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Work Transition

What is work transition (WT)?

Work transition is a WSIB program to help injured workers get back to work. Work transition replaces the labour market re-entry (LMR) program.

If you and your employer are not successful in arranging your return to suitable work (see Early and Safe Return to Work) and you have a permanent work-related impairment, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) may provide you with services to help you find work. The primary focus of WT is to find long-term, suitable work with your employer or in the general labour market. WT includes a work transition assessment and may also include a work transition plan. 

The spouse of a deceased worker may also ask for WT services. 

What is a WT assessment?

A WT assessment tests your skills, abilities, and aptitudes in order to identify a long-term job goal, or suitable occupation (SO), for you. A WT assessment starts with a transferable skills assessment, which tests to see if you have the skills to do other jobs without retraining. This is done by a Work Transition (WT) Specialist who is a WSIB employee.

A WT assessment may also include a vocational assessment, which often includes more formal and specific testing of your interests, aptitudes and skills. This testing is usually done by an outside service provider. A vocational assessment will only be done if the WT Specialist is unable to identify a job you can do without additional training that minimizes your wage loss. 

What is the goal of a WT assessment?

The goal of a WT assessment is to identify a suitable occupation (SO) for you.  Your SO is a type of job that the WSIB believes is safe, suited to your skills, within your physical abilities, and which reduces or eliminates any loss of earnings resulting from your injury. The priority is to identify a SO with your employer (if possible) before looking to the general labour market. 

The SO must also be available.  In deciding whether a SO is available with your employer, the WSIB looks at job postings, recent hiring, and any relevant terms of a collective agreement. In deciding whether a SO is available outside your employer, the WSIB considers labour market conditions in your local labour market.  Your local labour market is not limited to your particular city or town, but may also include any surrounding areas to which you might reasonably commute.  The WSIB may also consider job availability in the broader labour market. 

Your WT assessment will also say whether or not you need a WT plan to be employable in the SO. 

What is a WT plan?

A WT plan is a written plan that sets out the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for you to return to your employer or to re-enter the labour market in the SO chosen for you.  It must be consistent with your physical abilities and reduce / eliminate any loss of earnings resulting from your injury.

The WT Specialist develops the plan with your input, the assistance of your employer if appropriate, and your doctor (or other health care professional), if required.  If you are active in developing your WT plan and discussing alternatives, you are more likely to be happy with the plan that is chosen.

You may want to seek help from a qualified representative before you agree to a plan, or even before you discuss it with the WSIB.

Your WT plan must include all of the steps necessary to enable you to re-enter the labour market in your SO.  It must include the names of all the training agencies or institutions, the details of the programs, and the cost estimates for all activities. 

Examples of programs your WT plan may include are:

  • English as a second language
  • academic upgrading
  • skills training in school or on the job
  • formal or academic training
  • creative job search techniques

Your WT plan may also include changes to the job or assistive devices necessary for you to complete your plan or perform your SO. 

When am I entitled to a WT plan?

The WSIB will provide you with a WT plan if it decides that a plan reasonably improves your chances of getting back to work. The WSIB will make this decision by considering your skills, whether your SO will reduce or eliminate loss of earnings, and the likelihood of success.  In doing this, the WSIB may compare several possible plans. The WSIB generally prefers the least expensive plan that will potentially eliminate your wage loss. The WSIB will also compare the estimated cost of a proposed plan to the estimated cost of future benefits. 

How does WT affect my benefits?

As long as you co-operate, you are entitled to loss of earnings (LOE) benefits during the WT process.  See Loss of Earnings Benefits for more information.  If you do not co-operate in any aspect of WT, then the WSIB may reduce or take away your benefits and may stop providing you with WT services.  For more information, see Duty to Co-operate.

Your LOE benefits are based on different earnings, depending on where you are in the WT process.  You will receive full LOE benefits while you are taking part in a WT assessment or WT plan.   

If you have completed your WT plan or if you were found not to need one, your LOE benefits will be based on the difference between your earnings before the injury and the average wage in your SO.  If you have existing skills, your LOE benefits will be based on the average mid-range wage in your SO.  If you must learn new skills, your LOE benefits will be based on the average entry-level wage in your SO.  This change in your LOE benefits happens regardless of whether you find work in your SO or no work at all.  If you are working in your SO and the WSIB does not consider you to be underemployed, your LOE benefits will be based upon your actual earnings.  The WSIB will consider you underemployed if you are not using your full abilities, skills and training in your job. For example, if you could work full time hours, but choose to work only part time.

Since future benefits are based on your SO, it is very important that the SO chosen for you is a job you can really do. It is equally important that you receive a WT plan that adequately prepares you to gain suitable work.

The WSIB will pay the necessary and appropriate expenses related to your WT assessment or plan. This includes tuition, textbooks and travel expenses.  An estimate of these costs should be provided as part of the plan. 

Can I appeal a WSIB decision on WT?

Yes, but you must send an Intent to Object Form to the WSIB within 30 days of the date of the decision. For more information on appeals, see Appeals at the WSIB.

If you miss the 30 day deadline you can ask the WSIB for an extension.  See Appeal Time Limit Extensions: WSIB for more information.  

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.

February 7, 2013