The IWA–Forest Industry Long Term Disability Plan & Rehabilitation Services was established in 1982 by an agreement between the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) and forest industry employers. The plan provides monthly income benefits, ancillary benefits (MSP, extended health and dental coverage) and rehabilitation services to members who are unable to work due to a long-term illness or injury. Every attempt is made to rehabilitate members and ensure a safe and successful return to work.
Eligible members receive benefits after being disabled for six months and continue to receive benefits until they are no longer disabled, return to work or reach retirement age.
The LTD plan is jointly funded by members and participating employers. Currently, over 400 employers participate in the plan and submit contributions on behalf of 12,000 members. The plan is self-funded, which means that payments are made directly from the LTD Trust Fund and are not covered by an insurance company.
Rehabilitation counsellors located throughout the province provide rehabilitation counselling and case management services to disabled members. The primary goal is support during recovery from illness or injury. Rehabilitation counsellors also proactively promote an early and safe return to work in the forest industry (or if the disabled member is unable to continue working in the forest industry, to find employment outside the industry).
The LTD plan’s rehabilitation counsellors can also assist disabled members who are unable to return to work on a regular basis to apply for CPP disability benefits. Further assistance is available to members who wish to appeal for CPP disability benefits.
Evergreen Rehabilitation Management Society (Evergreen) is a society that provides early rehabilitation services to members during the weekly indemnity (short-term disability) period through contracts with the industry health and welfare plans and other participating employers. Rehabilitation counsellors representing Evergreen assist members in their recovery and re-entry into the workforce. Evergreen’s goal is to help members get back to work as quickly and safely as possible after an injury or illness. As the rehabilitation counsellors are the same for Evergreen and the LTD plan, there is a continuous provision of rehabilitation assistance for those members who transition to LTD from weekly indemnity.
Forest Industry Disability Adjudication Services (FIDAS) is an independent medical adjudication administrator that works directly with members to review, monitor, and approve or deny all LTD claims. Their mission is to provide fair, timely and cost-effective adjudication of members’ claims for LTD benefits. A sub-committee of the board of trustees oversees FIDAS.
The LTD plan established the LTD Plan Trust. It is a fund made up of money that has been contributed to by both employers and employees for LTD benefits. It is governed by a board of trustees and administered by the Plan Office.
The LTD plan is administered by the Plan Office and is governed by a board of trustees. Working for decades to ensure that members’ LTD benefits are there when they need them, the Plan Office collects contributions, invests the assets of the LTD Trust Fund, processes benefit payments and administers rehabilitation services, and answers questions and guides members. The board of trustees oversees the administration of the LTD plan, determines benefit levels and sets plan design. Its objective is to optimize the plan’s performance while ensuring that the plan is able to meet its obligations to its members and beneficiaries. The board is required to act independently from the USW and participating forest industry employers, and decisions are always made in the best interest of plan members and beneficiaries.