Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997



The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is the workplace compensation board for provincially regulated workplaces in Ontario. As an agency of the Ontario government, the WSIB operates “at arm’s length” from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and is solely funded by employer premiums, administration fees, and investment revenue. The WSIB is one of the largest compensation boards in North America[1] and is primarily responsible for administering and enforcing the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA).


    The WSIAT is the final level of appeal in the Ontario workplace safety and insurance appeals system. The WSIAT is separate and independent from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). The WSIAT is in a different building and does not share space or staff with the WSIB.

    The WSIAT is a provincial agency that is associated with but independent of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

    The WSIAT decides cases under four acts. The date of the accident determines which act applies in a case.

    Most cases are decided under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA), which applies to Ontario workers who are injured in the course of their employment on or after January 1, 1998.

    The WSIA replaced the Workers’ Compensation Act, which is also called the “pre-1997 Act”. The pre-1997 Act, as amended by the WSIA, continues to apply to workers who were injured in the course of their employment before January 1, 1998. The “pre-1985” and “pre-1989” Workers’ Compensation Acts also continue to apply to certain cases decided by the WSIAT depending on the date that a worker was injured.

    We help our clients deal with practical day-to-day issues relating to workplace safety and insurance including:

    • representation before the WSIB and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
    • accident investigation and reporting
    • return of injured employees to work
    • employee absences and the accommodation of disabilities in the workplace
    • advice on the legal rights and responsibilities of employers and workers
    • re-employment and duty to cooperate penalties
    • the return to clients of interest owing on over-assessments
    • prosecutions under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
    • penalty assessments



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    What is the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board WSIB?

    The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board WSIB is an independent trust agency operating under the Ministry of Labour. WSIB provides no-fault liability insurance and workers’ compensation to Ontario’s workplaces.

    Employers registered with the WSIB pay monthly premiums as they would any other insurance policy. For employers, these premiums go towards protecting you in the event a worker suffers an injury in a workplace accident. This collective liability insurance gives employers peace of mind knowing they’re generally protected from being sued by an injured worker.

    Workers injured in a workplace accident are entitled to receive benefits paid out by the WSIB, including healthcare coverage and loss of earnings benefits. The WSIB can also assist both employers and workers when it’s time for an injured employee to return to work.


    The WSIAT’s main purpose is to hear appeals from final decisions of the WSIB.

    The WSIAT decides appeals that involve whether workers are entitled to compensation and other benefits for injuries that occur in the course of their employment. This often involves deciding whether a worker is entitled to loss of earnings benefits related to an injury or other types of compensation, including health care benefits. The WSIAT also decides financial issues that affect employers.

    The WSIAT also decides “right to sue” applications. In these applications, the WSIAT decides whether a person has the right to start a civil claim or whether their “right to sue” is taken away because their claim is governed by the Ontario workplace safety and insurance scheme. The WSIAT has “original” jurisdiction in right to sue applications, which means that the WSIAT makes decisions about whether a right to sue should be taken away in the first instance – the WSIB does not decide these issues first.