Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) offers employers a cost relief program called SIEF to encourage the employment of workers with a pre-existing injury or disability. Here's what you need to know about the program:
What does SIEF stand for?
Secondary Injury Enhancement Fund
What is the objective of SIEF?
The program provides employers with financial relief when an injured worker's pre-existing condition "enhances or prolongs" a work-related disability. In lay terms, it means that an employer will not be held fully financially responsible for a workplace injury that was caused by a worker's pre-existing condition or if their recovery is delayed/prolonged due to that condition. This program was created to help encourage employers to hire workers who had previous injuries or disabilities.
What does the policy say?
SIEF Policy (14-05-03) states that if a prior disability caused or contributed to the compensable accident, or if the period resulting from an accident becomes prolonged or enhanced due to a pre-existing condition, all or part of the compensation and health care costs may be transferred from the accident employer in Schedule 1 to the SIEF. Both physical and psychological disabilities are included.
Does this impact the benefits a worker can receive?
No, acquiring SIEF does not impact the amount of benefits paid to a worker. It only provides financial relief for the employer. It is important that your worker understand that you are not (necessarily) objecting to the validity of their claim if you are asking questions about a pre-existing condition.
What are the potential cost savings?
The potential cost savings for employers is substantial, sometimes in excess of $150,000-$200,000 for a single claim. However, occasionally the built-in insurance features of WSIB (such as firm caps, claims limits) can minimize the impact of SIEF cost relief. A complimentary analysis of your NEER statement by Clear Path's experts will help determine if pursuing SIEF cost relief is worthwhile for your company.
What definitions does the WSIB use when determining SIEF?
How does the WSIB calculate how much (if any) cost relief will be granted and "transferred" away from the employer and to the Board?
The WSIB uses a matrix which contrasts the level of medical significance of the pre-existing condition versus the severity of the accident (see below).
Is it difficult to acquire SIEF from the Board?
What is the process to apply for SIEF?
Want to learn more?
Consider registering for one of Clear Path's upcoming learning sessions:
Of course, you can always contact Anna Aceto-Guerin at (519) 624-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your WSIB-related questions. We look forward to hearing from you!
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This year's Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th will surely be even more poignant than usual. With recent events, such as the attack on Ottawa's Parliament buildings and the tragic deaths of soldiers Patrice Vincent in Quebec and Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial, emotions are running high.
The Conservative government has thrown its support behind an NDP MP's private member's bill (C-597), which would make Remembrance Day a statutory "stat" holiday across Canada, although each province would still have to enact their own legislation. It passed 2nd reading by a margin of 258 to 2 and is now in the hands of the Senate.
The passing of this bill may seem like an excellent way to honour our veterans and demonstrate national pride in the face of previously unthinkable acts of terror. However, we present three possible reasons why our politicians should give some sober second thought prior to making this decision.
But first, some background:
Remembrance Day is an annual memorial day that commemorates the end of hostilities during World War 1, which ceased "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" in 1918. Currently, 6 provinces and 3 territories mark the day as a paid general holiday. The provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia (which collectively make up more than two thirds of Canada's population) do not recognize it as an official paid statutory holiday. (Source)
1. Let The Dust Settle
The fast passing of this bill is understandable, but perhaps this was an emotional and political decision. Who wouldn't want to be seen as supporting the troops after two of our own were assassinated by extremists? How can we expect our MPs to be clear-headed on an issue like this when there are literally still bullet holes in the doors and hallways of our Parliament building?
Changes to legislation should be made after careful consideration, a healthy debate, and perhaps feedback from those affected. If we do wish to make this change, it may make sense to have a "cooling off period" rather than rushing it through. Hopefully, the Senate will slow down the process a bit and bring some much needed reflection to the potential change.
2. A Stat Holiday Is Not The Best Way To Honour Our Veterans
As a comparison, when was the last time you used the Victoria Day holiday as a chance to reflect on the accomplishments of the longest serving monarch in Britain's history?
Our politicians seem to believe that a paid day off work for adults and a day away from school for kids will be a way to honour our veterans and lead to increased attendance at local Remembrance Day ceremonies. But isn't it just as likely that people would use it as an excuse to go to the mall for Christmas shopping or seize the opportunity for a long weekend away?
Columnist Christina Blizzard recently wrote in "Kids Belong In School on Remembrance Day" that making Remembrance Day a Stat holiday for workers and students would be a terrible idea. She emphasized that schools have done a terrific job honouring the day and teaching kids about Canada's military history. Removing that opportunity for education and participation would be a disservice to the students and our soldiers.
She also makes a key point about the benefit of being together, whether it be at school or at the workplace, when we mark this occasion (referencing an important line from the famous poem In Flanders Fields):
The act of remembering is not something we do on an individual basis. It is a collective activity where many congregate as one to keep the faith with those who died — as we pledged we would.
3. Why Should Business Owners Absorb the Cost of Our Patriotism?
Stat holidays are not subsidized by the government. They are a legal requirement imposed on businesses and the cost is entirely absorbed by the business itself.
Changing November 11th into a mandatory paid day off would require business owners in Ontario to coincidentally add an 11th day (on top of New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday*, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Boxing Day) where they have to close their doors, reducing the revenue they can generate that month, while they pay their employees anyway.
* It is interesting to note that the Civic Holiday is not a mandatory holiday in the province of Ontario but an optional one. If Remembrance Day becomes a Stat holiday, will businesses reconsider the August holiday?
Advocates for small business owners can list a number of recent expenses that have made surviving in a challenging economic environment even tougher, including:
Is it unpatriotic to question why businesses should be required to take on the cost of this holiday as well?
Are there better ways to honour our veterans?
It is unlikely that any business owner would disagree that honouring our veterans and those who have given their lives for our freedom is a critically important tradition we must fight to uphold. They might suggest that there are more productive and meaningful ways businesses can mark Remembrance Day rather than giving everyone a paid day off work, including:
What is your business doing to mark Remembrance Day this year? Whatever it is, let's always remember that without these brave men and women we would not be able to even have this conversation.
Lest We Forget.
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The government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) with the intention of making the province fully accessible by 2025.
The legislation is being implemented in five portions (known as "Standards") and has different requirements and deadlines for different types and sizes of organizations.
Small private sector organizations (between 1-49 employees), should be aware that the deadline for the following requirements is coming up soon... January 1st, 2015:
Large private sector organizations (50 or more employees) need to meet the January 1st, 2015 deadline for the following requirements:
You can also contact us with your questions at email@example.com or (519) 624-0800. We look forward to hearing from you.
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The Canadian news has been inundated in recent days with disturbing stories about sexual harassment and violence against women, most notably in the (yet unproven) case of former CBC star Jian Ghomeshi.
The former "Q" host stated (in a much publicized Facebook post) that he had been fired by the CBC on October 26th due to actions in his private life (notably his preferences for rough sex and BDSM). He vehemently declared that these interactions were always consentual. A Toronto Star story has revealed there are at least nine women who claim to have been assaulted by him and deny they ever gave their "consent."
From an HR perspective, news that he may have engaged in sexually harassing behaviour within the workplace (again, unproven) and that it may have happened over an extended period of time is particularly distressing. Executives from the public broadcaster state that they are not aware of any workplace complaints, although there have been reports to the contrary. One story suggested that representatives from Western University discouraged their students from interning on Ghomeshi's program due to concerns about his "inappropriate" behaviour. As the media firestorm rages on, The Toronto Star reported that the CBC has hired a prominent employment lawyer to investigate accusations involved in this case.
Another disturbing news story
Perhaps even more shocking, two male Members of Parliament were suspended from the Liberal party due to "serious personal misconduct" related to how they dealt with two female New Democrat MPs. The exact nature of the alleged misconduct is not known and both men deny any wrongdoing.
Montreal MP Massimo Pacetti and Newfoundland MP (and Liberal ethics critic) Scott Andrews were both suspended by party leader Justin Trudeau and barred from running in the next election pending an investigation. If female Members of Parliament can be subject to abuse, is any workplace immune?
Open the floodgates?
These high profile news stories are shining a spotlight on unacceptable behaviour and may encourage victims to come forward instead of suffering in silence. The widespread nature of this issue (a recent report by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) revealed that an astonishing 90% of women in the service industry state they have been sexually harassed at work by customers and/or co-workers) suggests that HR professionals and business owners may receive new complaints as a result of a perceived shift in society's tolerance for this behaviour.
How your company can get prepared
Have you considered how your business would handle an accusation of harassment, sexual or other? The Government of Canada released a guide for managers faced with conducting a harassment investigation in 2013. One critical component is the use of an objective, potentially 3rd party to investigate the validity of the complaint. Utilizing an external lawyer or HR consultant who will not be influenced by existing relationships with those involved could help mitigate some of the risks involved in this delicate process.
Here are some other tips from the HR experts at Clear Path:
Do you have questions or concerns? Please contact Clear Path's Anna Aceto-Guerin at (519) 624-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your HR questions.
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This blog post is part of an ongoing series where we feature one of Clear Path's incredible team members and help you get to know them a bit better.
This month, our spotlight is on Claims Manager and HR Consultant Michelle Strassburger
Fun Fact: I've gone skydiving
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario
Alma Mater: Conestoga College
Oddest claim you've ever been asked to manage:
Employee on a break flicked a cigarette against a wall, hit the building, bounced back and hit him in the eye. He submitted a WSIB claim.
Dog Person or Cat Person: Neither... but dog if I had to choose
Favourite Movie: The Blindside
TV shows you never want to miss: Dancing With The Stars, The Voice
Who are your favourite writers? Jean M. Auel and Diana Gabaldon
What would you pick for your last meal? Smartfood popcorn and Nibs
What is your greatest extravagance? SHOES!!!!
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Pool, drink, sun... no email
What do you consider the most overrated virtues? Chastity, humility and sobriety
What do you consider your greatest achievement(s)? Education and certifications
What is your personal motto? Good things come in small packages
You can learn more about Michelle on her Clear Path bio page.
Other entries in our Spotlight Series:
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