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Hundreds of millions of employer funds withheld by WCB

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CFIB urges the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to immediately refund $321m

 

 

CALGARY, June 8, 2017 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is raising serious concern that refunds to employers due to an excessively overfunded Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) may be in jeopardy.  At today’s WCB Annual General Meeting, CFIB demanded to know why $321 million (according to financial information outlined in the 2016 Annual Report) in surplus distribution is being withheld pending the Alberta Government’s WCB review.

“WCB’s rebate to businesses is at risk due to the government’s review and small business owners want to know why.  This review should impact policies going forward, not retroactively take funds away from our province’s innovators and job creators. Those resources would be put to good use today as businesses would invest in safer and more productive equipment, training opportunities and keeping Albertans employed,” said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Alberta Director. 

The workers’ compensation system is entirely funded by employers.  WCB has a funded position target of between 114 per cent and 128 per cent of assets to liabilities, often referred to as the ‘green zone’.  According to board policy, refunds are triggered if the funded position goes over the 128 per cent threshold.  The Board’s financial position that was announced in their 2016 Annual Report, released earlier this week put the reserve at 133.8%.

“For whatever reason, the board has abandoned their own policy to issue rebates when they’re in an excessively overfunded position.  This is not insignificant, and the board should not be overly cautious with funds when employers need it most.  Returning hundreds of millions of dollars would help maintain and create jobs within Alberta’s recovering economy,” said Ruddy.

CFIB has long advocated for rebates to be triggered at a more reasonable level, for example, when the fund exceeds a threshold closer to 110%. CFIB is hopeful this will be addressed as part of the government’s review.

To arrange a media interview with Amber Ruddy, please call 1-866-444-9290 or email [email protected]

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