WSIB and Working from Home: When Is a Home-Based Accident Considered to Arise in the Course of Employment?

  • July 06, 2020
  • Cassandra Ma

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Ontarians are working from home than ever before. What does this mean, however, from the perspective of workers’ compensation benefits? What obligations arise for workplace parties if a worker becomes injured while working from home?

Compensability Requires a Personal Injury by Accident Occurring in the Course of Employment

A worker’s entitlement in relation to an accident occurring at the worker’s home depends on whether the accident can be characterized as “work-related”. At the time of writing, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) has not issued any Operational Policy Document specifically addressing work-from-home injuries. Accordingly, the compensability of injuries sustained while working from home is governed by existing Operational Policy Document #15-02-02: Accident in the Course of Employment (“Policy #15-02-02”).

It is trite law that the work-relatedness of an accident is determined with regard to where the accident occurred, when the accident occurred, and what activity the worker was performing at the time of accident. These factors are commonly referred to as the criteria of place, time, and activity. Policy #15-02-02 guides the application of these criteria in the manner charted below.