On July 15, 2011 the WSIB introduced several changes including those to the NEER window and the final version of Work Reintegration guidelines.
What do these changes mean? In general, they are aimed at increasing pressure on employers to return injured workers to the workplace. This is being done through a renewed emphasis on the return of injured workers to the accident employer rather than into the general labour market. The WSIB has also increased the amount of time that an injury claim may have an effect on WSIB premiums by one year. This has been done through extending the NEER window from 3 to 4 years. Four years is a long time for an injury to have an impact on an employer’s costs.
Are increasing potential costs to employers the right way to go? One has to ask if getting more aggressive with employers alone is likely to improve the chance of injured workers returning to work. Greater scrutiny of employee claims of workplace injury and reduced incentives for malingering would also be in order.
Employers will need to devote even more resources into active claims and potentially revisit internal procedures aimed at returning injured workers. If they don’t, they’ll pay.