Even though around 40% of the Canadian population is now working from home thanks to the pandemic, work-related accidents and mishaps are still a very real possibility. While most employers are required to have some form of workers’ compensation insurance, many people are still unsure of what exactly this entails.
In this article, I’ll take a look at the ins and outs of workers’ compensation benefits in Canada and how long you can collect them for.
How Long Can You Collect WCB?
The length of time that you can collect workers’ compensation benefits will depend on the type of benefit you are receiving. This is directly related to the severity of your injury or illness. The different categories include:
Wage Loss Benefits
If you are unable to work due to your injury or illness, you may be eligible for wage loss benefits. These benefits are intended to replace a portion of your lost wages, based on your previous earnings.
Wage loss benefits are paid until you are able to return to work, either on a full or part-time basis. Your ability to do so is determined through a medical assessment.
Medical Aid Benefits
You can make a WCB claim for both physical and psychological injuries. If your claim is accepted, you may be eligible for medical aid benefits to cover the cost of treatment.
This could include things like physiotherapy, prescription drugs, and hospitalization expenses. These expenses are paid until you have recovered from your injury or reached a point of maximum medical improvement. Whether you reach this point will be determined through thorough testing.
WCB insurance is also applicable in cases where an injury or illness results in a permanent impairment. If you have suffered a loss of function that is expected to be permanent, you may be eligible for an impairment benefit.
This is a lump-sum payment that is based on the severity of your condition. This may range from minor conditions, such as a loss of hearing, to more serious conditions that result in paralysis or amputation.
WCB Retirement Annuity
If you are unable to return to work due to a work-related injury or illness and you are at least 60 years old, you may be eligible for a WCB retirement annuity as special additional compensation.
This feature is similar to standard impairment awards, with the only difference being that the payment is made on a monthly basis as opposed to WCB lump-sum payouts. The payments reach your account on the first of every month and they will continue until you reach the age of 65.
SAC Benefits After 65
Retirement shouldn’t mean the end of your workers’ compensation payments. If you are over the age of 65 and you’re still suffering from a disability that was caused by a workplace injury, you may be eligible for SAC (Seniors’ Additional Allowance) benefits.
These perks are paid on a monthly basis and they are in addition to your regular retirement income. The amount you receive will be determined by your level of disability, as well as the province you live in.
What is the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)?
Simply put, the WCB is a government-mandated organization that provides employment insurance to businesses in the event that one of their employees is injured on the job. It’s based on the Workers’ Compensation Act, which is a piece of legislation that was put in place to protect workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.
In order to register for WCB insurance, employers must fill out an application and provide some basic information about their business. They will also be required to pay an insurance premium, which is based on the number of employees they have and the type of work they do. The amount of the premium will differ from one province to another, as each has its own legislation and guidelines.
Once an employer has registered for WCB insurance, their employees will be automatically covered in the event of a workplace injury or illness. Workers do not have to pay premiums and they aren’t required to register for coverage.
WCB Insurance Costs
The cost of WCB in Canada varies among provinces, with each one imposing its own rates and regulations. Each rate is normally calculated per $100 of an employer’s payroll, and the amount will depend on the type of industry they’re in based on the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada.
For example, construction companies are typically charged higher rates than offices because the work they do is considered to be more dangerous.
In contrast, workers in less hazardous occupations, such as office workers, are typically charged lower rates. The logic behind this is that there is a lower risk of them getting injured while on the job.
What Are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Taking up WCB insurance comes with a slew of benefits, both for employers and employees.
For employers, it acts as a safety net in the event that one of their employees is injured or becomes ill as a direct result of their position. This means that they will not be held liable for any medical expenses or lost wages that their employee incurs. In addition, it protects them from lawsuits that may be filed by their employees.
As for employees, WCB insurance provides them with financial security in case there’s a work-related accident. They will be covered for any medical expenses and dispensing fees that are related to their injury or illness, and they will also receive a percentage of their lost wages while they’re recovering.
Workers may even attend an educational labour program and prevention training developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to help them stay safe while performing their daily obligations. In this way, WCB insurance not only provides financial assistance and covers tuition and training fees but also helps to promote workplace safety.
Workers’ Compensation and Taxes
Any funds received through workers’ compensation payments are considered to be taxable income. This means that you will have to include them in your line 14400 tax return.
If you’re looking to report your WCB income, you can do so by using the “Other Income” section on your tax return. You will need to enter the total amount of benefits you received, as well as the province where you live.
Repayment of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In some instances, workers may be required to repay a portion of their benefits if they return to work before their claim is officially closed. In order to do this, they will need to contact their regional WCB office.
For instance, let’s say that you were injured on the job and received $2,000 in your WCB claim. However, you decided to return to work after six weeks, even though your doctor had advised against it. In this case, you may be required to repay a portion of the benefits you received.
It’s important to note that not all workers will be required to repay their benefits. In order for this to happen, there must be a determination that the worker is capable of returning to work and that they have in fact returned to work earlier than expected.
Other Options Available After 65
Apart from WCB payouts for injuries that occur on the job, there are other options available for seniors who are looking for financial assistance and are over the age of 65.
One option is to apply for retirement income from the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). To do this, you must have contributed to the CPP for at least one year. The amount you receive will depend on how much you’ve contributed, as well as the age at which you decide to start receiving payments.
Another option is the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. To meet the requirements, you must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after the age of 18. The amount you receive will depend on how long you’ve lived in Canada, as well as your income and assets.
You may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), which is a monthly benefit that is available to low-income seniors. To qualify, you must be receiving the OAS pension and have a total annual income that falls below a certain threshold.
Community Financial Counselling Services
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may want to consider seeking help from a community financial counseling service. They’re available in most municipalities and can provide you with information on a variety of topics, including budgeting, money management, and debt consolidation.
They may also offer other services, such as credit counseling and assistance with filing for bankruptcy. If you’re not sure where to find a service in your area, you can check the Yellow Pages or do a quick search online.
All things considered, workplace injuries or accidents can have a significant financial impact on everyone involved. Luckily, the WCB is there to provide financial assistance to those who need it. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any confusion and provided an informed answer to the question of how long can you collect WCB in Canada.
Yes, standard tax rates apply to all payments issued by the WCB.
Employers are generally the sole contributors to the WCB in Canada.
In most provinces and territories, employers are required to have WCB coverage for their employees.