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Getting Help

How can the OWA help me?

Workplace insurance matters

If you are a non-unionized injured worker, or a survivor of an injured worker, the OWA can:

  • represent you in your appeal at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT)
  • provide information over the phone about workplace insurance benefits and procedures
  • provide written materials on common workplace insurance problems
  • inform you about other places where you can find help

Health & safety reprisal issues

If you think you have been the victim of an occupational health and safety reprisal and you are not a member of a union, the OWA can:

  • give you advice about your rights and how to enforce them
  • represent you in filing an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)
  • represent you at a mediation, consultation or hearing at the OLRB
  • provide written materials on occupational health and safety reprisals
  • inform you about other places where you can get help.

Is there a charge for OWA services?

No. The OWA provides services free of charge.

Are the OWA’s services confidential?

Yes. The OWA’s services are confidential.

Who can get help from the OWA?

The OWA’s mandates, under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, are to provide free and confidential services (advice, education, and representation) to non-unionized injured workers, survivors of injured workers, and to non-unionized workers who have experienced a health and safety reprisal.

Unionized workers are not eligible to receive our services and should contact their unions for assistance.

If you are a member of a union, OWA staff can:

  • inform you about any time limits for action in your case
  • refer you back to your union for help.

Who is a member of a union?

Workplace insurance matters

The OWA considers you to be a member of a union if you are a bargaining unit member in a unionized workplace and you were injured in that workplace.

The OWA will be able to help you and will usually not consider you to be a union member if:

  • you were injured in a unionized workplace, but now work in a non-union workplace
  • you retired, resigned, or otherwise left your job at a unionized workplace
  • you were laid off or otherwise lost your job at a unionized workplace, (unless you were dismissed and want help enforcing the employer’s re-employment obligations)
  • you are now working in a unionized workplace, but your claim is for an injury that occurred with another employer
  • you are on a hiring hall list, but have not worked during the past 12 months, or
  • you are a survivor of a unionized worker who died as a result of a workplace injury or disease

Health & safety reprisal issues

The OWA considers you to be a member of a union if your reprisal complaint is about a job in which you were a member of a union.

How can I get help from the OWA?

You should have the following information and documents with you when you call:

  • your WSIB claim number or WSIAT appeal number
  • the date of your accident
  • the nature of your injury
  • the name of your employer at the time of your injury
  • the WSIB decision(s) or letter(s) you are calling about

When contacting us, it is helpful if you:

  • call from a location where you can speak privately
  • gather any documents (e.g. letters or forms from your employer) and have them on hand
  • think about what happened including the dates and the people involved 

Please note that the OWA provides its services in English and French. If you do not speak English or French, it is important to arrange for someone you trust who speaks your language and also speaks English or French to help you when you call us.

Important Information

This publication contains general information only. It is not legal advice about a particular situation and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified representative. This publication was last updated on the revision date listed below.

December 19, 2012