakfast Seminar THIS Wednesday on Bill 168 in London:

1. Complimentary Breakfast Seminar: Wednesday April 28, 2010 (8am-10am) Topic of Seminar: Bill 168 Employer Obligations. Get help with developing your assessment tool and program. Advanced Registration is required.
Link: More Information

2. Save the Date: The “Annual Todd Lecture”: Thursday May 20, 2010 (6-9pm), Chaucers in London (Presented by the South Western Ontario Labour Lawyers Association). Justice Todd Archibald will be the keynote speaker and the Honourable Senior Regional Justice Edward Ducharme will introduce Justice Archibald. The excellent text “Regulatory and Corporate Liability: From Due Diligence to Risk Management” will be on sale and is highly recommended for owners, the C-suite and OHS/WSIB management teams in virtually every organization.


WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – April 2010

OHS Updates

1. MOL Guidelines for Bill 168 have now been published. This rather lengthy document (50 pages) assists employers in complying with their obligations under Bill 168 by June 15, 2010.

a) Employers with multiple locations must specifically consider the unique features of each individual location (geographic location, different customer / client base, different building features such as entrance and exits, circumstances specific to each location, remoteness) when conducting a violence assessment. You can use one assessment established by corporate head office to address the common risks, but a portion of the assessment must consider risks unique to each individual location.

b) Employers are legally required to conduct an assessment for workplace violence but not harassment or domestic violence. However employers are still legally obligated to address risks in both of these areas in terms of the workplace program.

c) Employers should understand and acknowledge in their policy and assessments that inappropriate behaviour occurs on a continuum. Workplace harassment MAY escalate over time into threats or acts of physical violence and targeted victims of harassment MAY react violently.

d) The guidelines give employers the option to choose if they want one or two policies (i.e. two separate policies or both violence and harassment combined into one policy). Either way, they must be posted in a conspicuous place if 6 or more workers are regularly employed.

e) Conditions triggering a re-assessment < 1 year are listed on page 10 (eg. workplace moves to a different location, significant change in type of work, new information on the risks of workplace violence).

f) The workplace program, policy and assessment can be adopted from another precedent but must be tailored to fit your individual workplace. This should be a separate category on the assessment to show that you have considered the unique features of each individual location.

g) Even if no risks are found for workplace violence, the employer still needs a workplace violence program which provides measures and procedures for 1) calling immediate assistance 2) reporting incidents or complaints and 3) investigating and addressing incidents and complaints if they do occur.

h) Disclosing Information about a person with a history of violence: Employers are reminded that this is not a broad duty, but very limited. It only applies when a worker can be expected to encounter the violent person in the course of his or her work AND the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical violence. The guideline gives an example of a waitress or construction worker who should be told if there is a person (presumably member of the public or customer) with a history of hitting workers at the workplace and what the triggers are for that person’s violent behaviour.

i) Domestic Violence: If the employer becomes aware or ought to be aware that there is a risk of domestic violence entering the workplace they are required to take protective measures which might include developing an individual safety plan for the targeted worker. Although the targeted worker should be consulted when creating the safety plan, employers should remember that occasionally, the targeted worker will not fully acknowledge or recognize the potential risks and may even create barriers or resistance to an individual safety plan. Even if the targeted worker does not want any involvement by the employer, this DOES NOT diminish or in any way reduce the employers’ legal obligation. Each case must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

j) Alleged or confirmed incidents of harassment do not trigger the “work refusal” provisions or obligations by the employer to provide written notice to the MOL.

Link: MOL Workplace Violence & Harassment Understanding the Law

2. NAOSH Week: North American Occupational Safety and Health Week takes place May 2-8. This is a good opportunity for employers to post information and get involved helping to keep the Internal Responsibility System visible in the workplace. Become a NAOSH week supporter or champion at Link:

Link: NAOSH Week Checklist for Employer

WSIB Updates

The WSIB has posted the Enhanced Appeal System Practices and Procedures Document: For those employers who actively participate in their own WSIB Appeals, the WSIB is inviting your input on recommended changes by April 29, 2010. The proposed changes include a requirement for ARO’s to issue decisions within 45 days. If they anticipate that they will not be able to meet that deadline, then they will be required to provide a date by which the decision can be expected. I cannot help but to wonder if there are plans to hire more ARO’s? It’s like squeezing out more quality decisions out of the impossibly overburdened Case Managers – it can’t be done.

Link: WSIB Appeal System Consultation

Complimentary Breakfast Seminar and the Annual Todd Lecture in London:

1. Complimentary Breakfast Seminar: Wednesday April 28, 2010 (8am-10am) Topic of Seminar: Bill 168 Employer Obligations. Get help with developing your assessment tool and program. Advanced Registration is required.
Link: More Information

2. The “Annual Todd Lecture”: Thursday May 20, 2010 (6-9pm), Chaucers in London (Presented by the South Western Ontario Labour Lawyers Association). Justice Todd Archibald will be the keynote speaker and the Honourable Senior Regional Justice Edward Ducharme will introduce Justice Archibald. The excellent text “Regulatory and Corporate Liability: From Due Diligence to Risk Management” will be on sale and is highly recommended for owners, the C-suite and OHS/WSIB management teams in virtually every organization.

WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – February 2010

OHS Updates

1. Occupational Exposure Limit in Ontario for 36 hazardous chemical substances such as polyvinyl chloride and ethanol. Employers may want to ensure that they are in compliance with these new limits by July 1, 2010.
Link: New OEL Exposure Limits

2. Violence & Harassment Prevention Policy (Ontario) effective June 15, 2010: After conducting a risk / hazard assessment that is relevant to your workplace you will be required to develop and post a policy and program to address these risks in exactly the same manner that you would with any other identified potential hazards. Employers should also become familiar with the signs of domestic violence which are most often not obvious. Victims will very rarely come forward with these private matters. There are many excellent organizations in the community from which you can obtain free information to inform your staff about domestic violence. It is important to note that domestic violence does not require actual physical violence. It is domestic violence if the relationship is characterized by power, control and intimidation. We have attached a draft policy for your convenience as a starting place for creating your own policy. We have left it in a Word Document format to save you time and allow you to modify according to the needs and risks of your workplace. Please feel free to contact us for assistance if you need it.

Link: Draft Violence & Harassment Prevention Policy

3. Internal Responsibility System (IRS) is the foundation of all OHS laws in Canada, but only specifically mentioned in the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Nova Scotia. In order for the IRS to truly become a “system” employers must first learn to use it as a tool, and then over time, it becomes integrated as a core value. Developing a strong IRS is an exceptionally effective method for reducing risks while improving productivity and the financial success of your organization. It also reduces the need for the External Responsibility System and reduces the number of injuries and accidents in the workplace. All of these increase profitability in the organization. Contact us if you want your team of managers and supervisors to get on the road to getting past compliance towards creating a business advantage through the IRS.

WSIB Updates

1. WSIB Teams: We now know about the new SIEF team in Hamilton and the Recurrence Team (in T.O. and rumoured to also be in Ottawa) who also deal with work disruptions and layoff situations. There is now new Appeal Implementation Teams scattered throughout the Province. This means that you could win an Appeal in London and yet a Case Manager in Sudbury could be implementing your decision by collecting all the necessary information and performing the calculations. It is almost paradoxical that the 2009 Stakeholder Consultations Report mentioned below speaks of “a great deal of misinformation among stakeholders” over the very programs and initiatives being funded at the WSIB when stakeholders were given almost no information about all of these new initiatives.

2. Report on Stakeholder Consultations: Has just been released. Not surprisingly Mr. Mahoney found no “silver bullets” to address the $11 billion dollar unfunded liability or the problems which haunt the WSIB. He did say that he was “encouraged to hear that the Meredith Principles remain strong”. Really? The “no fault” system appears to be slipping into a fault based system (eg. Fatality Claims, new SIEF teams mandate, CAD-7 Experience Rating), and collective employer liability by no stretch of the imagination ensures certainty of payments for injured workers or prevents potential bankruptcy for employers. It is also surprising that there was no mention in this report that stakeholders are frustrated with how long Prevention Services is taking to deliver timely and effective services. And apparently stakeholders did not mention the lack of “accountability” for decision making as a driver of success or failure within the organization. Are there truly any consequences when a Case Manager stubbornly holds onto his or her decision without regard for the evidence and this causes a profound impact on the sustainability of a company or the life of a worker? That kind of decision-making seriously undermines the financial accountability and value-added system that the WSIB is trying to achieve. And we also see in this report that the new SIEF team was “immediately installed as an administrative solution” in part, to address labour’s complaint that SIEF is not meeting its original goal and should be either modified or eliminated. Employer stakeholders argued that SIEF is a fairness issue and important component of experience rating. Apparently this new SIEF pilot project is intended to last for 3 very long years (and many Appeals). Finally, it is crystal clear that the financial base (employer’s premiums) is not keeping pace with the added responsibilities of the WSIB. So why must the WSIB cast such a wide net? OK, this rant is done (for now).

Link: 2009 Chair’s Consultation Report

3. WSIB Appeals: WSIB costs and surcharges are not like death and taxes. While it may seem that way, they are far from fixed, final and impossible to challenge. Employers should at least try to make the system that they fund accountable. There is always something that can be done to reduce your current WSIB costs while reducing your long term costs through prevention efforts. The Appeal process is essential for trying to obtain fair, objective, well-reasoned evidence based decisions. Your participation in the Appeals system lets both your employees and the WSIB know that you WILL hold them accountable. You certainly will not always win, but you will contribute to improving the system by making them reconsider their decisions. And you will feel better for not going down without a fight. Remember, it is only injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment that you should be paying for. If the accident/injury occurs at the workplace there is a presumption in law which says that it is presumed to have occurred in the course of employment “unless the contrary is shown”. Many times, the contrary can be shown! This is why we encourage employers to use THEIR Appeal system. You should not be paying for the entire life histories of your employees, the aging process, the personalities, the psychological histories and the stresses that they have in their lives. Nor should you be paying for the vast array of non-compensable health conditions that come from lifestyles and genetics. All of these can appear to look like they have occurred in the course of employment and may simply be rubber stamped as “entitlement allowed” under the NSDM. Sending in an Objection Letter does not mean that you HAVE to go to Appeals, it just keeps the door open for you. So go for it. If you would like a sample Objection Letter contact us.

4. OHS Employment Law Assistance: With new obligations for employers in preventing violence and harassment in the workplace, it may be helpful to remind employees of their on-line obligations. This protects them and you. We have attached a draft sample clause that you may want to use in creating your own. You can add this to your Email Use Policy, your Internet Use Policy or your Employee Handbook.

Link: Prohibiting Damaging “Content” on Social Networking Sites

Complimentary Breakfast Seminar and the Annual Todd Lecture in London:

1. Complimentary Breakfast Seminar: Wednesday March 31, 2010 (8am-10am)
Effective WSIB Cost Cutting & Disability Management: Unlocking the Secrets to Success. Link: More Information

2. The “Annual Todd Lecture”: Thursday May 20, 2010 (6-9pm) Chaucers in London (Presented by the South Western Ontario Labour Lawyers Association) Justice Todd Archibald will be the keynote speaker and the Honourable Senior Regional Justice Edward Ducharme will introduce Justice Archibald. The excellent text “Regulatory and Corporate Liability: From Due Diligence to Risk Management” will be on sale and is highly recommended for owners, the C-suite, OHS Management and WSIB Management teams in virtually every organization.

WSIB and OHS for Employers in Ontario – February 2010

WSIB Updates

1. SIEF Team Hamilton: Employers are not, and should not ever, be responsible for the entire health history and lifestyles of their employees.  They are only responsible for those injuries which arise out of and in the course of employment. In Board Policy Document 14-05-03, if a prior disability or condition caused, contributed to or prolonged a compensable injury, then all or part of the costs for that injury should be transferred from the accident employer in Schedule 1 to the SIEF. This includes both physical and psychological conditions. Employers requesting a review for SIEF are now receiving letters which could almost come across as threatening. The letters warn employers that not only can WSIB reduce the SIEF that you may have already been granted, but they can take it away all together. So are you really sure you want us to look at your file? This is quite a disappointing way to communicate with the people who fund the entire system and even pay the wages of the people who are writing these letters. We think that they must have forgotten that an allowance for the anticipated use of SIEF cost relief is already built into the calculations of premium rates. Employers are not asking for “freebies” but they have in fact already put their money into the SIEF fund through their premiums. Furthermore, to make such threats to employers who are simply making requests to have their files reviewed for possible access to their own funds, seriously undermines a fair administrative justice system. It would be like saying to Case Managers “if you make the wrong decision and it is overturned at appeals, we could take back a portion of your wages, or all of your wages for that matter, so are you really sure you want to make this decision?” We have faith that the authorization of these letters was just a little thoughtless oversight. Contact us if you would like help with getting the SIEF that you deserve:


2 . CAD-7: The WSIB is inviting input on the Mandatory Coverage for the Construction Industry which will be implemented in 2012. This is a tremendous opportunity for input by the construction sector to get involved and have their say on these crucial new policies.

Link: Consultation Begins – Submissions until March 31, 2010


Effective WSIB Cost Cutting & Disability Management: Unlocking the Secrets to Success
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 (8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m), Hampton Inn, 860 Exeter Road London, On


Cézanne Charlebois B.A., M.A., LL.B Charlebois Associates
Joel Rabideau, Manager, Corporate Health and Safety Business Integration, GAP Inc. Seating is Limited, Advance Registration is Required.