Surviving When Injured at Work

Learn how to apply for and get much needed help through
     the various social programs available to you,
     while you await the decisions of
   the WSIB, the WSIAT or the OHRT!

When workers suffer workplace injurries they become solely depended on benefits from the WSIB  and possibly  accommodations from their employer.

Over the past twenty years, the WSIB  and employers have used a method of starve-out, to save money. This is where injured workers are  forced into submission, or worst yet,  just give-up. While some WSIB decisions and appeal decisions  of the WSIB, the WSIAT, and/or the OHRT can take years or even decades, here we show you  how to survive, while awaiting those decisions. This is done by utilizing the  vast social programs available to you. Some are commonly known as welfare (OW/ODSP), while many others are  what is generally called equalization subsidies. These are programs that assist  low income individuals and families to better manage in society. If a program is missing from the list, that you are aware of, please send us the information using our contact  page. We will add it to the list, to help others! 

The programs have been placed into categories based on  injured worker needs:

  1. Free  Representation Services
  2. Foodbanks 
  3. Income  Replacement Financial Assistance Programs
  4. Student  Financial Assistance Programs
  5. Housing  Assistance Programs
  6. Other Financial  Assistance Programs

If you know  of any other assistance programs please feel free to
     let us know using our contact page.



WSIB - Workplace  Safety & Insurance Board (Ontario's Workers Compensation Board)
WSIAT -  Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal (Ontario's WCB Tribunal)
OHRT -  Ontario Human Rights Tribunal
OWA – Office  of the Workers Advisor
IAVGO –  Industrial Accidents Victims Group of Ontario
ONIWG –  Ontario Network of Injured Workers
HRDC – Human  Resources Development Canada

1. Free Representation Services for Injured Workers

It is  extremely important to remember that if you wish to appeal a decision
of the WSIB  to the WSIB Appeal level, or to the WSIAT,
there are  time limits.
In order to  meet the time limits just file a simple form
of your  intent to object to the decision to meet your time limit.

Union  Members: If you are a member of a  union, then contact your union representative, as they have an obligation to  represent you at every stage of the WSIB/WSIAT decision process. 

Non-Union  Members: Unfortunately, due to the  high number of companies over the last decade that has been abusing the  Temporary agency system, we have more nonunion workers than union workers,  which means even less workers have representation. Legal Aid Ontario does NOT fund  WSIB or WSIAT appeals. This may change in the future, so it would not  hurt to inquire directly with them. However, there are two organizations that  do represent injured workers for free. Again, due to the massive volume of  nonunion injured workers there is a considerable waitlist, but do not let this  discourage you from inquiring. 

Office  of the Workers Advisor – OWA:
      The office of the worker advisor is  funded by the ‘employer fund’ and is a separate entity that works completely  independent of the WSIB and the WSIAT. As previously mentioned they can have a  waitlist in excess of two years or longer, but please do not let this deter  you, as things may change at any time. Contact the OWA directly for more  information.

For residents of Wellington and  Dufferin Counties:

For  matters involving workplace accidents,
injuries & diseases that may  require
representation  you can call: 1-800-435-8980.

For  matters involving Health & Safety
workplace reprisals that may  require representation,
you  can call: 1-855-659-7744 

Their e-mail is

Toronto Main Office
      123 Edward Street, Suite 1300
      Toronto, ON
      M5G 1E2
      Tel.: (416) 325-8570
      Fax: (416) 325-4830
      Canada-wide Toll Free: 1-800-660-6769

Waterloo office (likely for  residents of Wellington County)
      155 Frobisher Drive
      Unit G (213)
      Waterloo, ON N2V 2E1
      Tel.: (519) 888-9063
      Fax: (519) 883-5659
      Toll Free: 1-800-265-2466

Mississauga Office (likely for  residents of Dufferin County)
      10 Kingsbridge Garden Circle
      Suite 512
      Mississauga, ON L5R 3K6
      Tel.: (905) 568-2359
      Fax: (905) 568-1086
      Toll Free: 1-800-387-8806 (705 &  519)
      Toll Free: 1-800-267-3949 (905)

Industrial Accidents Victims Group of  Ontario – IAVGO:
      They are an independent nonprofit  organization, which is partially funded by Legal Aid, as well as by private  donations. They accept clients on a limited basis, but again it never hurts to  ask them and see if they are able or can represent you.
They do not take enquiries by e-mail –  you must call them directly.
      Phone: 416-924-6477
      Fax: 416-924-2472
      Toll-free in Ontario: 1-877-230-6311
      Toll-free in Canada for Migrant Workers:  1-866-521-8535
      Mail: 55 University Ave., 15th Floor
      Toronto, ON M5J 2H7

Ontario Network of Injured Workers –  ONIWG:
      In extremely rare cases ONIWG will  intervene in cases at the appeal court level. This is where they wish to speak  on a matter, but not a party or representative, but merely on behalf of all  injured workers of Ontario. Due to their extremely limited resources, they are  an advocacy group, more than anything else, just as this group is.


2. Foodbanks


Foodbanks  are places where individuals in low income situations can receive much need  food supplies. If a foodbank is not close to you, or it has not been listed here please let us know using the contact page.  

You  are not alone, as 32% of persons who use foodbanks have a disability.

Ontario Association of Foodbanks
      555 Richmond Street West, Suite 501
      Toronto, ON, M5V 3B1
      Tel: 416-656-4100    
      Fax: 416-656-4104

Foodbanks for Residents of Wellington County:

Guelph Foodbank
      100 Crimea St, Guelph, ON N1H 2Y6
      Tel: (519) 767-1380
      Mon-Fri – 9am to noon 

Salvation Army Community and Family  Services
      210 Victoria Rd S,
      Guelph, ON N1H 6N3
      Tel: (519) 836-9824

East Wellington Community Services
East  Wellington Community Services – Erin
      45 Main Street
      P.O Box 786
      Erin, Ontario N0B 1T0
      Phone: 519.833.9696
      Fax: 519.833.7563
East  Wellington Community Services – Rockwood
      107 Harris Street
      Rockwood, Ontario N0B 2K0
      Phone: 519.856.2113
      Fax: 519.856.1498

Centre Wellington Food Bank
      105 Queen Street West, Unit 11
      Fergus, ON N1M 1S6
(In  the Fergus Marketplace)
      Tel: (519) 787-1401

Foodbanks for Residents of Dufferin County:

Orangeville Food Bank
      25 Centennial Road Unit 5 & 6
      Orangeville, Ontario L9W 1R1  519-942-0638
      Tue. 10 AM - 12:30 PM, Wed. 6 - 8 PM,  Thurs. 12 - 4 PM

Shepherds Cupboard
      167 Centre St.
      Shelburne Ontario L0N 1S2
      Tel: (519)925- 2600, ext. 350

Grand Valley Foodbank
      87 Cooper St,
      Grand Valley, Ontario L0N 1G0
      Tel: (519) 928-2258

3. Financial Assistance Programs:

Probably  one of the second worst things an injured worker has to face is the reality of  the financial devastation that is ahead of them. The purpose of the WSIB is  supposed to prevent exactly that, however over the past decades they have  seemingly taken a cost cutting employer incentive program, which means  thousands of injured workers are left out in the cold. While the battle with  organizations like ours and many others proceed in the legislature, as well as  in the courts, you still have to survive, which is why you may need to look at  applying for financial assistance through what is commonly known as welfare.  The Ontario Works and ODSP programs are administer locally through the counties. 

Remember you are no less of a person for asking for  and getting 

much needed help!

To Apply for OW and ODSP:

To apply directly in Ontario, use the link below,  however local specific information has been provided for each county:

For  residents of Wellington county:
Ontario Works  Income Services
      129  Wyndham Street North
      Guelph ON  N1H 4E9
      T  519.837.2670
      T 1.800.265.7294
      F  519.824.9990

For  residents of Dufferin County:
Dufferin  County Community Services
      30 Centre  Street, Orangeville ON L9W 2X1
      T:  519.941.6991
      F:  519.941.0271


4. Retraining Through OSAP


Ontario Student Assistance Program – OSAP:

OSAP is a  government loan and subsidy program for ALL Ontarians who wish to go, or return  back to post-secondary education (College and/or University) school. In the  case of injured workers who are permanently unable to return to their  pre-injury work, this may be an ideal option.

College University Bursary & Grants:

Grants,  Bursaries, & Subsidies: Are monies given to you - YOU DO NOT pay them  back.
Student Loans: Are monies lent to you, at low interest, and  to be paid back, only when you have completed your education.
Canada has a student loan repayment program for  individuals that if they are unable to find employment or high-income  employment the program will make all or a portion of your student loan  payments. 

A cautionary note:

Most grants and government subsidies only apply to public colleges and  Universities and not private colleges. Conestoga College, Humber College, and University of  Guelph are public education centres.

      To learn  more about OSAP and apply click the link below.

When applying  for OSAP, don’t forget to report you have disabitlies, in order to receive  additional funding. 

Obtaining a High  School Diploma or Credits
      Also, if  you do not have your grade 12 diploma, consider applying as a “mature student”  to the College or University. However, if you need additional high school  credits, this can be achieved through going back to high school. Alternatively,  by signing up for an accredited correspondence program such as the Independent  Learning Centre at

Remember you are NEVER too old to go back to  school!

5. Housing Assistance Programs:

Housing  subsidy programs vary from providing you a shelter, to paying a portion or all  of your rent. This of course depends on your need and most of all available  funding of the programs.

If you are  in threat of being evicted by your landlord due to arrears, then there are social programs to assist you to pay  your arrears on your behalf. This is commonly referred to as the “Rent Bank”  program.   

Emergency Housing Need:
      If you  are in threat of losing your home due to eviction, or you are homeless. Then  there are programs available to assist you with paying your arrears, providing  you with shelter, or providing you with first and last month’s rent. Depending  on the criteria to be met. 

Rent Bank:
      This is a  program funded by Ontario Works and is administered by the local county  (Wellington & Dufferin counties), which attempts to prevent homelessness in  Ontario. This program may pay you arrears that is owed to your landlord, which  is to prevent you from being evicted by your landlord. It has certain  requirements to be met before you can apply. It is best to contact them directly  by telephone to learn more if you qualify. If  you plan on applying for the rent bank funding notify the landlord and the  landlord tenant board right away to hopefully prevent any further eviction  proceedings. 

For  residents of Wellington County:
      County of  Wellington Housing Services
      138  Wyndham Street North
      Guelph ON  N1H 4E8
      Tel: (519)  837–5492 ext. 3710

For  residents of Dufferin County:
      County of  Dufferin Community Services
      30 Centre  Street
      Orangeville,  Ontario
      Tel:  (519) 941–6991 ext. 211

Housing  Stability /Assistance Programs
      This is a  program to help people who have become homeless. It provides them with first  and last month’s rent. It general only applies to individuals who are or have  applied for Ontario Works and/or ODSP. However, it never hurts to ask to  determine if you qualify. 

For  residents of Wellington County:
      County of  Wellington
      74  Woolwich Street
      Guelph ON  N1H 3T9
      Tel:  (519) 837–2600 

For  residents of Dufferin County:
      County of  Dufferin Community Services
      30 Centre  Street
      Orangeville,  Ontario
      Tel:  (519) 941–6991 ext. 211

Housing Subsidy:
      Housing  subsidy programs are based on a household income setting a percentage of rent.  These programs are usually offered in Co-operative housing, as well as  Government owned housing units. There are additional programs to assist  individuals with paying their rent depending on the criteria.  

For  residents of Wellington county:
      Housing  Services
      138  Wyndham Street North, Guelph, ON N1H 4E8
      Tel:  (519) 824–7822 or (800) 663–0750
      Fax: (519)  837–6349

For  residents of Dufferin County:
      County of  Dufferin Community Services
      30 Centre  Street
      Orangeville,  Ontario
      Tel:  (519) 941–6991 ext. 211


6. Other Assistance Programs:


Government of Canada Income Assistance Programs:

Revenue  Canada Income Assistance Programs:
You  should notify Revenue Canada if your income has become dramatically reduced.  Generally nothing will change until your next tax reporting year. Do not forget  to apply for all the Tax Benefit programs such as: HST rebate, WITB working  income tax benefit, CTB – Child Tax Benefit, as well as many others that apply  to you. 

Canada  Pension Plan – Disability benefit: 

       If you are  permanent disabled, consider applying for the Canada Pension Plan Disability  Benefit through HRDC’s website and application process. This can be done online  or in person at any Service Canada locations. Please remember you don’t know  that you qualify or not until they have said No, and even then, you have in  many cases a right to appeal.