The 2018 minimum wage increase and deeming

February 23, 2018

The increase in the minimum wage to $14 per hour is great news for workers generally, but for many injured workers, it will mean lower compensation.  If an injured worker starts a Work Transition Plan in 2018 for a job that ordinarily pays minimum wage, the worker's benefit at the end of the plan will be much lower than it would have been previously because the WSIB will deem the worker to be able to earn the higher minimum wage.  If an injured worker has been previously deemed capable of performing work at lower than $14 and the loss of earnings compensation comes up for review, the WSIB will eventually use the $14 per hour figure but will work it in gradually. The deemed earnings will be increased by no more than 10% a year.

It is possible to challenge the Board's practices in these cases.  It is certainly unfair to compare the wages of someone who earned $14 per hour in 2016 at a higher skill occupation with that same person who can no longer perform the high skill occupation due to a workplace injury and is now capable of earning minimum wage in 2018. There are arguments both about increasing the pre-injury earnings and about the number of hours of work that may be available now at minimum wage.