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Canada’s Workers' Compensation Boards should return over $5 billion in excess funds 

CFIB calling on governments to follow Ontario’s lead and legislate surplus rebates  

Toronto, May 10, 2022 - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on workers’ compensation boards (WCBs) across Canada to rebate surplus funds back to small business owners. 

According to CFIB’s latest research snapshot, Workers’ Compensation and Surplus Distributions: A Small Business Perspective, seven provincial and territorial boards are in an over-funded position, meaning boards have exceeded their desired funding target.   

British Columbia’s workers’ compensation board was among the most over-funded: its assets were 153% higher than its liabilities, while its targeted funding ratio is set at 130%. In British Columbia, rebating excess funds could mean nearly $2.9 billion back to employers who can effectively use the funds to help in their COVID-19 recovery efforts, and to reinvest in their business. Rebating the excess funds across the country would represent approximately $5.6 billion. For a business with five employees, the rebate would range from $644 in the Yukon to $6,189 in British Columbia.  

“Obviously, workers compensation systems need to be adequately resourced to continue the important work of supporting workers and making workplaces safer. But when you have funds reaching levels that are millions – in some cases billions – of dollars above even their upper targets, it’s time to return that money to hard-working small business owners,” said Ryan Mallough, CFIB senior director of provincial affairs.

Some provinces have recently provided surplus distributions. This year, Ontario rebated $1.5 billion, while Manitoba rebated $95 million. In 2021, Prince Edward Island provided a $25 million rebate.  CFIB is urging other provinces to follow suit and deliver meaningful financial relief to small business owners.  

“The last two years have been devastating for small businesses across the country. Only 40% are back to normal revenues, and two in three are still carrying COVID-related debt,” said Marvin Cruz, CFIB director, research. “Getting excess WCB money back to small business owners will not only provide some much-needed support, but also add some fairness back into the workers compensation system.”

While seven boards across Canada have rebate policies, last year Ontario became the first province to legislate mandatory rebates when overfunding reaches a certain level. CFIB is also calling on all provinces to follow Ontario’s example to ensure certainty and consistency for small business owners.  

CFIB is calling on all governments to:  

  • Lower employer premiums or rebate surplus funds to employers, if funding ratio exceeds its target funding, with a stronger preference to rebate eligible employers  
  • Implement mandatory distribution policies where there are none  
  • Legislate surplus distribution policies, as in Ontario

Read the full snapshot here.  

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB 

647-464-2814 

[email protected]  

About CFIB 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca. 

May 10, 2022

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