Employment Insurance (EI) and Compensation for Work Accidents and Occupational Illnesses

What you should know

When workers become victims of work accidents or come down with work-related illnesses, they can receive compensation for these injuries or illnesses from the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) in their province. The monies paid out may include the following:

  • Temporary payments for lost income
  • Permanent payments paid out following the final settlement of a claim
  • Payments to cover medical expenses, such as prescription drugs
  • Payments to cover medical treatments, such as chiropractic or physiotherapy expenses
  • Payments to cover rehabilitation expenses, such as training, medical equipment, clothing, and auxiliary care for day-to-day activities
  • Payments to cover a physical disability

Temporary payments for lost income

Temporary payments for lost income are paid during the initial stages of the injury or illness and continue until the worker recovers or until it is determined in the evaluation conducted by the WCB that a full recovery is very unlikely.

Only temporary payments received or receivable from the WCB as compensation for the worker's lost income during the period of the injury or illness:

  • Have value as earnings for benefit purposes, except during the 2-week waiting period to serve;
  • Are allocated over the period in which they are paid or payable; and
  • Do not prevent an interruption of earnings.

Final settlement of a claim

If the WCB determines that the work-related injury or illness permanently prevents the worker from returning to his or her job or any other suitable occupation, the WCB can decide to issue permanent payments after a final settlement of the claim. A final settlement can also be made if the worker is able to work at any job, but not at the previous salary level. In these situations, permanent payments issued after a final settlement are not considered earnings for EI benefit purposes.

Note that although the WCB determines at a later date whether or not the injury or illness is permanent, this does not in any way alter the fact that temporary payments received or to be received in advance are considered earnings for EI benefit purposes.

Some expenses paid by the WCB have no impact on EI benefits

The following payments are not considered earnings and are not allocated:

  • Lump-sum amounts or pensions paid following a final settlement
  • Payments used to cover injury or illness-related expenses, such as the following:
    • Medical expenses and expenses associated with renting or purchasing prostheses
    • Chiropractic or physiotherapy treatments
    • Auxiliary care expenses to facilitate day-to-day activities
    • Dispensing fees
    • Tuition and training fees
  • Payments used for permanent impairment such as the following:
    • For a disfigurement or permanent diminished capacity
    • For the loss of enjoyment of life directly related to the illness or injury.

Information you have to provide for us

If you are entitled to receive WCB payments, you have to provide us with the following information:

  • Start and end date of the payment
  • Daily or weekly amount paid by the WCB
  • Amount of payment in the first week
  • Amount of payment in the last week, if known
  • Type of payments

The rate of WCB temporary payments for lost income is usually calculated on the basis of a 5-day week, from Monday to Friday. See examples below.

Example 1

On May 10, 2005, you were the victim of a work accident. As of May 11, 2005, you were entitled to WCB temporary payments of $400 per week. Your salary for May 9 and 10, 2005 was $300. In this example, the salary earned and the WCB temporary payments have value as earnings and are deductible from benefits.

The WCB payment rate is calculated on the basis of 5 days per week, from Monday to Friday, ie, $400 ÷ 5 = $80.

This income is allocated as follows:

  • May 8 to 14, 2005 — $300 of salary + 3 days of WCB payments of $240
  • Starting on May 15, 2005 — $400 of WCB payments are allocated until your recovery or until the date when the WCB determines that a full recovery is very unlikely.

Example 2

You received WCB temporary payments of $450 per week from March 9 to May 4, 2005. On June 1, 2005, the WCB paid you a final settlement of $32,000. In this example, the WCB temporary payments of $450 per week have value as earnings for the period from March 9 to May 4 and are therefore deductible from benefits. However, the final settlement is not earnings for benefit purposes.

While waiting for a WCB decision

You applied to the WCB for compensation, but your claim is still not settled or your entitlement to this compensation is being contested. Sickness benefits could be paid to you while you wait for a reply from the WCB, provided you are entitled to these benefits.

In such a situation, you have to sign an undertaking to repay the benefits, which means that you have to repay the total amount of EI benefits paid by ESDC when your claim with the WCB is settled.

You can consult your province's Workers' Compensation Board site to find out what you have to do in the event of a work accident or occupational illness.