If you develop or acquire a disability, the government has four possible income sources. On the surface, that seems like you might be eligible for a lot of disability coverage if you qualify. On closer examination, you will see that the government benefits may not help you maintain your standard of living if you become disabled.

The four government programs in Ontario are the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board, Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

This blog entry concerns disability benefits from the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), formerly known as the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). WSIB is mostly an accident-only disability insurance. The coverage for accidents is limited to those incidents that occur while you are on the job. If you have an accident on the public sidewalk in front of your workplace before you begin work for the day, chances are that WSIB will not cover your disability costs.

Although WSIB primarily provides coverage for disabilities caused by workplace accidents, the Board sometimes provides compensation for illness-related disabilities. To receive coverage, the claimant must prove that the work environment directly caused the disabling illness. For example, firefighters can receive benefit payments if they are diagnosed with certain rare cancers. These cancers are accepted as occupational diseases because they have been scientifically linked to the inhalation of chemicals from burning buildings. However, proving a causal link between a work environment and an illness is very difficult in most situations.

The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board provides coverage for work-related accidents and illnesses that meet distinct criteria. You are eligible to apply for compensation if you make contributions to WSIB through your workplace and have a disability caused by your work environment. For more details, please refer to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board website.

For more information about disability coverage that complements WSIB, please contact me.

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