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Temporary Changes To Worker’s Indemnity (WI) Coverage

In light of the recent temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program announced yesterday, by the Federal Government, we will also be making some temporary changes to match similar program parameters for the employer sponsored Workers Indemnity (WI) program for clients who have this previously set up with us.

Normally, a worker who qualifies for the benefit had a one-week waiting period before payments began, so if an employee is quarantined due to COVID-19 for two weeks they’d only get sickness benefits for one of those weeks. The federal government is eliminating the EI waiting period entirely, so eligible persons can get EI benefits for an entire 14-day quarantine.

We strongly recommend on a temporary basis, that employers remove the one week waiting period for the WI program if it currently exists.

Do Employees still need a Treating Physician’s/ Doctor’ s note?

Normally a medical certificate signed by the employees treating physician doctor is required to get WI sick-leave benefits but representatives of the Federal Government have indicated that the doctor’s note requirement for EI, for patients required to go into quarantine by law or by a public-health official, has ben waived. Similarly, people who are asked to self-isolate by their employers when public-health officials recommend it can also qualify. The exact documentation required is still evolving, said Health Minister Patty Hajdu, but she said the goal is to minimize the effort required of a person who needs to go into quarantine.

We strongly recommend on a temporary basis, a matching policy of employers minimizing the effort required of an employee who needs to be quarantined. We will continue to perform all related due diligence and review each case on its own merits.

What happens if an Employee gets Sick & Quarantine is Extended?

For EI, if an employee is put into quarantine as a precaution and aren’t sick, but later do test positive for COVID-19, a signed medical certificate confirming the diagnosis will be required for the person to receive sick-leave EI benefits beyond the initial period of the quarantine.

We strongly recommend on a temporary basis, a matching WI policy of requiring a signed medical certificate confirming the diagnosis for continued receipt of WI benefits beyond the initial period of the quarantine. Again, we will continue to perform all related due diligence and review each case on its own merits.

Lastly…

This is an evolving situation, so we may have to make additional changes as time passes. We will keep you informed of any changes of significant note. If any public services get impacted, we may face a delay in certain processing times, however we will try our best to find a workaround as quickly as possible.

We are committed to continue maintaining the highest level of client service but ask for your patience and partnership as we navigate this evolving situation. Please take the time to review other articles in our blog for additional information  and guidance on handling this scenario.

More Information on Temporary Changes to the EI program can be found here: 

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-sick-leave-ei-benefits-coronavirus