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Province studying boost to injured worker compensation

WSIB payout could increase to 90 per cent of take-home pay

Workers who are injured or become ill on the job may soon see a boost to their compensation benefits.

The province has announced it’s considering increasing the benefits to eligible workers to 90 per cent of their pre-injury take-home pay, up from the current 85 per cent.

For an injured worker who earns $60,000 a year, this increase could mean an additional $2,315 per year, the province noted.

The province's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) is responsible for adminsitering worker compensation.

Monte McNaughton, Ontario's labour minister, made the announcement in an April 20 news release.

“Under our government, the WSIB has been brought to its strongest financial position in history," McNaughton said in the release.

“Exploring an increase in compensation of up to 90 per cent is just one of a series of historic steps we are taking to support injured workers in our province, as we continue to drive change at the Board to ensure it is working for workers and employers."

The province believes raising the amount of worker benefits would “direct more money to injured workers and families, while minimizing the impact on the board’s financial health and employers’ premium rates.”

The option is currently being explored by the ministry and the board and, if approved, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act would have to be amended to set a new compensation rate based on the finalized plan.

“Our job is to help people recover and return to work, but not everyone can do that right away. While someone is healing they shouldn't have to worry about putting food on the table,” said Jeffery Lang, president and CEO of the WSIB, in the release.

“We will take a balanced approach that increases support for people while keeping premium rates affordable and predictable.”

This news comes after the WSIB announced it is also reviewing the list of occupational illnesses that qualify workers for compensation.

The first WSIB review of its kind, the goal is to “evaluate how occupational illnesses in Ontario are identified, monitored and prevented.”

Parkinson’s disease, as diagnosed in miners who inhaled McIntyre Powder during their employment over several decades at Northern Ontario mines, was added to the list of eligible illnesses in February.