Employment Insurance (EI) has undergone a significant change. The Government of Canada has extended sickness coverage from 17 weeks to 26 weeks. This new timeframe will officially go into effect on December 18th, 2022.

The additional nine weeks was the government’s response to a widespread survey of employers and employees. The goal of the update was to improve the flexibility and inclusivity of the EI program.

Now you may be wondering: how does this change affect your organization? And will this update benefit both employers and employees? Keep reading to learn more about why this change was made and how it benefits your business.

How is Employment Insurance (EI) Changing?

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) conducted a widespread survey of businesses and employees to gauge the effectiveness of the EI program. After analyzing responses, the agency determined that extending the EI timeframe is in the best interest of both parties and the Canadian economy.

The monetary details remain the same — qualified claimants will still receive 55% of earnings up to a maximum of C$638 per week. So, what changed? The biggest confirmed change is the additional nine weeks employees are entitled to before moving to an employer’s long-term disability (LTD) program.

According to Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment for Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, “The last two years have shown us just how important EI is, but also how much better Canada’s system could be. That’s why we’re working closely with employers, workers, unions, and other partners across the country to make EI fairer, simpler, and more flexible.”

Qualtrough believes this change will benefit Canada’s workforce and the economy overall. She says, “Modernizing a system that serves millions of Canadians each year will have serious implications on our economy and its workforce, and we’re taking the time needed to get it right.”

What Does This Change Mean for Your Business?

The extension of EI sickness coverage allows businesses to follow suit by extending the elimination period of long-term disability programs. 

The elimination period is a stated time frame during which the employee must be injured, disabled, or ill before receiving LTD benefits. The most common timeframe is 90 days, but it can range between 60 days to 365 days. 

Extending elimination periods allows organizations to reduce the overall costs of LTD programs. A more extended elimination period gives injured or disabled employees more time to recover before receiving LTD benefits from the organization.

Ultimately, all of this translates to cost savings for employers. The Government of Canada will now provide more extended benefits, giving injured or sick employees assistance without tapping into the company’s LTD program.

Partner with Windley Ely to Optimize Your LTD Program

Organizations have the potential to update their long-term disability programs in response to the new Employment Insurance timeframe. 

Yet, it can be challenging to understand exactly how to update your program to maximize savings while still providing quality coverage to those who need it.

Windley Ely is an industry-leader in workplace disability management. We help clients in all industries monitor employee absences during the EI sickness phase to identify early and safe return to work opportunities, so they can further reduce the number of claims going to LTD. 

Are you looking for expert guidance in how your business should respond to changes to the EI program? Book a discovery call with our experts today to discover how we can help.

Running a business presents its fair share of challenges, one of which is complying with Health and Safety legislation.

A successful and effective day-to-day Health and Safety program must go beyond the oversimplification of just “being careful.” After all, without critical context into the what, where, and how of a situation — how can you be careful?

So, what’s the logical starting point? We believe it starts with understanding the concept of reasonable care or due diligence.

Due diligence means employers take all reasonable precautions under the circumstances to protect the health and safety of their workers. This obligation of care appears in the Occupational Health and Safety Acts of each province. Here are a few quick examples:

  • Ontario: The Occupational Health and Safety Act 25 (2)(h)
  • British Columbia: The Workers Compensation Act Part 2 Division 4 Section 21 General duties of employers
  • Nova Scotia: The Occupational Health and Safety Act under DUTIES AND PRECAUTIONS Employers’ precautions and duties 13 (1).

What do they share in common? Each states in their own terms that employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of workers.

6 Steps to Create a Robust Health & Safety Program

The goal of any Health & Safety Program is to keep your people safe while boosting compliance with current regulations.

So, how can you demonstrate due diligence? Your ability as an employer to show that you have acted with due diligence depends on 6 basic elements:

  1. Respect current regulatory laws: You need to respect the Health and Safety Acts, Regulations or Codes of your province or the Federal Acts and Regulations if you are under Federal jurisdiction. This is the baseline starting point for any Health & Safety program.
  2. Identify H&S weak points in your workplace: Next, you need to formally identify any hazards your workers may be exposed to while working at your worksite.
  3. Eliminate or control hazards at the source: With a deep understanding of your hazard landscape, the next step is to eliminate hazards at the source. In situations where this isn’t possible or practical, you will need to implement controls following the hierarchy of effectiveness (from the most to the least effective).
  4. Communicate hazards to your teams: With the right controls in place, it’s time to communicate any hazards to your workers and train them on the appropriate controls.
  5. Supervise your teams using the controls: Even the best controls can fail if your teams don’t understand how to use them properly. Supervise the implementation and usage of controls to ensure they are complying with all appropriate controls.
  6. Measure and review your controls: Lastly, you need to establish a benchmark for success. This means assessing the effectiveness of your controls through a formal review process, allowing you to ensure controls are receiving ongoing maintenance and improvements whenever needed.

And most importantly, the key to making all of these steps successful is to formally document everything in writing.

Building the Foundation for Your Health & Safety Program

You now understand all of the elements required to lay a strong foundation for your Health and Safety program. We’ve used this same model to support companies in all industries through Canada as they work to build effective Health & Safety programs.

Are you looking to take a proactive approach to Health & Safety within your organization?

WE can help! Windley Ely has the expertise to help you build a Health & Safety program that will allow you to exercise your due diligence, making your business a safer place to work.

Click here to learn more about how we can help you create a Health & Safety program built using best practices and our decades of expertise.