Despite the declared State of Emergency in the province of Ontario, many workers are still required to go to their respective workplaces. Employees that work in “essential” businesses (grocery stores, security, certain retail outlets, etc.) may be more vulnerable to the exposure given their consistent proximity to the public. Even those employees who are no longer attending work could have been exposed to COVID-19 previously while still in their regular workplace.
With that in mind, Does workers’ compensation apply to employees who contract COVID-19 while in the workplace?
In the current situation, it may be difficult to establish whether an employee contracted COVID-19 during their employment hours or otherwise unless an obvious inference can be made such as an employee working directly with individuals who had/have confirmed cases of COVID-19. The WSIB recognizes that “while the nature of some people’s work may put them at greater risk of contracting the virus, for example, those treating someone with COVID-19, any claims received by the WSIB will need to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances.”
To read more about how the WSIB make decisions in regards to COVID-19 claims click here
It should be noted that coverage does not apply for workers who are symptom-free even when quarantined or sent home on a precautionary basis. However, according to the WSIB, should a symptom-free worker develop symptoms or illness while in quarantine, they may be eligible for WSIB benefits.