WSIB@WORK – Spring 2017 – Issue # 8
Year in Review –
Tom Teahen, President and CEO, looks back on 2016
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board serves a vital role in the wellbeing of Ontario. After one year as President and CEO, I have seen a tremendous commitment to integrity and excellence from all areas of our organization. It is encouraging to know that those who work at the WSIB are dedicated to doing their best to serve workers and employers in Ontario.A commitment to innovation and service excellence are key goals which guide everything we do at the WSIB. Our return-to-work efforts and our health and safety programs are aligned with these goals in order to better serve workers and employers.2016 was a pivotal year for transformative initiatives. As our financial situation continues to improve we had more flexibility to upgrade our services. The final implementation of our online account and claims management system was completed in 2016. This has increased our capacity to improve service for employers and make faster and more consistent eligibility decisions for injured workers.Return-to-work rates continued to be strong in 2016. 92 per cent of injured workers were back at work with no wage loss within one year. Safe recovery and return to work are part of an evidence-based approach that puts workers and their ability to enjoy an independent life first.2016 saw new enhancements to our services for workers diagnosed with workplace mental stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We recognize the importance of mental health in workplace environments among our stakeholders and within our organization.The work I have seen over the last year would not have been possible without our staff across Ontario who have dedicated their careers to the WSIB. I salute their efforts.
There is much still to accomplish, but 2016 has made me tremendously optimistic for what is to come in 2017.
How Old are Your Ears?
Do you know how old your ears are? The WSIB has been encouraging people to find out how their hearing compares to the average person at www.toneitdown.ca.The website was part of our campaign to generate awareness about Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).“Our goal is to encourage everyone – workers and employers alike – to factor hearing protection into their safety practices at work,” said Tom Teahen, WSIB President and CEO. “If you understand the dangers of noise, you can protect your hearing for life.”Between 2006 and 2015, almost 30,000 people – close to the population of Stratford, Ontario – had an allowed NIHL claim. This accounted for about 23 per cent of all allowed occupational disease claims. What most people don’t know is that the condition is completely preventable.We encourage everyone to watch our video – Don’t lose the sounds you love – on the toneitdown.ca website to experience the impact hearing loss could have. When people understand what NIHL is and how it might affect them, they are more likely to take action.Although workers can make healthy changes to protect their hearing health, it’s not just up to them to protect themselves. Employers also have important obligations. They are responsible for ensuring that noise levels in the workplace are as low as possible. By law, they are required to ensure that no worker is exposed to a sound level greater than 85 decibels.The bottom line is that noise at work can result in hearing loss. We need to make everyone aware of this, keep the conversation going and work together to eliminate this completely preventable condition.Quick Facts:
- NIHL is a permanent loss of hearing, usually in both ears, resulting from inner ear damage due to prolonged, continuous or intermittent hazardous noise exposure
- 51 per cent of workers were 65 years of age or older when diagnosed with NIHL
- Male workers accounted for 95 per cent of allowed NIHL claims
Coming Up: Day of Mourning
Every year on April 28 we pause to pay our respects, and remember the thousands of workers who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness in the
workplace. We also honour the many families and friends who have been deeply affected by these tragedies. In addition to commemorating those who have died, been injured, or suffered illness as a result of work, the Day of Mourning is a time to renew our collective commitment to the promotion of healthy and safe workplaces and the prevention of future fatalities. For more information, and to order Day of Mourning posters, visit www.wsibdayofmourning.ca
WSIB Hosts Schedule 2 Technical Rate Sessions
This year the WSIB is hosting
educational sessions for Schedule 2 stakeholders on the 2017 Provisional Administration Rates.During these sessions, the WSIB’s Chief Actuary will explain the Schedule 2 administration rate-setting process, with a specific focus on the 2017 Provisional Administration Rates and the latest forecast for the 2016 Administration Rates.“The WSIB recognizes the unique needs of Schedule 2 employers and supports regular communication and collaboration on issues that are of importance to this sector, including the setting of Administration Rates,” said WSIB Chief Actuary Don Blue.“These sessions are a great opportunity to increase transparency about the Provisional Administration Rate-setting method and to answer questions on this complex topic,” said Blue.The WSIB announced the 2017 Schedule 2 Provisional Administration Rates on February 1, 2017. This information can be found on theSchedule 2 page of the WSIB website.The Technical Rate Sessions take place the week of March 20, 2017 in-person and via webinar.
WSIB Open Data Consultation Report Now Available
In fall 2016, we launched a public consultation to make it easy for you to tell us which of the datasets in our Dataset Inventory we should publish first under our Open Data Initiative. Respondents told us either through online voting or by written submission which datasets should be given priority. The consultation ran from October 20 to December 30, 2016, and the Consultation Report gives a summary and analysis of the input we received. We will begin publishing our datasets later this year.Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation!
WSIB Grants Program Funds Research into Return to Work and Recovery
Two researchers are receiving funding under the WSIB’s Grants Program for projects exploring how to improve return-to-work and recovery outcomes for injured and ill workers.The researchers are the first recipients under the new program, which was introduced in November 2015 to address current and emerging issues and strengthen Ontario’s workers’ compensation system.The recipients and their projects are:
- Dr. Christopher McLeod, University of British Columbia – $344,928 for “Improving approaches to early and sustainable return-to-work in the construction sector”, and
- Dr. Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health – $248,670 for “Strengthening disability management practices in the Ontario municipal sector”.In January, we also announced the launch of the 2017 grants application process. Proposals were accepted until March 3, 2017 and the evaluation process is ongoing. Recipients will be announced this fall.More information about the 2016 recipients and the 2017 Grants Program is available on the WSIB website.
How Can Our Website Work Better for You?
We’re working hard to make sure our website works for you. When you need information about Ontario’s workplace safety and insurance system, we know it’s important for you to find it on the WSIB website quickly and easily. And we know there’s room for improvement.So we’re reviewing our website’s navigation and search features to simplify and improve access to our web-based information. But we can’t do it alone – we need you to tell us what we can do better.That’s why, throughout 2017, we’ll be asking website users to take part in this review by telling us what they think of our website and the changes we propose. And if you have your own ideas for changes, we’d like to know those, too.You can take part in the website review through any or all of our input channels, including online surveys, focus groups, interactive online consultations, and one-on-one interviews. We know your time is valuable, so how much of it you spend on the review is up to you.Visit our WSIB website navigation review page to learn more.We hope to hear from you!
WSIB United Way
The 2016 WSIB United
Way Campaign slogan was “Catch the Spirit” and employees in all WSIB offices demonstrated their generosity through online pledges and by participating in a variety of fundraising activities. The final campaign tally was just over $263,000 – the second highest in the past decade. The WSIB won the Ontario Public Sector’s (OPS) Award of Distinction as the top agency fundraiser for the 2016 OPS Annual 5 KM Walk / Run event. The WSIB was also nominated for a United Way Public Sector Spirit Award. The WSIB’s fundraising total during a 25+ year partnership with the United Way is now just over $4 million.
Take the Fight out of Food –March is National Nutrition Month!
The WSIB is committed to the health of Ontario, and nutrition is a major part of keeping healthy at the workplace and at home. Whether starting the day off well with a balanced breakfast or keeping your body fueled throughout the day, nutrition can make a big difference in wellness in the workplace.The Dietitians of Canada support Nutrition Month as a way to show their dedication to ending Canadians’ struggles with healthy eating. The goal of this month is to keep people informed and to provide guidance on how to make small changes and make them stick.Support Nutrition Month by sharing with your workplace!
“International Women’s Day” – an excerpt from CEO Tom Teahen’s Blog:#BeBoldForChange“I try to tell my young daughter every day that she can and should aspire to do and be anything. And, optimistically, I hope she won’t face gender-based barriers.But when she comes home from school and says a boy told her at recess that “boys are smarter than girls” or that “girls don’t play sports as well as boys”, I am reminded that obstacles to equality remain, and that may daughter is already confronting them. As a man, I have never faced such obstacles. Now that I see the world through her eyes, I see how seemingly harmless statements like these affect her perception of the world, and of herself. We do a disservice to our girls and to our boys if we tolerate the imposition gender-based limitations of any kind.”Check out the full post here.
“What’s New” – a newsletter by the Ministry of Labour:Stay updated on current news from the Ministry of
Labour by subscribing toWhat’s New. Delivered monthly to your inbox, this newsletter features the latest on occupational health and safety, employment standards and labour relations that could affect you and your workplace.Check out the newsletter here.