Employers welcome $467 million WCB rebate

CFIB urges refunds to be issued at a more reasonable threshold

CALGARY, June 2, 2016 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the almost half billion dollar surplus distribution from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to employers across Alberta.  The Board’s financial position was announced in their 2015 Annual Report, released today.  Surplus funding will be distributed to registered businesses starting mid-June.

The workers’ compensation system is entirely funded by employers.  WCB has a targeted funded position of between 114 per cent and 128 per cent, often referred to as the ‘green zone’.  A refund is triggered if the funded position goes over the 128 per cent threshold.  CFIB has long advocated to move to a more appropriate range of 95% to 110%.  In 2015, the funding position climbed to 134 per cent, leading to $467 million being refunded to employers while still barely entering the top end of the green zone.  WCB attributes large surpluses to higher than expected investment returns and positive operating results.

“Even with almost a billion and a half dollars being refunded in the last three years, Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board is still out of bounds and needs to get back into the targeted green zone.  WCB’s funding position continues to be overly cautious at a time when employers could be immediately putting their own money to work, including investing in safer and more productive equipment”, says CFIB’s Alberta Director, Amber Ruddy.   

In a CFIB survey from 2014, entrepreneurs clearly want WCB to take a more reasonable approach.  When Alberta business owners were asked Should the point at which WCB-Alberta provides refunds to employers be lowered? 

  •  59 per cent agreed
  •  25 per cent disagreed
  •  13 per cent were undecided
  •   3 per cent had no interest 

“Employers absolutely support the need to ensure WCB remains fully funded to meet current and future claims.  For years, however, the WCB has far exceeding the top range of where they should be financially.  This is not a trivial amount.  Returning hundreds of millions of dollars would help maintain and create jobs within Alberta’s recovering economy.  The board must examine this policy and trigger refunds at a more reasonable level to ensure they are operating within the appropriate zone,” says Ruddy.    

The web-based, controlled-access CFIB member survey from 2014 had 649 responses.

To arrange a media interview with Amber Ruddy, please call 1-866-444-9290 or email msalb@cfib.ca

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.