Employer contributions not part of pre-injury pay: Court

Dissension among decision-makers on whether benefits should be part of earnings for workers’ compensation
By Stephen Shore
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 11/11/2009

Ontario employers paying Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums may have avoided making increased payments thanks to a recent decision by the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) that was overturned and then reinstated in higher courts.

Joe Rodrigues, an employee of Highgate Metal Erectors, a sheet metal company in Oakville, Ont., challenged the WSIB’s longstanding policy of excluding an employer’s contribution to a health and benefit plan from the calculation of the employee’s “pre-accident earnings,” a challenge that could affect the amount of WSIB premiums paid by employers.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) provides benefits to a worker injured in the course of employment. The benefits compensate the worker for wage loss if the injury prevents the worker from returning to her regular job. The amount of the benefit is calculated as a percentage of a worker’s earnings before the accident that caused the injury — also referred to as the worker’s “earnings basis.”