• September 18, 2008 10:30 AM
  • - General

WSIB to Implement New Rules for Construction Sector


    TORONTO, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - New rules that are part of an industry-led
effort to help injured/ill construction workers get back to work came into
force September 1, 2008.
    Since 1998, Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has
been working with construction industry stakeholders to develop a regulation
on re-employment and return to work that encourages co-operation between
workers and employers. The regulation was filed by the provincial government
in February 2008. Now the WSIB, after years of consultation with workers and
employers from all parts of the industry, is implementing operational policies
that give life to the re-employment portion of the provincial regulation.
    "This has been a long process but I'm proud of the outcome because it's a
win for workers, a win for employers and a win for the workplace safety and
insurance system," said Steve Mahoney, WSIB Chair. "Working as partners, we've
crafted a solution for the construction industry by the construction
industry."
    The industry-led work resulted in re-employment policies that have been
hailed by employer and worker groups in the construction sector.
    "Implementation of the new policies is a tremendous step forward for
injured workers and the construction industry," said Clive Thurston, president
of the Ontario General Contractors Association. "Working side-by-side with
trade unions and the WSIB, we've ironed out a set of policies that will make
life better for injured workers while protecting the bottom line for
employers. This collaboration is the workplace safety and insurance system at
its finest."
    The re-employment policies balance the interests of workers, employers
and the workplace health and safety system by articulating the obligation of
an employer to re-employ an injured worker who has suffered a lost-time
injury.
    The top priority in the policies is to help injured workers make a safe
return to work. Although the employer must offer to re-employ the injured
worker under certain conditions, employers will not be required to create jobs
that do not exist, nor offer preferential treatment to injured workers.
    To educate the construction industry and its workers on the policies, the
WSIB will work with trade unions and industry associations between September
2008 and April 2009 to disseminate information. While the education of the
workplace parties on their re-employment obligations is underway, the
associated penalties will not be enforced.
    However, as of April 2009, re-employment penalties may be levied against
employers who are not in compliance with the re-employment policies. The WSIB
will only apply penalties as a last resort. To ensure compliance, the WSIB
will focus on educating and assisting the workplace parties.
    Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) plays a key role in
the province's occupational health and safety system. The WSIB administers
no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers and is committed
to the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses. The WSIB provides
disability benefits, monitors the quality of health care, and assists in early
and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or contract an
occupational disease.




For further information: Christine Arnott, WSIB Media Relations, (416)
344-4202, christine_arnott@wsib.on.ca