When you hear the word surveillance, what does it make you think about? For most people, they think about the last movie they watched. In these movies, one of the characters is either watching someone, or someone else is watching them. In this scenario, there are also typically several car chase scenes, fistfights, and at least one dramatic explosion.
As you can imagine, this isn’t exactly how surveillance plays out in real life.
Surveillance in the Real World
Surveillance isn’t as exciting as one would think. Private investigators get calls all the time for this type of service, and they can certainly vouch for this truth.
One of the most common reasons why a private investigator might receive a surveillance case is due to infidelity. However, while surveillance on cheating spouses is a common reason for surveillance, it’s not the only reason. More and more companies across Ontario, Canada, and even the United States are turning to private investigators for help in monitoring employees and their behavior.
Employee insurance fraud, theft, and substance abuse are only some of the major reasons why a company hires a private investigator. Companies can lose a lot of money, resources and time having to deal with figuring out these types of problems on their own. This is where a private investigator comes in. Hiring a private investigator allows the company to focus on their business and let a professional handle their misbehaving employees.
Now, we’re not saying that a company will hire a private investigator to spy on an employee “just because” or even on a whim. That’s just not worth anyone’s time or money. But we are saying, that if a company highly suspects one of their employees might be involved in theft, fraud or other illegal activity, they will often turn to a private investigator or private investigation agency for help in gathering evidence.
In Ontario, one of the companies that often need private investigation services is the Workplace Safety and Information Board (W.S.I.B). This organization is responsible for working with individuals injured on the job. The W.S.I.B helps these injured employees find aid like physiotherapy for their injuries and help them get back to work sooner rather than later.
When an individual is injured on the job, their company is often liable and will pay that employees salary (or a percentage of the salary) while the employee recuperates. The W.S.I.B is a bit like insurance companies in that they also provide the injured individual with financial compensation. The W.S.I.B is also responsible for making sure that the injured individual or employee follows all legal processes and recovers quickly, in order to return to work as quickly as possible.
Why Would the W.S.I.B Need Surveillance?
Unfortunately, in a small number of cases, the W.S.I.B is asked to investigate an individual’s claim. These investigations are requested for a number of reasons. The most common reason to request surveillance on an individual, however, is due to the fact that the company the individual works for believes that their employee is not actually injured or sick.
It is illegal for an individual to lie to the W.S.I.B about the severity of their illness or injury simply to receive time off with pay. Should the W.S.I.B prove that the individual is fit to work, that individual will need to pay back the money; they received as well as face termination from the company they worked for.
W.S.I.B. Surveillance – Stats and Numbers
If you have or currently receive support from the W.S.I.B., this doesn’t mean that you are under surveillance or were ever under surveillance. So don’t panic! According to the W.S.I.B, they receive over 200,000 claims annually. They also pay out approximately $2.7 billion to those in need of support during illness or injury. However, around 0.075% of the cases they do require surveillance.
The W.S.I.B states that, “There is no one factor that would result in a decision to undertake surveillance. Surveillance is used as a last resort only after considering all relevant information about a case, and appropriate approvals have been obtained to proceed. If surveillance is considered necessary, we ensure that privacy is respected and protected.”
So, what this really means is, the W.S.I.B is only interested in the small, select group of people who try to game the system.
Surveillance and Private Investigators
Private investigation companies with licensed private investigators often take on these types of cases because they have the right tools and experience to uncover the facts. The facts are ultimately very important because it allows the private investigator to determine whether or not the individual is participating in fraudulent activities.
A private investigator will use several techniques to put together a surveillance case for the W.I.S.B. These techniques are similar if not the same ones used in any private investigation surveillance case.
Research: Before a private investigator goes out into the field, they will conduct research on the individual in question. This research might be quite simple. However it’s an important part of solving the case. The private investigator needs to know everything they can about the individual. When they begin their surveillance, they can then determine what or what isn’t out of the ordinary.
Surveillance: A private investigator will watch the individual’s home to determine what they do during the day. The private investigator will often conduct their surveillance from their parked car or van.
Tailing: Should the individual leave their home, the private investigator will tail, or follow them wherever they go. While it’s true that the individual could simply be picking up their child from school, but often, where they go and what they do reveals important information about their illness or injury.
What Does a Private Investigator Look For?
There are many different things that a private investigator looks for when determining whether or not an individual is truly injured or ill. One of the major red flag a private investigator looks for is behavior.
For example, if the individual claims that they can’t do their job due to a back injury, they’re heading out to the cottage every weekend to chop wood and build a deck, chances are they’re feeling just fine.
The private investigator or private investigation firm creates a report with the information they uncover. In the case of the W.I.S.B. in Ontario, they receive a copy of this report and are left to take appropriate action. The company the individual works for is also given an update on the situation.
At the end of the day, is the W.I.S.B.’s job to ensure that the money they give out goes to the individuals who need it the most. If there are people out there trying to scam the system, well, that’s what a private investigator is for! Hiring a private investigator to determine the truth about an individual’s actions is all part of their job. Working together, the W.I.S.B and the private investigator can make sure that at the end of the day, the right people get the support they need.