Return to Work: Being prepared can save your business

If your business has ever experienced a workers’ compensation claim, you already know how much it can impact the workplace. Besides an increase in premium costs it can affect employee morale, interrupt productivity and cause stress and confusion.

A Return to Work plan, sometimes called a Stay at Work plan, is a tool to help ill or injured employees return to employment in a timely and safe manner. Returning to work is  an essential part of  an employee’s recovery process and can also help limit the impact the claim has on your business.

The CFIB Return to Work (RTW) Package was created exclusively for our members. We created this plan  following concerns from members like you with regards to  the sky rocketing compensation premium costs in some jurisdictions.

A RTW program will:

  • reduce absenteeism,
  • improve employee morale and productivity, and
  • reduce overall costs for your business.

Below you will find the steps needed to implement and execute our RTW Package:

1. Implement the Return To Work policy

The RTW Policy is a document you can use to communicate to your employees that they are participating in a Return to Work Program whenever an injury or illness occurs in the work environment. The policy explains the responsibilities of both you and the employee when an injury happens including injury reporting, committing to medical attention and required participation. 

2. In the event of an injury, give your employee the Employee Care Package.

This package contains:

  • Letter to the Employee which communicates your concern to the injured employee, that the information is required to be returned within a few days and a reminder that information will be kept confidential.  It also reminds the employee that modified duties and light work is available during recovery. 
  • Letter to Physician or Health Care Provider/Physiotherapist which communicates your RTW program to the employee’s Physician or other Health Care Specialist, and indicates that they will be asked to share information as it pertains to your employee being able to do modified or light duties. 
  • Physical Demands Analysis Form which you fill out to explain your employee’s work duties to the attending Health Care workers.

TIP: We recommend you have the Physical Demands Analysis filled out for each of the positions at your place of employment. This way it will be ready in case of an emergency.

  • Physician Assessment of Employee’s Return to Work is a form that requests relevant and appropriate information from the attending health care providers as it pertains to your employee’s ability to return to work. It details their functionality and limitations during the recovery process.

3.  Use the information provided to create a modified work plan for your injured employee that is customized to their specific abilities and limitations.

The Guidelines for Modified Work will help you determine what the limitations are, and which work activities should be avoided for certain types of injuries. 

With that information in hand you can develop a modified work offer to give to your employee to outline what duties they will be doing during their recovery process.

Reporting a Workplace Injury:

IMPORTANT: Even though you have put a RTW process in place, workplace injuries still need to be reported to your provincial workers compensation board. Most boards require employer accident reports within 3 days of the accident occurring, with the exception of Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan which allow five days and British Columbia requiring incidents reported and filed within 48 hours. Quebec requires their form to be submitted within 48 hours of the employee’s return to work or at the end of the first fourteen days of absence.

It is essential to never stop managing the claim and a Return to Work plan is a good way to facilitate this. Although employees and workers compensation play their part in the RTW process, employers are the main drivers of the Return to Work program. 

If you have questions about CFIB’s member exclusive Return To Work package, please call your Business Counsellor at 1 888 234-2232 or email us at