Return to work

Preventing workplace injuries and illness is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace. When injuries and illness do occur, however, it is important for you and your employer to try to minimize the impacts by focusing on returning you to safe and productive work as soon as it is medically possible for you to do so.

Why return to work (RTW)?

Most people who have a workplace injury or illness are able to return to some type of work even while they are still recovering, provided the work is medically suited to the injury or illness.

Returning to daily work and life activities can actually help an injured worker's recovery and reduce the chance of long- term disability. In fact, worldwide research shows that the longer you are off work due to injury or illness, the less likely it is that you will return to work.

Both you and your employer benefit in cooperating in your early and safe return to work. You benefit by restoring your source of income and staying active and productive, which are important to the healing/recovery process. Your employer benefits by minimizing the financial and human costs of your injury or illness.

Shared responsibility for RTW

You, your employer and the WSIB all have certain roles, responsibilities, and obligations that support early and safe return to work.

In Ontario, returning an injured worker to work is a shared responsibility primarily between the worker and the employer. 

  • The WSIB is responsible for managing the claim and monitoring, providing education and assistance to the worker and employer, and to the workplace
  • Health care providers are responsible for providing timely health or medical and functional abilities information in order to make timely decisions both on benefits and on return to work 

Where there are shared responsibilities, communication and cooperation toward a common goal is essential.

Together, all parties working toward a shared goal of early and safe return to work and full productivity has the potential to reduce the human and economic impact of workplace injuries and illness

This section will explain what the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act requires from you and your employer, and what you can expect from the WSIB.

What are my responsibilities?

What are my employer's responsibilities?

What are the WSIB's responsibilities?

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Who will help me?

Disability Resources

Learn about Return to Work plans and see samples.

Functional Abilities Form

The Functional Abilities Form (FAF) for Planning Early and Safe Return to Work (FAF) (370k, pdf) is a tool that provides you and your employer with information about your physical condition. Your health professional can complete the form at the request of you or your employer. 

The form allows your health professional to identify your ability to walk, stand, sit, lift, and perform other work-related tasks. You and your employer can then use this information to plan your return to work by identifying jobs that you are capable of performing, within the limits set out in the FAF.

For more on the FAF, please review the FAF Fact Sheet (158k, pdf) and the Guide to Completing the FAF (239k, pdf).