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How to Survive the WSIB

Learn how to apply for and get much needed help through
the varrious social programs available to you,
while you await the deicisons of
the WSIB, the WSIAT or the OHRT!

When workers suffer workplace injurries they become solely depended on benefits from the WSIB and possibly accommodations from their employer.

Over the past twenty years, the WSIB and employers have used a method of starve-out, to save money. This is where injured workers are forced into submission, or worst yet, just give-up. While some WSIB decisions and appeal decisions of the WSIB, the WSIAT, and/or the OHRT can take years or even decades, here we show you how to survive, while awaiting those decisions.

This is done by utilizing the vast social programs available to you. Some are commonly known as welfare (OW/ODSP), while many others are what is generally called equalization subsidies. These are programs that assist low income individuals and families to better manage in society. If a program is missing from the list, that you are aware of, please send us the information using our contact page. We will add it to the list, to help others!

I have placed the programs in categories based on injured worker needs:

  1. Free Representation Services
  2. Foodbanks
  3. Income Replacement Financial Assistance Programs
  4. Student Financial Assistance Programs
  5. Housing Assistance Programs
  6. Other Financial Assistance Programs

If you know of any other assistance programs please feel free to
send me an e-mail at paul@iwwdc.ca

WSIB - Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (Ontario's Workers Compensation Board)
WSIAT - Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal (Ontario's WCB Tribunal)
OHRT - Ontario Human Rights Tribunal
OWA – Office of the Workers Advisor
IAVGO – Industrial Accidents Victims Group of Ontario
ONIWG – Ontario Network of Injured Workers
HRDC – Human Resources Development Canada


1._Free Representation Services for Injured Workers:

It is extremely important to remember that if you wish to appeal a decision
of the WSIB to the WSIB Appeal level, or to the WSIAT,
there are time limits.
In order to meet the time limits just file a simple form
of your intent to object to the decision to meet your time limit.

Union Members: If you are a member of a union, then contact your union representative, as they have an obligation to represent you at every stage of the WSIB/WSIAT decision process.

Non-Union Members: Unfortunately, due to the high number of companies over the last decade that has been abusing the Temporary agency system, we have more nonunion workers than union workers, which means even less workers have representation. Legal Aid Ontario does NOT fund WSIB or WSIAT appeals. This may change in the future, so it would not hurt to inquire directly with them. However, there are two organizations that do represent injured workers for free. Again, due to the massive volume of nonunion injured workers there is a considerable waitlist, but do not let this discourage you from inquiring.

Office of the Workers Advisor – OWA:
The office of the worker advisor is funded by the ‘employer fund’ and is a separate entity that works completely independent of the WSIB and the WSIAT. As previously mentioned they can have a waitlist in excess of two years or longer, but please do not let this deter you, as things may change at any time. Contact the OWA directly for more information.

For residents of Wellington and Dufferin Counties:

For matters involving workplace accidents,
injuries & diseases that may require
representation you can call: 1-800-435-8980.

For matters involving Health & Safety
workplace reprisals that may require representation,
you can call: 1-855-659-7744

Their e-mail is owaweb@ontario.ca

Toronto Main Office
123 Edward Street, Suite 1300
Toronto, ON
M5G 1E2
Tel.: (416) 325-8570
Fax: (416) 325-4830
Canada-wide Toll Free: 1-800-660-6769

Waterloo office (likely for residents of Wellington County)
155 Frobisher Drive
Unit G (213)
Waterloo, ON N2V 2E1
Tel.: (519) 888-9063
Fax: (519) 883-5659
Toll Free: 1-800-265-2466

Mississauga Office (likely for residents of Dufferin County)
10 Kingsbridge Garden Circle
Suite 512
Mississauga, ON L5R 3K6
Tel.: (905) 568-2359
Fax: (905) 568-1086
Toll Free: 1-800-387-8806 (705 & 519)
Toll Free: 1-800-267-3949 (905)

Industrial Accidents Victims Group of Ontario – IAVGO:
They are an independent nonprofit organization, which is partially funded by Legal Aid, as well as by private donations. They accept clients on a limited basis, but again it never hurts to ask them and see if they are able or can represent you.
They do not take enquiries by e-mail – you must call them directly.
Phone: 416-924-6477
Fax: 416-924-2472
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-877-230-6311
Toll-free in Canada for Migrant Workers: 1-866-521-8535
Mail: 55 University Ave., 15th Floor
Toronto, ON M5J 2H7

Ontario Network of Injured Workers – ONIWG:
In extremely rare cases ONIWG will intervene in cases at the appeal court level. This is where they wish to speak on a matter, but not a party or representative, but merely on behalf of all injured workers of Ontario. Due to their extremely limited resources, they are an advocacy group, more than anything else, just as this group is.

Foodbanks are places where individuals in low income situations can receive much need food supplies. If a foodbank is not close to you, or I have not included in this list please e-mail me and I will add it. You are not alone, as 32% of persons who use foodbanks have a disability.

Ontario Association of Foodbanks
555 Richmond Street West, Suite 501
Toronto, ON, M5V 3B1
Tel: 416-656-4100   
Fax: 416-656-4104

Foodbanks for Residents of Wellington County:
Guelph Foodbank
100 Crimea St, Guelph, ON N1H 2Y6
Tel: (519) 767-1380
Mon-Fri – 9am to noon

Salvation Army Community and Family Services
210 Victoria Rd S,
Guelph, ON N1H 6N3
Tel: (519) 836-9824
E-mail: familyservices@guelphsa.ca

East Wellington Community Services
East Wellington Community Services – Erin
45 Main Street
P.O Box 786
Erin, Ontario N0B 1T0
Phone: 519.833.9696
Fax: 519.833.7563
East Wellington Community Services – Rockwood
107 Harris Street
Rockwood, Ontario N0B 2K0
Phone: 519.856.2113
Fax: 519.856.1498

Centre Wellington Food Bank
105 Queen Street West, Unit 11
Fergus, ON N1M 1S6
(In the Fergus Marketplace)
Tel: (519) 787-1401

Foodbanks for Residents of Dufferin County:
Orangeville Food Bank
25 Centennial Road Unit 5 & 6
Orangeville, Ontario L9W 1R1 519-942-0638
Tue. 10 AM - 12:30 PM, Wed. 6 - 8 PM, Thurs. 12 - 4 PM

Shepherds Cupboard
167 Centre St.
Shelburne Ontario L0N 1S2
Tel: (519)925- 2600, ext. 350

Grand Valley Foodbank
87 Cooper St,
Grand Valley, Ontario L0N 1G0
Tel: (519) 928-2258

3._Income Replacement Financial Assistance Programs:
Probably one of the second worst things an injured worker has to face is the reality of the financial devastation that is ahead of them. The purpose of the WSIB is supposed to prevent exactly that, however over the past decades they have seemingly taken a cost cutting employer incentive program, which means thousands of injured workers are left out in the cold. While the battle with organizations like ours and many others proceed in the legislature, as well as in the courts, you still have to survive, which is why you may need to look at applying for financial assistance through what is commonly known as welfare. The Ontario Works and ODSP programs are administer locally through the counties.

Remember you are no less of a person for asking for and getting much needed help!

To Apply for OW and ODSP:

To apply directly in Ontario, use the link below, however local specific information has been provided for each county:

For residents of Wellington county:
Ontario Works Income Services
129 Wyndham Street North
Guelph ON N1H 4E9
T 519.837.2670
T 1.800.265.7294
F 519.824.9990

For residents of Dufferin County:
Dufferin County Community Services
30 Centre Street, Orangeville ON L9W 2X1
T: 519.941.6991
F: 519.941.0271

4._Student Financial Assistance Programs:
Ontario Student Assistance Program – OSAP:
OSAP is a government loan and subsidy program for ALL Ontarians who wish to go, or return back to post-secondary education (College and/or University) school. In the case of injured workers who are permanently unable to return to their pre-injury work, this may be an ideal option.
College University Bursary & Grants:

Grants, Bursaries, & Subsidies: Are monies given to you - YOU DO NOT pay them back.
Student Loans: Are monies lent to you, at low interest, and to be paid back, only when you have completed your education.
Canada has a student loan repayment program for individuals that if they are unable to find employment or high-income employment the program will make all or a portion of your student loan payments.

A cautionary note: Most grants and government subsidies only apply to public colleges and Universities and not private colleges. Conestoga college and University of Guelph are public education centres.

To learn more about OSAP and apply click the link below.

When applying for OSAP, don’t forget to report you have disbaitlies, in order to receive additional funding.

Obtaining a High School Diploma or Credits
Also, if you do not have your grade 12 diploma, consider applying as a “mature student” to the College or University. However, if you need additional high school credits, this can be achieved through going back to high school. Alternatively, by signing up for an accredited correspondence program such as the Independent Learning Centre at www.ilc.org

 Remember you are NEVER too old to go back to school!

5._Housing Assistance Programs:

Housing subsidy programs vary from providing you a shelter, to paying a portion or all of your rent. This of course depends on your need and most of all available funding of the programs.

If you are in threat of being evicted by your landlord due to arrears, then there are social programs to assist you to pay your arrears on your behalf. This is commonly referred to as the “Rent Bank” program.    

Emergency Housing Need:
If you are in threat of losing your home due to eviction, or you are homeless. Then there are programs available to assist you with paying your arrears, providing you with shelter, or providing you with first and last month’s rent. Depending on the criteria to be met.

Rent Bank:
This is a program funded by Ontario Works and is administered by the local county (Wellington & Dufferin counties), which attempts to prevent homelessness in Ontario. This program may pay you arrears that is owed to your landlord, which is to prevent you from being evicted by your landlord. It has certain requirements to be met before you can apply. It is best to contact them directly by telephone to learn more if you qualify. If you plan on applying for the rent bank funding notify the landlord and the landlord tenant board right away to hopefully prevent any further eviction proceedings.

For residents of Wellington County:
County of Wellington Housing Services
138 Wyndham Street North
Guelph ON N1H 4E8
Tel: (519) 837–5492 ext. 3710
Website: https://www.wellington.ca/en/socialservices/emergencyassistance.asp

For residents of Dufferin County:
County of Dufferin Community Services
30 Centre Street
Orangeville, Ontario
Tel: (519) 941–6991 ext. 211

Housing Stability /Assistance Programs
This is a program to help people who have become homeless. It provides them with first and last month’s rent. It general only applies to individuals who are or have applied for Ontario Works and/or ODSP. However, it never hurts to ask to determine if you qualify.

For residents of Wellington County:
County of Wellington
74 Woolwich Street
Guelph ON N1H 3T9
Tel: (519) 837–2600

For residents of Dufferin County:
County of Dufferin Community Services
30 Centre Street
Orangeville, Ontario
Tel: (519) 941–6991 ext. 211

Housing Subsidy:
Housing subsidy programs are based on a household income setting a percentage of rent. These programs are usually offered in C-operative housing, as well as Government owned housing units. There are additional programs to assist individuals with paying their rent depending on the criteria. 

For residents of Wellington county:
Housing Services
138 Wyndham Street North, Guelph, ON N1H 4E8
Tel: (519) 824–7822 or (800) 663–0750
Fax: (519) 837–6349

For residents of Dufferin County:
County of Dufferin Community Services
30 Centre Street
Orangeville, Ontario
Tel: (519) 941–6991 ext. 211

6._Other Assistance Programs:
The following are some other programs that are available to you depending on your specific situation.
Revenue Canada Income Assistance Programs:
You should notify Revenue Canada if your income has become dramatically reduced. Generally nothing will change until your next tax reporting year. Do not forget to apply for all the Tax Benefit programs such as: HST rebate, WITB working income tax benefit, CTB – Child Tax Benefit, as well as many others that apply to you.

Canada Pension Plan – Disability benefit:

If you are permanent disabled, consider applying for the Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit through HRDC’s website and application process. This can be done online or in person at any Service Canada locations. Please remember you don’t know that you qualify or not until they have said No, and even then, you have in many cases a right to appeal.


If you know of any other assistance programs please feel free to send me an e-mail at paul@iwwdc.ca