Effective September 29, 2023, the WSIB’s updated Operational Policy #15-01-02, Employers’ Initial Accident-Reporting Obligations, came into effect. The revised policy includes an update to reporting deadlines related to employers’ initial injury reporting obligations.
The updated policy states “The WSIB must receive an employer’s complete accident report within three business days after the employer learns of the reporting obligation.” The three (3) business day deadline reflects a shortened period compared to the prior policy which set out that an employer’s complete accident report must be received within seven business days.
The updated policy makes reporting timelines consistent with section 21(1) of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, 1997. The Act states that “An employer shall notify the Board within three days after learning of an accident to a worker employed by him, her or it if the accident necessitates health care or results in the worker not being able to earn full wages.” Prior WSIB policy allowed for additional time for the WSIB to receive the reporting form. The prior policy noted specifically “that the WSIB must receive an employer’s complete accident report within seven (7) business days after learning that an injury/illness is reportable”.
The tighter reporting timeline reflects the more modern methods for reporting of injuries available to employers including fax, eForm 7 and the WSIB’s online upload tool (requiring a WSIB claim #) which allow for immediate transmission to the WSIB. The prior WSIB policy incorporated additional time for delivery and receipt of Form 7s noting a primary method of submission was mail, which required transit time.
Although the policy now reflects the legislative requirement that has been in effect for many years, the tighter timeline for employers may impact internal policies, practices and processes.
It remains to be seen whether the WSIB will strictly enforce the tighter reporting deadline using administrative penalties or whether their practice will allow some grace period. Nonetheless, strictly speaking, employers may be subject to late filing penalties in cases where a Form 7 is received by the WSIB after 3 business days from when the reporting obligation arises.
Employers may consider submitting a preliminary Form 7 to the WSIB to meet reporting obligations if a complete Form 7 cannot be completed within the 3-day deadline. However, it would be prudent to ensure a complete Form 7 with outstanding information is subsequently filed as soon as possible in order to mitigate against penalties related to incomplete information.
The prescribed WSIB form for injury/illness/claim reporting continues to be the Employer’s Report of Injury Disease (Form 7) available on the WSIB website.
REMINDER: Employers continue to remain obligated to provide their injured worker with a copy of the completed Form 7. The worker is likewise required to provide a copy of their Worker’s Report of Injury (Form 6) to the employer (alternatively WSIB is required to provide the Form 6 to the employer, upon request).