Working from Home: Workplace Accidents Can Still Happen

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In Quebec, injuries suffered while working are generally considered workplace accidents. Like many people, you may be working from home due to COVID-19. What happens if you’re injured while working from home?

Are you an employee working from home?

In order to be “working from home”, you must meet three requirements:

  • You are an employee (this does not include self-employed workers).
  • You are using technology to do your work.
  • You are not working at your normal workplace.

You can be working either part-time or full-time.

Can you be compensated (paid money) for a workplace accident while working from home?

People working from home are protected by workplace health and safety laws. To get compensated for a workplace injury, you must meet three requirements :

  • You must be an employee (this does not include self-employed workers).
  • You must have an accident (an event that is sudden and unexpected).
  • The accident must happen while you’re working.

The courts have said that “workplace accident” can mean many different things. For example, a worker was injured while taking documents from a car while working from home. This was considered a workplace accident.

You can also be compensated if you develop an “occupational disease”. For example, in 2019 the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT or administrative labour tribunal) decided that epicondylitis of the elbow (tennis elbow) was an occupational disease. The worker in that case developed tennis elbow from working on a computer. She made repetitive movements using a keyboard and mouse over a long period of time.

Your obligations while working from home

You and your employer must both take steps to protect your health and safety. You should make sure that your work environment is safe. If it’s not, you should speak to your employer.