This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.
On May 19, 2020, Bill 191, Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act (Presumption Respecting COVID-19), 2020 (“Bill 191”), a Private Member’s bill, was introduced in the Ontario legislature. If Bill 191 becomes law, where a worker for an essential business tests positive for COVID-19, it will be presumed that it is an occupational disease for which workers’ compensation is available through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”), unless proven otherwise. The presumption would apply to all positive test on or after January 25, 2020. Employers should note that Bill 191 is still just proposed legislation and ultimately may not be passed into law. Notably, Private Member’s bills historically, are not very likely to pass and become law. Currently, the WSIB is adjudicating COVID-19 claims on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances. To date, 983 claims have been allowed, and 2,439 are pending.