Bill 127 Changes to the WSIA

 


The government recently made some changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) that were introduced in Bill 127.


The notable changes are to the:


• Mental stress provisions
• Board’s policy making power
• Statutory minimum for partial loss of earnings (LOE)
• Pre-1990 supplements for some older workers

Mental Stress Changes
The WSIA has been amended so that, effective January 1, 2018, some workers with chronic mental stress will be entitled to benefits.  Please see Mental Stress Changes in the WSIA and Policy for more details.

Board’s Policy Making Power
Changes have been made to section 159 (2) of the WSIA, which is the section that outlines the powers of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).  These changes confirm that the WSIB has the power to make policies about the interpretation and application of the WSIA.  The WSIB has always had this power, but the WSIA will now say so clearly. 
The new section 159 (2) also says that the WSIB may make policies that apply different principles to different types of entitlement. 

Statutory Minimum for Partial LOE
One of the amendments to the WSIA introduces a statutory minimum of $17,559.88 for workers receiving partial loss of earnings.  This amendment will come into effect on January 1, 2018, but there transitional provisions that mean it will be phased in.
This amendment will increase the benefit rate of some lower income workers. It will apply to workers whose net average earnings before the injury is less than $17,559.88 and to workers for whom 85% of their net average earnings before the injury is less than $17,559.88. 


Pre-1990 Supplement Amendment
Some older injured workers receive a supplement from the WSIB that is tied to the Old Age Security pension (OAS).  Every time the OAS was increased for inflation, these workers were having their WSIB supplement reduced by the amount of the OAS increase.  Since the supplement is not increased for inflation, these older injured workers were receiving less from the WSIB each time the OAS was increased.  The amendment to the WSIA fixes this situation.  It comes into effect on December 31, 2017, it applies retroactively to April 27, 2017.