Employer Size

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This chapter profiles Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 employers by firm size, based on the number of full-time equivalent workers in these firms*. Small employers are firms with less than 20 workers; medium sized employers are firms with between 20 and 99 workers; and large employers include firms that have 100 or more workers as well as all Schedule 2 firms.



The majority of Ontario employers covered by the WSIB are small employers. In 2016, they represented approximately 88 per cent of employers covered by the WSIB , yet collectively accounted for only 14 per cent of workers covered.

In comparison, large employers accounted for the majority of workers covered by the WSIB. While representing 68 per cent of covered workers in 2016, large employers accounted for just 3 per cent of employers with WSIB coverage.

Among medium sized employers, the relationship observed between the proportion of employers and workers covered is more balanced. Medium sized employers represented 9 per cent of covered employers and 19 per cent of covered workers in 2016.



Industry Sectors

The leading industry sectors representing nearly 83 per cent of WSIB covered employers were services, construction and manufacturing. The services sector was a large component in all employer size bands representing 32 per cent of small employers, 43 per cent of medium sized employers, and 29 per cent of large employers in 2016.

Although construction was the top industry sector for small employers at 36 per cent, this was not the case for medium and large employers at 12 per cent and seven per cent, respectively. Conversely, the proportion of employers from the manufacturing sector was comparable for both medium and large employers at 23 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, but lower for small employers.


2016 Employer Size by Leading Industry Sectors

Legend for pie charts


Leading Lost Time Injury Characteristics

In 2016, sprains and strains were the most common nature of injury experienced by workers across all employer size bands. The leading cause of injury among workers for large employers was overexertion. In contrast, workers from small and medium sized employers were injured more often as a result of being struck by objects or equipment.

2016 Leading Lost Time Injury Characteristics

Injury Rates

The lost time injury (LTI) rate was comparable between small, medium, and large employers. In 2016, the LTI rate was the lowest for large employers at 1.05 LTIs per 100 workers compared to 1.13 for medium sized employers.

In contrast, the no lost time injury (NLTI) rate was significantly higher for medium and large employers than small employers. In 2016, the NLTI rate for small employers was 1.41 compared to medium sized employers at 2.48 and large employers at 2.37.

The NLTI to LTI injury rate gap was lowest for employers in the small size band and increases as employer size increases.


Days Lost from Work

Workers from small employers lost more days from work within one month post injury or illness on average than workers from large employers. In 2016, the average days lost within one month was 11.4 for small employers and 6.6 for large employers.



The WSIB continues to enhance its programs and services and is developing new tools to provide improved service to employers and workers in Ontario so that they can improve the overall health and safety in their workplaces.

In the second quarter of 2017, the WSIB introduced a new recognition program called the Small Business Health and Safety Leadership Awards. This is our first award program intended specifically for small businesses in Ontario. The program demonstrates the WSIB’s legislative mandate and strategic commitment to promote health and safety and leadership in the health and safety system. Small businesses registered with the WSIB are invited to self-nominate to win a financial award based on their leadership in the area of health and safety.

Our Workwell Program is a current service offering for employers that helps employers identify and address gaps in their health and safety management systems. The WSIB is developing a mobile version of the Workwell Evaluation Tool which will allow all employers, not just those engaged in Workwell, to be self-sufficient in evaluating their health and safety management systems and their return to work programs. 

The WSIB will also be launching Compass later in 2017, an innovative and transparent online decision support tool that will provide employers and Ontarians access to data about health and safety in Ontario workplaces.


*Schedule 1 firms with no insurable earnings have been excluded as the number of full time equivalent workers cannot be calculated. Schedule 2 firms do not report insurable earnings. Therefore, the number of full time equivalent workers is an estimate based on data from Statistics Canada's Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours.