Why Return to Work?
The goal of the WCB is to reduce the impact of workplace injuries and illnesses by assisting you with returning to work.
Returning to work, even to modified or alternate duties, can help you:
- Recover more quickly and completely from your injury
- Maintain job stability, knowledge and relationships with co-workers
- Stay connected and get back on track sooner and with less uncertainty about the future
- Maintain financial stability and predictability with your regular earnings and benefits
What is Return to Work?
Return to work is based on the philosophy that safe and suitable work is part of the recovery process. To that end, a return to work plan will help you get back to safe and suitable work as soon as possible, taking into account any physical or cognitive limitations caused by your injury.
Return to work is a partnership that involves you, your employer, your healthcare provider and your union or representative (if applicable). Most of the time return to work arrangements are made with little involvement from the WCB.
Your employer is expected to consider the following objectives in the following sequence:
1) Return to the same work with the incident employer.
2) Return to modified work with the incident employer.
3) Return to different (alternate) work with the incident employer.
You should always involve your WCB adjudicator or case manager if you are concerned, if there is a dispute on whether your return to work plan your employer has provided you is appropriate, or if additional support is required.
Below are some examples of returning to work.
Return to same work, modified, with same employer
Example: Laura is an assembly line worker with a back injury. The WCB indicates her workplace limitations include no prolonged sitting or awkward reaching. Laura's job is modified to include a sit/stand stool which makes it easier to change body positions and a tool shelf is moved closer to her. These changes allow her to continue with her original duties.
Return to different work with same employer
Example: Scott is a delivery driver who suffers a permanent ankle injury. He can no longer do the job because of the walking and standing it requires. The delivery job cannot be changed but the employer wants to keep Scott employed. With WCB support, Scott takes some basic computer training and is able to work as a dispatcher for his employer. This job involves more sitting so Scott can manage.
What should you do?
- Attend all healthcare appointments and follow your prescribed treatment plan.
- Tell your doctor or other healthcare provider about the type of work you usually do, and ask about what you can do while you recover.
- Keep in touch with your WCB adjudicator or case manager, and your employer to let them know how you are feeling. Tell your employer what kind of work you might be able to do as you recover, to help them plan for your return to work.
- Take an active part in the return to work plan as agreed during all discussions.
What will the WCB do?
Your WCB adjudicator or case manager will monitor your return to work plan, help with wage loss payments and authorize ongoing treatment as needed.
If you and your employer need support to develop your return to work plan, we will work with you. This can include, as needed:
- helping to identify safe and suitable modified or alternate duties that are within your abilities
- arranging a review of your work area with you, your employer, and your union
- attending return to work plan meetings as a part of the planning team
- becoming involved when there is a dispute or clarification is required about your abilities or work that you are being asked to perform
- paying for financial or technical support to help your return to work
- determining if your employer has met re-employment obligations.
What To Do If You Have Concerns About Your Return to Work Plan
If you have concerns or if there is a dispute on whether the return to work plan your employer has provided is appropriate, the WCB is here to help.
Call your adjudicator or case manager or call the general line at 204-954-4321 or 1-855-954-4321.
More Info About Return to Work and the WCB