Discussion and analysis
The WSIB is one of the most comprehensive workplace injury and illness compensation benefit systems in North America. Between Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 employers, we cover 16 industries and businesses that are self-insured in Ontario. In 2018, we served more than 5.6 million employees and over 300,000 businesses, registered 254,000 claims, and issued $2.8 billion in benefit payments. The WSIB is committed to making sure the insurance system is sustainable for businesses.
Summary of performance for Schedule 2
The WSIB’s integrated recovery and return-to-work approach continues to have positive outcomes for both employees and businesses. Over the past 10 years, the workforce covered by the WSIB has grown by seven per cent while the number of registered claims went up by six per cent. The 2018 lost-time injury rate was 2.17 and is three per cent higher than in 2009. In 2018, registered claim volumes went up by ten per cent compared to 2017, while the percentage of covered workforce went up by three per cent.
Continued focus on high-impact claims
High-impact claims are a category of allowed lost-time claims that have big impacts on recovery and return-to-work time. These claims involve injuries related to the lower back, shoulders, and fractures. These types of injuries usually have higher treatment costs and longer recovery times. In 2018, high-impact claims made up 22 per cent of lost-time claims and 25 per cent of total benefit payments, down from 30 per cent and 32 per cent in 2014.
Access to timely, quality health care is important to supporting recovery and return-to-work for injured or ill employees and businesses. That is why we are expanding the network of specialized assessment and treatment services across the province for lower back and shoulder injuries. These changes to our health care approaches have improved our overall case management of high-impact claims. The overall percentage of Schedule 2 high-impact claims have gone down over the past five years.
Recovery and return-to-work outcomes
The average number of days lost within one month after an injury or illness increased to 7.7 days in 2018. The percentage of people receiving loss-of-earnings benefits at three months after an injury or illness increased to 18 per cent in 2018 from 12 per cent in 2017. The percentage of people receiving loss-of-earnings benefits at six months increased to nine per cent in 2018 from eight per cent in 2017.
Our emphasis on an integrated approach to recovery and return-to-work, including specialized medical assessment and treatment services has helped improve our return-to-work outcomes. Our program is having positive results. Approximately 99 per cent of injured and ill employees returned to work after they finished their plan in 2018, compared to 97 per cent in 2017.
In 2018, our return-to-work and case management staff continued to focus on return-to-work and building case-specific plans for employees and businesses early in the claim. Our vision is to support injured and ill employees to return to productive and safe employment. For businesses, this means less disruption to their workforce because they will continue to have an experienced and productive employee at work. We are proud of the improvements we’ve achieved with our return-to-work and recovery outcomes.
The WSIB continues to focus on service quality and timeliness. We have an ongoing commitment to be sustainable, transparent, and improve our systems so that we can provide effective and efficient service to Ontarians.