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Ontario proposing legislation to support injured workers

By CJ Goater Nov 8, 2023 | 2:05 PM

Minister David Piccini during a visit to Thunder Bay - Acadia Broadcasting File Photo

The Ontario government is set to introduce legislation that would, if passed, support injured workers by enabling “super indexing” which increases benefits from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board above the annual inflation rate.

The proposed “super-indexing” amendments to the Workplace Safety Insurance Act, 1997 would, if passed enable the Lieutenant Governor to make regulations setting out additional indexation increases to WSIB benefit payments and the maximum earnings cap and set out the dates on which they are to be imposed.

For an injured worker who earns $70,000 a year, a two per cent increase could mean an additional $900 annually on top of cost-of-living adjustments, which were 6.5 per cent in 2023.

The WSIB utilizes indexing to determine its benefits. It is the amount of the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Canada for all items, for the 12 months ending on October 31 of the previous year, as published by Statistics Canada.

“Super-indexing” would allow for increases above the change in the Consumer Price Index.

“Our government has heard loud and clear that injured workers need more support, which is why we’re taking action,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Whether it is an injured worker struggling to get by, a firefighter who served their community with distinction, or a young parent fighting a sudden diagnosis, we have your back.”

The government also intends to bring forward a regulation under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 that would, if approved, add poisonings by chlorine, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide to the list of presumed occupational diseases, making it easier and faster for workers in certain occupations to obtain compensation from the WSIB