Workplace injuries and illness are costly to both workers and employers.  Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses should always be the first priority.  A return to work program is an effective way to reduce both human and financial costs when they happen.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to support and manage the return to work program and involve the employee, their healthcare provider and the WCB representative to ensure your employee's safe return to work.
When injured, workers play a vital role in ensuring they return to work safely.
The healthcare provider plays a critical role in maintaining and promoting activities that benefit the health, active recovery and safe return to work for your employees.
At WCB, we offer support and resources throughout the return to work process to ensure your employees return to work safely.

Benefits for Employers

Employee Retention

Retain valuable and experienced workers and make them feel supported in the event of an injury

Lower Overhead Costs

Reduce the cost of training replacements

Maintain Productivity

Enhance employee productivity

Financial Stability

Minimize your WCB costs

Benefits for Injured Workers

Faster Recovery

Help workers recover more quickly and completely from their injury

Stay Connected

Help workers stay connected and get back on track sooner

Health and Financial Stability

Maintain health benefits and financial stability for workers and their families

Your Role

A return to work program is a proactive approach to helping injured workers return to safe and suitable modified or alternate work as soon as health permits following a workplace injury.

Returning to work following a workplace injury requires a step-by-step process for the worker that starts right after they are injured or become ill. The first step, of course, is to ensure they get the healthcare services they need to recover. The next step is to start planning for their return to work.

  • As an employer, you should manage the return to work process and involve the injured worker and their healthcare provider; a union and/or worker representative may be included in the team, along with the WCB adjudicator or case manager assigned to the claim, when requested.
  • The return to work team develops a plan to help the injured worker return to work safely, within established timelines.
  • The return to work plan should be customized to the injured worker, take into consideration the worker’s abilities, and reflect the recommendations of the healthcare provider, which may include modified or alternate duties.
  • The employer should keep in touch with the injured worker and support them with the return to work plan.
  • The WCB should be notified if there is a dispute between the worker and employer on whether the return to work plan is appropriate.

Re-employment obligations:

The Workers Compensation Act requires employers who have 25 or more full-time or regular part-time workers to re-employ injured workers who were in their employ for at least 12 continuous months prior to their injuries.

Where the re-employment obligation applies, The Workers Compensation Act specifically requires employers to accommodate the injured worker’s work and workplace to the needs of the injured worker, to the extent that the accommodation does not cause the employer undue hardship. Those employers not subject to the re-employment obligation may still have duties to accommodate workers where otherwise required by law, including but not limited to the requirements of The Human Rights Code.

For more information, please read our brochure on re-employment obligations or call 204-954-4321 or 1-855-954-4321 (toll-free).

Injured Worker's Role

  • The injured worker should take an active part in the return to work plan.
  • The injured worker should attend all healthcare appointments, follow the prescribed treatment plan and help the healthcare provider understand the type of work they do including if there are modified or alternate duties available.
  • The injured worker should keep in touch with the employer and the WCB adjudicator/case manager to let them know how their recovery is progressing. If their return to work is not going according to plan, they should call the WCB.

Healthcare Provider's Role

  • The healthcare provider should recommend timelines for the injured worker’s return to work and indicate the worker’s abilities and restrictions.
  • Timelines should indicate the earliest date for a safe and suitable return to modified or alternate duties.
  • The healthcare provider can share information about the injured worker’s abilities with the employer with the injured worker’s permission.

The WCB's Role

  • Your WCB adjudicator or case manager will monitor the return to work plan and assist with benefits for the injured worker.
  • Your WCB adjudicator or case manager will become involved to assist you if you need help in your return to work plan – we’re here to help.
  • The WCB adjudicator or case manager will become involved if there is a dispute raised from either the worker or employer on whether the return to work plan is appropriate.

Tips for Creating a Successful Return to Work Program

  • Present the return to work process as part of your company’s benefits package and explain that you support helping workers with a timely and safe return to health and work.
  • Identify some return to work modified or alternate duties before they are needed.
  • Consider job modifications before injured workers return to their former jobs.
  • Allow recovering workers to ease into the full work routine, sometimes with graduated hours or work responsibilities if necessary.
  • Keep in touch with recovering workers and maintain a positive attitude toward their return to work.
  • Focus on what the workers can do, not what they can’t do.
  • Have workers help to identify possible modified and alternate duties.
  • Ask for help from your WCB adjudicator or case manager if you need assistance.

Looking for help?

Join our free Return to Work Basics workshop that helps employers create custom return to work programs to suit their business needs. Our website offers resources to assist you in the return to work process.

Register for Return to Work Basics Workshop

Explore our resources for small businesses (30 or fewer employees)

Explore our resources for businesses with more than 30 employees

Questions or Concerns? Connect With Us!

If your return to work is not going according to plan, the WCB is here to help.

Call your WCB contact or call us:
Phone: 204-954-4321
Toll free: 1-855-954-4321

To report fraud and non-compliance:
Phone: 204-888-8081
Toll free: 1-844-888-8081