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Ontario proposes changes to workers' compensation

| www.cos-mag.com

Ontario is proposing amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act that would provide full Consumer Price Index (CPI) indexation of benefits for all injured workers on an annual basis.

If passed, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, the amendments would provide all injured workers and their survivors with full CPI indexation on the benefit amount. There are about 140,000 injured workers who receive WSIB partial disability benefits.

Ontario also intends to propose regulatory increases that would provide injured workers on partial disability benefits an increase of 0.5 per cent on Jan. 1, 2016, and a one per cent increase on Jan. 1, 2017, on their pre-injury gross earnings.

The proposed changes would provide fairness in the way that injured workers receiving Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits are treated, said the government. Currently, only workers on full disability benefits and survivors receive full CPI increases.

"These proposals would ensure that all injured workers are treated the same, as well as ensure that benefits for injured workers on partial disability keep pace with inflation. Respect for those injured at work is essential, and working toward a fair and predictable compensation system is the right thing to do," said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.

These amendments complement changes proposed in Bill 109, Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act.

If passed, those amendments would ensure workers know they have a right to file a WSIB claim, increase maximum corporate penalties for a Workplace Safety and Insurance Act conviction, provide greater fairness by enhancing survivor benefits, and enshrine the Fair Practices Commission in legislation.

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